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Unit of study_

DENT6000: Research Methods in Dentistry

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Westmead, Sydney

Research Methods in Dentistry is a postgraduate course designed to provide fundamental knowledge and skills in clinical research design and Evidence-Based Dentistry for students intending to undertake research at the Faculty of Dentistry. All course material is provided through eLearning via the University of Sydney's website. A detailed series of notes and tutorial exercises are included in the study material. Students are required to complete one tutorial exercise/assignment each week and a final assignment at the end of the course. Topics covered include introduction to Evidence-Based Dentistry, epidemiologic study design, basic biostatistics, as well as confounding, bias and measurement error. Considerable attention is paid to critical appraisal of journal articles which is an indispensable tool in the pursuit of clinical practice founded on Evidence-Based Dentistry. An introduction into conducting literature search, diagnostic test studies and systematic reviews is also provided.

Unit details and rules

Unit code DENT6000
Academic unit Discipline of Restorative and Reconstructive Dentistry
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Shanika Nanayakkara,
Lecturer(s) Lajos Bordas,
Shanika Nanayakkara,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Final assignment
Written report
20% Week 13 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Weekly assignments
Module tasks
80% Weekly n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

Assessment summary

  • Weekly assignments: These assignments will assess students’ knowledge and skills on the topics covered by each module. Assignments will consist of modified essay questions, developing literature search strategies, data analysis and interpretation, appraising scientific evidence and short reports.
  • Final assignment: Students will complete a summative final assignment after completing the weekly modules successfully. Students will design a research study to test a provided hypothesis, evaluating their knowledge on evidence based dentistry and research methodology.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction to evidence-based dentistry; 2. Formulating clinical questions and literature searching Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 02 Study types Online class (3 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 03 Basic biostatistics 1 Online class (3 hr) LO4 LO6
Week 04 Basic biostatistics 2 Online class (3 hr) LO4 LO6
Week 05 Bias and confounding Online class (3 hr) LO2 LO3
Week 06 Critical appraisal of literature Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 08 Systematic reviews and meta-analysis Online class (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 10 1. Data presentation and interpretation; 2. Ethics in research Online class (3 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: Attendance is a professional responsibility required of all students admitted to academic programs within the Sydney Dental School. All programs in the Sydney Dental School have a 90% attendance policy, for all compulsory components of Units of Study, as detailed in the Faculty of Dentistry Attendance Provisions 2015. This includes all clinical and practical sessions. The course requirements cannot be satisfied if more than 10% of any section of a course is missed for any reason.
  • Professionalism: Students in all Sydney Dental School programs are subject to the Faculty of Medicine and Health Professionalism Requirements 2019 and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Professionalism Provisions 2019. Professionalism is an essential component of developing competency to practice. It is important for students to demonstrate professional behaviour in all contexts and environments. In accordance with these local provisions: candidates who demonstrate serious or repeated unprofessional behaviour may be required to show cause as to why their enrolment should be continued. Failure to show cause may result in exclusion from the course.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate an understanding of evidence-based dentistry
  • LO2. demonstrate familiarity with clinical study designs, their strengths and weaknesses, and the levels of evidence provided
  • LO3. develop skills to search for and critically appraise published research literature
  • LO4. interpret and present research evidence to a wider audience
  • LO5. demonstrate an ability to design clinical studies on oral health-related topics
  • LO6. demonstrate an understanding of basic statistical concepts, and an understanding of the role of a statistician in designing clinical studies.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

Alignment with Competency standards

Outcomes Competency standards
Professional competencies of the newly qualified dentist - ADC
3.1. locate and evaluate evidence in a critical and scientific manner to support oral health care
4.4. understand the design, implementation and evaluation of evidence-based health promotion
6.2.4. formulate and record a comprehensive, patient-centred, evidence-based oral health treatment plan
Professional competencies of the newly qualified dentist - ADC
3.1. locate and evaluate evidence in a critical and scientific manner to support oral health care

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered

Work, health and safety

Students must comply with work health and safety, infection control and dress standard policies of all laboratories, placement sites and Local Health Districts (LHDs).


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.