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Summer Research Projects

We are now seeking summer research project ideas for the students taking the Master of Public Health (MPH) course.  The students have excellent qualifications in subjects such as medicine or biological sciences.  If you are interested in proposing a project please send an outline to Dr Christine Franey. An example project is appended below. For the titles of projects from the 2009-10 group of students, see the blog entry on this.

Summer projects ideally require statistical analysis of quantitative data or application of evaluation methodology or a systematic literature review.  We steer students away from projects that will require approval from a research ethics committee. Projects will run from mid May to end August 2011 - this includes writing up time. The list of ideas will be circulated to students before the Christmas break.  In the New Year students will be asked to approach supervisors for further information and to express an interest.

The research project is central to the MPH. It is an independent piece of work and a significant undertaking for the student. The projects provide an education in scientific methods and give training in many research techniques.  Project supervisors are expected to help the student in developing a project of suitable size and scope and to monitor the student’s progress throughout the duration of the project. We ask supervisors to be available to provide up to 2 meetings per month to the student.  This can take the form of face-to-face meetings, phone calls and emails with review of student work.

Example Project: Improving the uptake of childhood immunisation in primary care

Background
Childhood immunisation is a key public health intervention and all children in the UK are offered vaccinations against key diseases as part of the national childhood immunisation schedule. Despite this, uptake of childhood immunisation is low in some groups, particularly amongst deprived multi-ethnic populations  in inner city areas. Understanding the reasons for this low uptake in some patient groups and developing strategies to improve uptake are therefore important for primary healthcare teams.

Aims 
1. Carry out a literature review on methods of improving uptake of childhood immunisation.
2. Extract and analyse data on childhood immunisation uptake from electronic patient records in one inner city practice to identify children who have not received their full immunisation schedule.
3. Work with the primary healthcare team to develop a strategy to improve uptake of childhood immunisation.


Skills required
Students who already have an interest and/or skills in literature reviewing, healthcare management and health policy.

Outcomes
Students will gain knowledge and experience in:
1) literature review and interpretation of studies
2) health policy and healthcare management
3) scientific writing

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