AC7081 - Dissertation Portfolio for Advanced Clinical Practitioners

What will I learn on this module?

This module will develop you in all four pillars of advanced clinical practice, with particular emphasis on the research, leadership and management, and education pillars. In the module you will critically explore a range of approaches to research, undertake a research study as your dissertation, produce a project report, and present your findings.

For the written component of this module, emphasis will be placed on your understanding of the world view, design and meaning system that will drive your own research study that will form your dissertation. You will pick between an Empirical Project, Service Improvement or Systematic Appraisal. In the module you will revisit and deepen your understandings of a range of key topics linked to the research process; this will include discussion of world views and research paradigms; the research question, aim or hypothesis; research design; working with literature and theory; developing ethical codes; constructing the research sample, collecting robust research evidence, ensuring quality assurance within your research work; analysing both qualitative and quantitative evidence; and writing and disseminating your dissertation findings. You will be invited to attend a series of research seminars during the module and you will have access to a named supervisor for one-to-one supervision. Both the seminars and supervision will encourage you to apply the key areas of learning within this module to your own professional context and field of expertise. This will enable you to critically examine how the research process will work best for your research interests.

The module is the culmination of your ACP studies and you will critically reflect on your overall development as an advanced clinical practitioner, bring together your on-programme learning, and demonstrate how you now work to all four pillars of the advanced practice framework. This will be evidenced by submitting your completed advanced practice portfolio, to include all module assessment components of the dissertation portfolio including an open book exam to map your clinical practice experiences to the four pillars framework.

If you are studying for a specialist named award, you will be expected to develop your research project and portfolio to evidence that you have achieved the nationally recognised standard of advanced practice associated with that award. Please refer to the programme specification document for more information about specialist named awards.

How will I learn on this module?

You will participate in this module as an active, self-directed learner. The module will be built around a number of activities that will help you to explore the different aspects of undertaking a robust research study, identify your dissertation choice (Empirical Project, Service Improvement or Systematic Appraisal), prepare for your presentation and to help you to identify how your ACP development can be mapped to the Multiprofessional framework for advanced clinical practice in England (2017). This will be achieved through seminars, independent learning activities, individual dissertation supervision, and by operating as a project coordinator and leader.

You will work with a named supervisor for the duration of your research study. This will involve one-to-one contact will provide you with the opportunity for individualised supervision to discuss your project and its ongoing development. This individualised support will enable you to explore areas of the work that are troublesome and the critical dialogue that it enables will help you to develop your understanding of the theoretical, methodological and practical aspects of your dissertation choice. In addition to this supervised work, you will be encouraged to attend a series of research seminars that will also follow the path of your project during the span of your programme. The research seminars normally involve a small group of individuals from a variety of programmes who are all immersed in the research process. This group of peers is invaluable to the social learning processes that drive the research component of this module. During each seminar, it is expected that individuals will share their research challenges and successes. The sharing of understandings and experiences will be an integral part of the way in which the module helps to socially construct an individual’s perceptions of their work.

The module aims to enable you to develop an effective and successful dissertation, focus on your own development as a proficient researcher in your practice area, and demonstrate your transition to an autonomous advanced clinical practitioner.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by the module lead, clinical supervisor, programme team and an allocated named supervisor on this module.

Your module lead and clinical supervisor will help you to identify your dissertation choice. Your module lead can also be contacted to offer module guidance when necessary.

You will be allocated a named academic supervisor for the duration of the module. Supervisors bring a wide range of expertise to help your learning and will use a variety of approaches to help you conceptualise, focus, plan and implement your dissertation study : this will include, but will not be restricted to, feedback on your ideas, proposals, and plans. While selected for their professional and academic expertise and experience, consideration is also given to your project subject, and where possible every effort is made to match this with the interest area of the supervisor. If you are allocated a dissertation supervisor that is not your personal tutor, they will assume the role of personal tutor for the rest of your studies.

The programme team will support you throughout the whole of your programme of study providing regular contact points to reflect on your advanced practice development. This will help you to help you to prepare for this dissertation portfolio module.

The University Library offers an extensive collection of material, both hard copy and electronic, access to international databases, and training in information retrieval, in addition to study space and IT equipment. Study skills help sheets can be found on the Library’s Skills Plus site. In addition, the University Student Support and Wellbeing Services offer information, guidance, and support.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Conceptualise a research topic and establish its relevance to your practice area/field of expertise.

2. Utilise relevant philosophical and theoretical underpinnings to implement a research project demonstrating critical awareness and evaluation of the needs of the service user, the service and the practice context.

3. Robustly critique your role development as an advanced clinical practitioner

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
4. Use contemporary evidence to construct, successfully manage and evaluate a research project of your choice (Empirical Project, Service Improvement or Systematic Appraisal)

5. Produce a written project report, identify and present future development needs for your service based on critical analysis and reflections on your research study.
6. Demonstrate the ability to collaborate and negotiate with service users (where appropriate), stakeholders and colleagues and consider multiple perspectives when planning change.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
7. Critically examine ethical issues related to healthcare delivery, relevant to your chosen research project.
8. Demonstrate your ability to be self-aware and reflexive practitioner when working in your advanced practice role.

How will I be assessed?

Formative: In this module formative assessment will normally focus on your developing research study and be decided by you and your supervisor. You will be encouraged to share parts of your written work with your supervisor prior to final submission. Additional formative feedback will come from the sharing of project work during seminar discussions.

There will be additional seminars throughout the programme to help you to prepare for submission of your final portfolio and for the open book exam.
MLOs- All.

Part a (70%) - you will produce a 10,000-word dissertation to present your chosen research study.
- Empirical Project: develop and implement a small-scale empirical study to explore a research question
- Service Improvement: using an evidence-based approach, construct and successfully manage the implementation of a Service Improvement
- Systematic Appraisal: engage in a robust research process where you will systematically appraise evidence-based published studies to answer your identified research questions(s).
The dissertation structure will vary depending on your choice, but all will include a common core; using academic inquiry to introduce your study, debate its relevance, and present your study. Guidance on the structure of your dissertation will be provided in the module handbook, on the eLearning portal and during supervision and seminars. You will submit an electronic copy of your dissertation and you will receive electronic feedback via the eLearning portal.
MLOs- 1, 2, 4, 7, 8

Part b- you will submit a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate your development as an Advanced Clinical Practitioner. The portfolio will include the following components:
• Evidence of completion of clinical competence documents (Pass/ fail)
(MLOs- All)
• Completion of a 2-hour open book exam evidencing how you meet the Clinical Practice pillar as identified in the HEE Framework for advanced practice. The exam will be based on 3 case studies that you have developed from your practice (Pass/ fail)
(MLOs 3, 8)
• You will produce a 1500-word report identifying a practice change. You will outline the change using an evidence-based background and provide a proposed approach to managing this change. Your dissertation can underpin this proposal. (10%)
(MLOs 5, 6, 7, 8)
• A 25-minute panel presentation of your proposed practice change followed by up to 10 minutes of questions for the panel to gain clarification of any aspect of your practice change or presentation. In this presentation you will be expected to articulate your role in organisational development, as an advanced practitioner. Your presentation feedback should be included in your portfolio (20%)
You will submit a hardcopy of your
portfolio and you will receive electronic
feedback for each component via the
eLearning portal.
(MLOs 5, 6, 7, 8)


Normally module participants will have undertaken a level 7 research methods module that enables them to construct a robust research proposal. The mod



Module abstract

This module is the culmination of your advanced practice studies and is designed to showcase your development as an autonomous practitioner in line with all four pillars of advanced clinical practice as identified by HEE.

The module will develop you as a researcher as you undertake a research project that is relevant and important to your practice and field of expertise, thus enabling you to continue contributing to advanced level practice throughout your career. You will produce a 10,000 word dissertation to present your research study. Moving on from your dissertation, you will then propose and present a practice change, a core capability aligned to the leadership and management pillar. This is an opportunity for you to evidence your ability to transform practice at individual and/or systems level. Submission of your final portfolio will demonstrate your transition to advanced clinical practitioner status in line with the education and clinical practice pillars; mapping your practice to the clinical practice pillar in an open book exam further supports this.
You will be supported in the module by a named supervisor and through the provision of a series of research and development seminars. This module will uphold the ethos of adult education, and you will be encouraged to operate in a collegial and collaborative manner and to share and deepen your understandings of research and advanced practice through critical dialogue with your supervisor and module peer group.

Course info

Credits 60

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 3 Years Part Time

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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