Critical evaluation of the relevant literature on your chosen topic.

Summative assessment


This assignment should demonstrate achievement of the module learning outcomes (page 4) and will contribute to 100% of the module mark.


Your assignment should be 4,500 words (+10% is permitted), and should include the following:


• critical evaluation of the relevant literature on your chosen topic. Identify a potential research question or hypothesis that arises from the review: 30%


• critical evaluation of the 2 main research paradigms, demonstrating an understanding and evaluation of their appropriate use and limitations in relation to your research question or hypothesis: 25%

• critical evaluation of 2 research designs, considering research governance and ethical principles generally and for each design: 35%


Referencing and academic writing style: 10%

The work should be evidence-based and analytical in nature throughout to demonstrate a critical understanding of the current debate and discussion on research paradigms within health care.




  • Students should adhere to University of the West of Scotland regulations for assessment and reference guidelines. This is taken into account in your mark
  • Use a size 12 Arial font and 1.5 / double spacing.
  • The word limit is 4,500 words (+10% is permitted). Only text included within the word limit is considered during marking.  All words included within the text are considered part of the assignment – i.e. title page, contents page, reference lists and appendices are not included in the word count.  Ten marks will be deducted for assignments above 10% of the word limit (i.e. over 4,950 words).
  • Please use the title page provided on Moodle, which includes module code, name of module, and record the final word count and Turnitin originality score.
  • Ensure that your assignment includes page numbers. Include a contents page (which should link to the subheadings in your assignment).
  • Please proofread before submission as up to 10 marks will be deducted for inaccurate referencing technique and poor structure/presentation/grammar.





Assignment Guidance

An example of the main headings and content for your assignment is provided below.  This corresponds to the assessment rubric which is available under the Assignment tab on Moodle.


Please remember that you should make use of credible and correctly cited references throughout the assignment, including within the introduction and conclusion.  Further guidance on referencing can be found via the Library webpages.


Introduction and literature review (30% of marks)


The introduction should be concise, outlining the content of your assignment.  


Literature review


This section should provide a critical review of the key literature on your topic.  You should:


state the focus of your literature review clearly at the outset


provide a clear search strategy:

state the databases searched, keywords, Boolean operators and limiters used (eg. date, English language);   

summarise your search – state the approximate number of studies found; tell the reader if they are current, mostly UK based or international, a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods;

justify the inclusion of those you will highlight in your review, eg most current or UK based studies;

(you could provide an overview of your search as a table in an appendix).


highlight how you will structure your review in advance – what are the main themes/issues that you will discuss?

include a small number of studies (minimum 3-maximum 5).  Provide a short description of each study (where carried out, study aim, methods, sample, main findings).  This is important to provide context.

then pick out some methodological issues to demonstrate your understanding of research designs:

how ‘robust’ is the study?  What are the strengths and weaknesses?   To do this, you may wish to refer to a critical appraisal tool or checklist, such as CASP:

What are the implications of the findings?

link your studies – compare and contrast any similarities and differences noted.  This could be in relation to where the studies were carried out, methods used, date of publication, sampling or findings;

provide a summary of the findings of your review, identifying any gaps in the literature and justifying your choice of topic. 


This should lead you to your potential research question or hypothesis.


Research question or hypothesis


A potential hypothesis or research question should be clearly stated. (See Section 4 of the module materials on Moodle – writing a question, aims or hypothesis).

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