Edinburgh Research Explorer

Margaret MacDougall

Senior Lecturer

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Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

A wide range of PhD opportunities exist for students with strong statistical skills and an interest in medical education research. Initial expressions of interest should be sent to me by email (Margaret.MacDougall@ed.ac.uk).

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Bachelor of Science (Honours)

Professional Qualifications

PGCE (Mathematics)
PGCert University Teaching
Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) Certificate in Higher Education Teaching


I am the statistician at the University of Edinburgh responsible for providing advice on research design and statistical analysis and presentation of data to senior undergraduate medical students conducting curricular research projects. I also play a leading role in the design of learning, teaching and assessment in statistics for BMedSci students. Additionally, I lead research projects in medical education and statistics and supervise undergraduate and postgraduate research students.  



Within the MBChB1 curriculum:


  • Statistics lead for MBChB Year 3 BMedSci programme (2018 - )
  • Author of statistics open access WordPress site StatsforMedics (2016 - )
  • Member of the Year 4 SSC (Student-Selected Components) Exam Sub-Board (2005 - 2015)
  • Contributor to the Year 4 OSCA (Online System for Clinical Assessment): 2005 – 2015
  • Director of Studies/Personal Tutor for undergraduate medical students from Years 1 – 5 (September 2006 - August 2015)
  • Marker for undergraduate MBChB course Epidemiology and Statistics (2004-2012)
  • Occasional marker for Student Selected Component projects
  • Author of one-to-one statistics appointments system and supporting online resources for students engaged in dissertation research (2004 - )


  • External Examiner for the BMedSci programme, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton (October 2012 - August 2016)

Undergraduate research project supervision

  • Peer-Assisted Learning SSC5b project in enhancing student learning experiences through review of the WordPress site StatsforMedics. (Kyle Bennett, Oct 2016 - April 2017)
  • A questionnaire- based survey of undergraduate medical assessments in the UK (Lim Ming Han, October 2013 - January 2014)
  • Cardiovascular health measurement scales at our finger-tips: improving the efficiency of clinical decision making through a futuristic Wiki (Liu Zhaobo, summer 2012, funded by Wellcome trust)
  • What should medical educators tell undergraduate medical students about the role of alternative medicine in cancer therapy? - A critical review of published research (Mark Hannen, summer 2013, funded by University of Edinburgh CMVM2)
  • A questionnaire-based survey of undergraduate medical assessments in the UK (Lim Ming Han, October 2013 - January 2014)
  1. At the University of Edinburgh, successful completion of the undergraduate medical degree programme leads to conferment of the professional award of MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery/Chirurgery).
  2. 'CMVM denotes 'College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine'.


  • Course Organizer for the  Usher Institute Master of Public Health course Introduction to Systematic Reviews (2018 - 2020)
  • Personal tutor for students enrolled on Usher Institute Master of Public Health programme (October 2016 - )
  • Tutor on the international MSc/Dip/Cert Course in Clinical Management of Pain (2006, 2007)
  • Dissertation marker for Masters students on MSc in Public Health programme (2005, 2006, 2018)


  • Module Organizer and Lecturer for the Statistics and Clinical Epidemiology module of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh Scottish Oncology Course for SpRs (2005, 2006). One of the venues for this course was the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Postgraduate research project supervision

  • The Relationships between Periodontal Disease and Oral Health-Related Quality of Life in the Urban Older Population in Indonesia (Marisza Hijryana, PhD, 2020)
  • What should be taught to undergraduate medical students about the efficacy of alternative medicine in cancer therapy? A systematic review update. (Katie Hall, MSc Public Health, 2018)
  • The frequency of use of various types of reliability coefficients within medical education journals: A systematic review (Sijia Liu, MSc Statistics and Operational Research, summer 2015)
  • Comparison of the benefits of Ropinirole or Pramipexole versus those of Entacapone in the management of patients on Levodopa therapy with later intermediate stage Parkinson's disease: A systematic review (Dr Derek Kayanja, MSc Internal Medicine (ODL programme), Distinction, 2014)
  • Modern methods for detecting examiner bias in naturalistic assessment data (Jieke Chen, MSc Statistics and Operational Research, Distinction, summer 2013)


Research Interests

My principal areas of research are Medical Education and Applied Statistics. I also collaborate in and supervise research projects over a range of clinical specialties. My personal research interests fall into the categories Teaching Statistics to Medical Students and Students in the Health Sciences, Statistical Methods for Assessing the Quality of Assessment Practices, Modern Methods for Standard Setting in Medicine and the Health Sciences, Medical Statistics, Research-Teaching Linkages, Mathematical Logic and the Philosophies of Mathematics and Statistics.

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