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Unit information: Key Concepts for Biologists in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Key Concepts for Biologists
Unit code BIOL10002
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Bell
Open unit status Not open




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


This unit aims to introduce a range of key concepts that provide important background knowledge for those wishing to study Biology/Zoology, but which are not covered elsewhere in our first-year course. The unit includes aspects such as study skills for an effective student, data collection and handling, plotting figures and tables, finding and interpreting scientific literature, COSHH and risk analysis, writing scientific reports and impact for Biologists. Therefore, providing a common foundation in these areas on which all other Biology units can then build; this is important given the diversity of educational backgrounds amongst those studying Biology or Zoology. The unit will also provide students with an introduction to the key topic of evolution. On completion of the unit, students will be familiar with the terminology used within Biology/Zoology disciplines, be able to handle, summarise and present biological data and have an appreciation of the relevant methods and concepts which are applied in biological analyses and which will underpin their studies through the degree programmes.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this unit a successful student should:

  1. Recognise terminology used within biology/zoology disciplines.
  2. Have an appreciation of relevant technical and conceptual issues and how these are often applied to biological analysis.
  3. Identify and appreciate the various risks that can be associated with scientific work and recognise the importance of conducting a risk assessment.
  4. Be able to handle, summarise and present biological data.
  5. Have good comprehension of the framework in which science is now performed within the context of personal, social, ethical and cultural standards.
  6. Be able to find, interpret and critically assess sources of scientific information.
  7. Have gained experience in written and verbal communication skills with an ability to relay scientific information with clarity.

Teaching details

Lectures, interactive sessions (workshops/practicals), tutorials, field data collection exercise, along with self-directed study.

Assessment Details

  • A written research abstract summary (500 words, 5%) (ILOs 6 & 7)
  • An oral presentation given in tutorial group (5mins 5%) (ILO 7)
  • 1 marked essay (1,500 words, 20%) (ILOs 6 & 7)
  • Project report (3,000 words) presented in the form of a scientific research paper which will incorporate elements from the material covered in the unit (50%) (ILOs 3, 4, 6 & 7)
  • Multiple choice tests to be completed in self-directed study time (20%).

ILOs 1, 2, 5 are addressed across all assessments.

Students will receive feedback on all elements of summative assessment through the tutorials associated with the unit and within built-in feedback on Blackboard for MCQ. There will also be opportunities for formative feedback during each interactive session.

Reading and References


Practical Skills in Biology 5th Ed. (2012) Jones, Reed, Weyers. Pub: Pearson