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Unit information: Concepts and Skills (pharmacology) in 2020/21

Unit name Concepts and Skills (pharmacology)
Unit code PHPH30005
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Teschemacher
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


This unit aims to provide training in core skills and techniques that are vital to effectively read, interpret and criticise the scientific literature, as well as to analyse and communicate scientific findings. It includes: statistics, data quantitation, limits of scientific understanding, critical reading of research literature, scientific writing and presentation and ethics of animal and human experimentation.

In addition, there are lectures and demonstrations to provide training in laboratory techniques used in research. This includes advanced technical workshops, where students gain insight into the use of the latest techniques.

Intended learning outcomes

  • An understanding of and the ability to apply common statistical and analytical methods relevant to biomedical science
  • The ability to demonstrate a critical approach to reading scientific publications
  • The ability to design scientific experiments
  • The ability to analyse and interpret data

Teaching details

Lectures, practicals, technical workshops and tutorials

Assessment Details

The unit will be assessed through:

  • Timed assessment in January (50%), consisting of multiple choice questions based both on the students statistical understanding and prior statistical analysis of a range of datasets. This summative examination assesses statistical understanding and is preceded by a formative examination in November, using the same format.
  • Continuous assessment (50%) consisting of data analysis and interpretation, integrative pharmacology, and experimental design. These assessments will be supported by feedback sessions.

Reading and References

Intuitive Biostatistics (Harvey Motulsky, Oxford University Press: ISBN:978-0-19-973006-3)

Understanding the New Statistics: Effect Sizes, Confidence Intervals and Meta-analysis (Geoff Cumming, Routledge, New York; ISBN:978-0-415-87968-2)

Reviews and primary articles from the current scientific literature.