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Unit information: Literature Review in 2020/21

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Unit name Literature Review
Unit code BIOL30002
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Cuthill
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


A critical review of a chosen topic within the biological literature, presented in the format of a review article in a scientific journal.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this unit, students should be able to:

1. Use on-line and traditional library resources to find scientific articles relevant to a chosen topic;

2. Critically analyse the content of, and claims in, the articles found;

3. Synthesise and explain the published studies and theories relevant to a chosen topic;

4. Determine the gaps in knowledge or understanding relevant to a chosen topic;

5. Produce a concise, critical review intelligible to the non-specialist, scientifically informed reader.

Teaching details

Academic staff provide review titles and discuss approaches with students at the start of term. Students' are expected to research and write. Students' research and writing is mainly done in 10 weeks during term. Students give an individual presentation on their Literature Review subject towards the end of the term, which provides a means for giving formative feedback to each student prior to submission of their completed review.

Assessment Details

100% of the unit mark is based on the written review, which assesses all ILOs.

Reading and References

Students are initially guided towards appropriate primary literature by supervisors, after which they are expected to carry out literature searches and interpretation independently.