BIMBB12-Advanced Topics in Biomedicine and Critical Appraisal Skills

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Dr Phillip Dash


Summary module description:
Understanding the scientific literature is an essential skill for a successful career in research. In this module students will learn about the latest developments in biomedical research and will learn how to critically evaluate this research, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of published studies and developing their own conclusions from the data presented. Students will discuss in small groups the latest scientific papers in order to understand the latest research and gain an appreciation for how this research was designed and conducted and how best to critically evaluate the findings. Students will also attend weekly seminars given by eminent external speakers.

Students will also put into practice what they’ve learned by putting together a proposal to solve a scientific problem. At the start of term students will be given a briefing from a team of scientists from industry. They will explain a problem or challenge that they would like solved. Working in small teams students will search the literature and apply their knowledge of different lab techniques to propose a solution to these challenges. Students will write a report that presents a business case for the proposal and present a summary of their findings in a “Dragons Den” format to the industry experts. This will allow students to see how these important skills can translate into both academic and industry settings.

To enable students to understand the latest research across a range of topics in the biomedical sciences and to be able to critically appraise and evaluate the quality of scientific papers. To understand and be able to evaluate the latest publications in the area relevant to their choice of specialist topic. To apply this knowledge to solve a scientific challenge.

Assessable learning outcomes:
At the end of the module students should understand the experimental design and theoretical foundations underlying published scientific papers. Students should be able to critically evaluate the experimental design, methods, analysis and conclusions of published papers as well as be able to suggest additional experiments to extend the published studies. Students should be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to research questions adopted in different studies.

Additional outcomes:
Students will develop communication, writing and critical analysis skills through class participation, reading of materials, preparation of reports and a group presentation.

Outline content:
Content will be based on the latest biomedical research and so specific details cannot be given of the papers that will be discussed or the seminars that will be presented. However papers and seminars will rotate between each of the specialist themes of the MRes programme so that students will discuss papers and seminars in the fields of cancer, cardiovascular disease, genetics, microbiology and stem cells & regenerative medicine, although important papers from outside these fields may also be discussed.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This module will primarily be delivered by attendance at seminars and by weekly small group discussions. Additionally individual or group study will be required prior to the paper discussions and individual reflection on the issues raised will be expected after the discussions.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 10 10
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study 88 90
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 30
Oral assessment and presentation 20
Class test administered by School 50

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:
A reassessment essay title will be provided by the module convenor.

Last updated: 29 October 2014

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