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Unit information: Biomedical Sciences Research Skills in 2018/19

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Unit name Biomedical Sciences Research Skills
Unit code MVSF30001
Credit points 40
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Jim Spencer
Open unit status Not open



4 x 20cp level 6/H lecture units offered by the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences

School/department Life Sciences Faculty Office
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


Students will carry out a laboratory, literature, computer-based or school-based education research project in an area of current interest in biomedical sciences. The Introduction to the project dissertations will require a review of the relevant primary scientific literature. Students will be able to evaluate and discuss the key research papers underlying their project. Students doing laboratory projects will learn experimental skills and to disseminate their results in a written dissertation, an oral presentation and a viva. All students will learn to assess the scientific literature and will evaluate whether appropriate conclusions have been drawn. The literature interpretation exam will assess the students' ability to read and interpret data, figures and tables presented in the biomedical sciences literature.

The unit aims to allow students to develop the skills necessary to carry out a research project in the field of biomedical sciences. They will read, analyse and interpret scientific data presented in the literature.

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding of a specific area of modern biomedical sciences, including understanding of the scientific literature pertaining to the project and an ability to evaluate this literature critically.

Knowledge and understanding of design, execution and analysis of research projects.

The ability to reason; analyse and interpret data; identify and solve problems; exercise independence of mind; form and defend scientific judgements.

Transferable skills including the ability to communicate in writing and orally; be self-reliant and organise time effectively; work as a group member where appropriate; take appropriate decisions when needed; an appropriate level of numeracy and IT skill; plan, execute and interpret the results of experimental work; and manage a research project.

Teaching details

Laboratory project or literature- or bioinformatics computer-based project work.

Specific instruction on data and literature interpretation will be given within the co-requisite level H/6 units.

Students will be given the opportunity to gain formative feedback on their performance on practice questions.

Assessment Details

10 minute project talk, with 5 minutes for questions will be summatively assessed (counting 5% towards the final project mark), with formative feedback.

Laboratory project dissertation: <8,000 words, to include a 2,000 word introduction.


Literature- or computer based project dissertation: <12,000 words, to include a 2,000 word introduction.

Formative feedback will be provided on drafts of the Introduction and Results or Analysis Sections.

The Level 6/H Research Project is assessed by the Supervisor and another Assessor. The Supervisor gives marks for Initiative & Industry (5%) and Technical Ability (5%). At least two examiners give marks for the project talk (5%). Two examiners give agreed marks for the Abstract (5%), Introduction (30%), Materials & Methods (5%), Results (15%) and Discussion (10%), and Presentation of the dissertation (10%); they also conduct a short viva voce, during which the student gives a 10 minute oral presentation and then responds to questions on the project (10%).


In the case of “dry” projects, the marks are given for the talk (5%), Initiative & Industry (5%), Originality / Independence of Approach (5%), Abstract (5%), Introduction (15%), Scope (10%), Detail (15%), Conclusions / Analysis (15%), Presentation of the dissertation (15%) and the Viva including a 10 minute oral presentation (10%).

Summative 3 hour written literature interpretation exam, to include 2 questions.

Overall weighting: Project (75%), Literature interpretation exam (25%)

Reading and References

Reviews and primary articles from the current scientific literature relevant to the project.