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Unit information: Project Planning in 2020/21

Unit name Project Planning
Unit code BIOLM0023
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Andy Wakefield
Open unit status Not open




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


Students choose or are allocated a topic, and work closely within a research group to plan their field-based or laboratory research, putting into practice many of the transferable skills learned in Professional Development. Units are timetabled so that Professional Development provides skills and knowledge at the relevant stages needed for Project Planning. The students are introduced to academic research culture through a series of laboratory tours and seminar sessions with both members of the department and visiting academics. They may plan to undertake their project as a placement outside the School of Biological Sciences, in which case they will work at this planning stage with two supervisors: one outside the School and one academic within the school. The aims are for students to learn successful planning of a project, including understanding and summarising the literature, planning experimental design and statistics, planning data collection, and considering logistics, ethics, animal welfare (if required), and time management. Students also gain understanding and confidence by presenting plans to peers and academics for feedback.

Intended learning outcomes

Having completed this unit, students will be well placed to conduct an excellent research project. They will be able to:

1. Summarise the relevant literature;

2. Plan the experimental design, statistical analysis and create a data collection plan for their practical project;

3. Design and write risk assessments.

Teaching details

Lecture, seminars, student discussion with supervisor(s), peer review, poster presentation and self-study.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment will come through feedback on work by project advisors. Students will also submit a project plan at the same time as their literature review, but this is a formative exercise.

Summative assessment (numbers refer to intended learning outcomes):

  • 80% Literature overview (Tests ILO 1)
  • 20% Presentation (Tests ILO 2)

Reading and References

Current reading will be recommended by the teaching staff, e.g.:

  • Hailman JP & Strier KB (2006). Planning, proposing and presenting science effectively: a guide for graduate students in the behavioral sciences and biology (second edition). Cambridge University Press.
  • Walliman N (2011). Your research project: designing and planning your work (third edition). Sage Publications.