BI2PAB-Practical Animal Behaviour

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: BI1EAA1 Ecology and Behaviour
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Joanna Bagniewska


Type of module:

Summary module description:


This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the principles and methods of quantitative studies of animal behaviour, with an emphasis on techniques of observation, recording and analysis. Attention is given to how and why central hypotheses are formulated, how experiments are designed to distinguish between hypotheses, and how the results are analysed and interpreted.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the course, students will be expected to be able to:

1. Demonstrate the knowledge of a variety of techniques used for investigating animal behaviour in various contexts.

2. Design, carry out and analyse simple behavioural experiments.

3. Critically evaluate scientific papers reporting behaviour research.

4. Show an awareness of the ethical context within which animal behaviour studies operate, including knowledge of the basic philosophical premises relating to ethics and the ethics approval processes.


Additional outcomes:

Students gain experience using statistical software to analyse a hypothesis-driven project that they have conducted during the course of the practical sessions.

Outline content:

The module provides an introduction to the practical aspects of studying animal behaviour. The topics will cover behavioural tests in a variety of contexts, including studying animal behaviour in the laboratory, in other captive settings and in the wild. The ethical aspect of behavioural studies will be discussed. The students will learn various research techniques for studying behaviour, and will be introduced into behavioural research in a rigorous and hypothesis-driven study. They will design and conduct an investigation, and will analyse it and discuss it in the context of relevant literature.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

A series of lectures will provide the background to various techniques of studying animal behaviour. The practical sessions will give the students the opportunity to plan, conduct and analyse a behavioural study. A seminar will introduce the students to a critical analysis of relevant scientific literature.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Tutorials 2
Practicals classes and workshops 10
Guided independent study 78
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Project output other than dissertation 40
Class test administered by School 60

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

The seminars and practical sessions will provide the opportunity for formative feedback from staff. 

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall. 

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-examination in August/September only.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 29 January 2019


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