BI3PROD-Research Project - Biomolecular 20 Credit (D)

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Pre-requisites: Part 2 Biomedical Sciences, Biochemistry, Microbiology or Biological Sciences programmes
Modules excluded: BI3PROA Research Project - Ecology and Evolution 40 Credit (A) and BI3PROB Research Project - Biomolecular 40 Credit (B) and BI3PROC Research Project - Ecology and Evolution 20 Credit (C)
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Sheila MacIntyre


Summary module description:

This module aims to provide students with the experience of biological research through the design and execution of a review-based project. Literature review based studies do not involve any type of primary data collection in the laboratory or field; instead they make use of knowledge, data and ideas that already exist in the literature. One approach is to use a ‘systematic literature review’, in which an organised and systematic approach is used to select reliable data from an extensive number of sources and further analyse in order to test a hypothesis. This type of analysis is particularly relevant to medical trials, for example in testing new drugs or treatments. Alternately, a similar type of detailed review and re-evaluation of available data may be used to address a particular research question, develop a new hypothesis and design experiments to test the hypothesis.
This module provides experience in the use of library and computer based literature search facilities, approaches to systematic and critical selection of material, data extraction analysis and critical interpretation, as well as in scientific writing and in the presentation of a piece of work according to a given set of requirements.

Assessable learning outcomes:
The assessment is by way of a Phase I assessment and literature review (upper limit 5,000 words) on a topic decided in agreement with the supervisor. The learning outcomes that are assessed include:
•The formulation and critical assessment of a scientific argument based on the collection and analysis of information and/or data.
•The ability to search for relevant literature from a wide range of sources
•The ability to select appropriate key literature
•The ability to assess critically the methods, results and conclusions reported by other researchers
•The ability to extract, combine and interpret data reported by other researchers
•The ability to write using good scientific writing and presentation skills according to a specified set of requirements
•The knowledge and understanding acquired of the chosen topic

Additional outcomes:
Development of time management skills.

Outline content:
The topic, to be selected by the student in consultation with staff, should be one that the student finds worthwhile and interesting. The specific topic to be studied will be identified by the end of term 6. The project will commence at the beginning of term 7, when full guidance will be provided. The Phase 1 assessment, which may vary depending on the project, will be performed in the first 5 weeks of term 7 and submitted by the last day of week 5. The final project dissertation will be written in the form of a scientific paper. Students will also be assessed on their performance across the project as a whole. The research will normally be carried out for 200 hours over 10-15 weeks.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Guidelines are issued to students at the commencement of the module in Term 7. Most of the learning will be self-directed with the exception of regular tutorial sessions with the project supervisor, seminars on conducting systematic reviews and attendance at research group meetings, where relevant.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 5 5
Project Supervision 5 5
Guided independent study 180
Total hours by term 190.00 10.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 15
Report 10
Dissertation 75

Other information on summative assessment:
Phase 1 - 15%; Performance mark - 10%; Dissertation - 75%

Formative assessment methods:
Students will be guided by meetings with their supervisor and will be required to maintain a log of their study, which will assist supervisors in monitoring progress.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (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.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-submission of a project report, together with other work, not earlier than September.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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