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Fundamentals of
Injury Biomechanics Project
Skeleton and muscles. Wellcome L0010767.jpg
Project Workspace
Fundamentals of Injury Biomechanics is an open textbook currently being developed by students in MECH 436/536.
Key Pages

Agnes d’Entremont, PhD, P.Eng.

  • Office Hours: KAIS 1130 -- Most Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 – 1 pm, or by appointment
  • Communication: Email communication is welcome. Please put “MECH 436/536” in the subject.

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These wiki pages are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Welcome to the workspace for the Fundamentals of Injury Biomechanics open textbook. This open resource is being created by MECH 436/536 students and this page contains information about this assignment.

MECH 436/536 Literature Review Project and Presentation


The purpose of this activity is for you to become thoroughly familiar with an injury biomechanics topic of your own interest. By reviewing the literature in a particular area (broken wrists for example) you will gain an appreciation for the experimental or theoretical techniques that are and that have been used to study the problem (i.e. finite element models and experiments using crash test dummies have been used to study wrist fractures), the incidence (i.e. how many happen per year) and prevalence (i.e. how many people currently suffer from it) of the injury and in what media (which journals, textbooks, conference proceedings, internet etc.) information is available about your topic. You will also gain an appreciation for the unanswered questions and controversial topics in your area.

This activity also provides you the opportunity to prepare a detailed research-based oral presentation that will require considerable organization summarization and synthesis skills to complete. In this sense, this task is similar to tasks that might be requested of you as part of your future employment in a research institution or in industry. You will also work in teams of 3-4 and this will allow you to develop teamwork and collaboration skills. Graduate students are requested to select a topic that is not directly related to their thesis topic.

Learning objectives

By the end of this project, you will be able to:

  • Select an area of research in injury biomechanics that interests you
  • Explain the importance of the specific research area you selected
  • Perform literature searches in that area of injury biomechanics, including both medical indexes and engineering sources
  • Identify and evaluate experimental and theoretical techniques used in the literature in the area of research you selected
  • Categorize and judge the quality, scope, and applicability of research literature in that area
  • Describe and evaluate problems and controversies in that research area
  • Identify and prioritize future research needing to be done in that area
  • Organize a bibliography
  • Summarize your results for the class in a presentation
  • Complete a section of an open online textbook on your topic (if you do not want to share your work openly, there will be an alternate option – you will still need to complete the other aspects)
  • Critically review material created by others

Project team

Find a team (3-4 people total), and sign-up to a group on Canvas. Make sure you sign up in the same group (they are numbered, and you should also be able to see who else is in each group – grad students, this will also be your 536 project group). UBC Library literature search session:

Part 1

Some advance work is required prior to the library session that includes completion of a worksheet based on viewing the Medline Ovid tutorials: Email your completed worksheet by the due date to

Part 2

Reference Librarian Sarah Parker will run a tutorial on searching the injury biomechanics literature. A library research guide lists the course-specific resources (see

Bring your topic idea, questions, and even a couple of good papers for your topic that can provide ideas for further searching during the library session.

Topic proposal

Agree on a common topic of interest with your partner. Provide your proposed title, a 2-3 paragraph proposal outlining why you have chosen the topic, a brief outline of what you intend to cover in the review and a list of at least 5 samples of the articles that you will summarize for the review (out of a minimum of 10 articles that you must use in your final review). (See Example topics below, and important note on scope of topic). Presentation and bibliography: You and your partner will be randomly assigned a presentation slot in one of the 436/536 class or tutorial sessions. You will be required to give a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation followed by 2 minutes for questions.

Your presentation and bibliography (at least 10 papers, of which at least 5 must be primary biomechanics papers (not epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, or review)) will be due on Canvas at 11:59 pm on the day before you present.

There are example literature review presentations available for download from the “literature review project” section on Canvas. Your presentations should typically follow an outline that looks something like this:

  1. Establish the importance of the subject. Use statistics and epidemiology as well as discussion of long-term consequences (i.e. paralysis) for people who have sustained the injury.
  2. Summarize what work has been done previously on your topic. In this section, you will summarize the papers that you have reviewed and you will cite the papers wherever appropriate.
  3. Discuss problems and controversies. Discuss what is problematic about the work that has been done previously. Discuss any controversies or contentious issues that surround your topic.
  4. Prioritize future research. Include a section describing what work has not been done and identify what are the most pressing unanswered questions in the field associated with your topic.

Remember that this project is an exercise in synthesis and critical review of the literature. It is not simply a regurgitation of the results of a small number of articles. You should not mention every article that has ever been published on your topic; instead, carefully select the articles you think are the most important and that enable you to cover the outline listed above. You should not cite articles that you have not read in their entirety (i.e. don’t cite from abstracts alone). The source for each figure, video or quote should be clearly identified in a footnote to the slide, and the important elements demonstrated in the figure should also be explained by one of the speakers.

Your presentation should include appropriate figures from the articles you have reviewed, or other sources. An extensive bibliography list of the literature you have identified, reviewed and cited throughout the presentation (there must be a minimum of 10 articles on the list, and at least 5 must be primary biomechanics articles) must be submitted via Canvas.  

Open Online Textbook

New this year, we are going to start building up an online resource for the course. This is from a concept called “open pedagogy”. Often, students complete excellent scholarly work as part of their courses, but the work does not have a life or use after the course is complete. Open pedagogy involves sharing and using that student work, to help other students in the future. (There will be optional alternate assignments for students who do not wish to share their work – these students/groups will still need to complete the literature review project).

The open textbook will contain both sections on basic course topics (grad student project) and sections on the literature review topics (all students). The open textbook will be set up on a UBC wiki, and will be available for future students to use and build on. All content submitted will be Creative Commons licensed for re-use, and must be shareable (i.e. no copyrighted images can be uploaded to the site, but links and embedding are okay). Further information about this will be presented in class.

There are several changes in the lit review project to facilitate this additional piece. First, the group size is larger, so the work is spread out more. And there is a smaller number of required articles (10 instead of 20), meaning that the analysis of the papers that are included can be more complete and accurate. There will be peer review on the textbook content, to help ensure accuracy and clarity. And the timing of the deliverables will be slightly different.

Graduate students will form groups together for this project, so they can have the same groups for this and the grad project.

Example topics

Important Note: Ensure that the topic you select is sufficiently focused to allow reasonable review in the time allowed. Some of the topics below are sufficiently focused, but most are larger areas and you will need to choose a narrower topic within the area.

Choose a topic in acute injury (like ACL tear, wrist fracture, spinal cord injury) rather than chronic injury (carpal tunnel and other repetitive stress injuries), as the course covers primarily acute injuries. It is very difficult to perform biomechanics research on chronic injuries, and you will have a lot of trouble completing this project if you choose such a chronic injury topic.

  • Specific topic: environmental factors (like flooring) in falls leading to hip fracture
  • General topic: geriatric injury
  • Child Restraint Injury Biomechanics
  • Anthropomorphic Test Devices
  • Biomechanics of Whiplash
  • Biomechanics of Intervertebral Disc Injury
  • Restraint of pregnant automobile occupants of late gestational stage
  • Geriatric Injury
  • Pediatric Injury
  • Brain Injury: Is it Translation or Rotation
  • Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Injury During Automotive Rollovers
  • Diving Injury: Natural vs. Pool environments
  • Skateboard or skiing or snowboarding injuries
  • Or suggest your own!

MECH 536 Graduate Student Project


To engage with course content more deeply and to create useful open online resources for the MECH 436/536 class (and other similar courses).

This year, we are going to build an open, online resource for the course. This is from a concept called “open pedagogy”. Often, students complete excellent scholarly work as part of their courses, but the work does not have a life or use after the course is complete. Open pedagogy involves sharing and using that student work, to help other students in the future. (There will be an optional alternate assignment for students who do not wish to share their work).


Groups of 3-4 graduate students (the same groups as for the literature review project)


  • One online textbook (e-book) section on a foundational aspect of the course material
  • Two homework problems (with solutions) that can be included in the online textbook (these can include videos, data files, etc., since this will be online) – one to be completed prior to midterm and one before the final exam, and shared with the class as study tools

Project options

Choose a narrow topic from the course materials. For example, select one type of crash test dummy, or one type of sensor, to cover. You will be expected to go to original sources (e.g. research papers) for information (not the course notes), and you may have to recreate some images or graphs (as they will be copyrighted). Since this resource will be built upon in future years, it’s better to cover less material but cover it well. The exact topic is up to you, but it should be central to the course (something we cover in class).

The homework problems may relate to your e-book topic, or they may not. They should be from two different course topics (from first half and last half of course). They will also be posted in the e-book (think exercises and homework problems in a textbook).

If you do not want to share your work openly, alternate assignments can be created.


  • Will Engle at CTLT and the Copyright UBC office are available to assist with issues around open licensing
  • Consider consulting with the mechanical engineering subject librarian, Sarah Parker, for help finding information outside the usual sources (i.e. grey literature, outside of pubmed, etc.).