Acing your RS3 research project

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woman presents at conference in front of large screen

Year Three Student Doctors have just completed a study week dedicated to progressing their Research and Scholarship (RS) research projects. RS Lead for Year 3 Dr Ying Gue and Student Experience Administrator Laura-Jayne Capener share their top tips to acing your project and perhaps even taking it one step further.

The Research and Scholarship (RS) theme runs throughout the MBChB programme and supports the development of creative and independent critical thinking. In Year 3, students take on their own independent research project, which could be an audit, systematic review, educational project or lab project, which they then present as both a poster presentation and written project.

What knowledge and skills can students develop through their RS project?

Ying: The main aim of RS3 is to provide students with the opportunity to learn and utilise critical thinking particularly in the context of assessing clinical evidence, as well as developing research skills such as performing literature search, scientific writing and referencing. Alongside this, students will also learn how to manage their time well amongst other clinical commitments.

How can the experience help support their future careers?

Ying: By having skills in critical appraisal, they are then able to evaluate available literature which can assist them in practicing evidence-based medicine and providing the best care for their patients in the future.

Good time management skills are of course also essential to being a good clinician.

What if this is my first experience writing a research report or creating a poster?

Ying: RS3 is a good platform to try them out! Your dedicated research supervisor will help guide you and provide tips on writing, making this a perfect opportunity to write your first report and create your first poster.

What resources/learning opportunities are available to help navigate the RS process?

Ying: The materials provided in Reading and Resources on the RS area of Canvas (link) are extremely helpful. I would also advise making the most of the time set out in the course specifically for RS in the form of study weeks and drop-in sessions, as well as library sessions arranged by School librarian Mrs Louise Minta, who is always available to offer guidance and advice on literature searching and end note.

Laura: Your dedicated Research Supervisor and the RS team are there to help you throughout the entire process. If you have any queries or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at

We want to see you succeed and are there to help you with your projects throughout the entire journey!

How can I best prepare to present my research?

Ying: By reading the literature and learning from what works well, and from talking and listening to the advice of your supervisors.

Laura: When presenting your work in the style of a poster... practise, practise, practise! Practise presenting either alone or with peers and be prepared for any questions you may be asked following your presentations.

What is your biggest tip to creating a brilliant RS project?

Ying: Be passionate about the project and spend enough time on it – stay ahead of the set deadlines!

Laura: Listen and take note of the advice given by your supervisors and by the RS team. Make use of the resources you have available, including the guidance available on Canvas, your supervisor’s knowledge and the RS team.

What is a common pitfall that students should be careful to avoid?

Ying: Not structuring your report based on the headings in the handbook. The headings help make the report structured (and also easier to mark).

Laura: Not asking questions if you are stuck. If you have any doubts, queries or concerns, be sure reach out to the RS team or your supervisor. No question or query is too small, so please do get in touch!

Leaving things until last minute, it’s really important to plan your time accordingly.

Leave yourself enough time to write up your project and resolve any issues ahead of the deadlines.

Not checking your similarity score! As a rough guide, an overall similarity index of 25% or more, and any individual match above 10% would be cause for concern and further review in the final work. The assignments have been set up so that you can submit your work multiple times before the deadline to check this. Have a good read through the MBChB Turnitin Similarity Index Guidance on Canvas (link).

How can I utilise my project further?

Ying: Definitely discuss this with your supervisor as there are plenty of opportunities to publish or present your research both locally and internationally. Just make sure to inform the RS team and seek School approval before submitting. Please refer to the MBChB Student Policies on Supporting students to attend academic conferences and conduct research on the student intranet (link).

Wishing all of our students the best of luck with their RS3 projects. Remember, the RS area on Canvas (link) is packed with useful resources and, don’t forget, one student will be awarded the Lord Henry Cohen Prize (link) for excellence in performance in a RS3 poster presentation, with a cash prize of £250.