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Unit information: Concepts and Skills 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 Concepts and Skills
Unit code PHPH30007
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Langton
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; public engagement with science; ethics of animal and human experimentation.

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
  • An understanding of how to communicate science to the general public

Teaching details

Lectures, workshops and online tutorial exercises on statistics

Assessment Details

The unit will be assessed through:

  • 2 hour summative examination 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.
  • 3 hour summative examination in May/June (50%) consisting of critical reading of a research paper assessed through writing a scientific abstract and a lay abstract aimed at communicating the main findings of the research paper to the general public. In addition, there will be questions addressing the quality of the presentation and analysis of the results and suggestions future extensions to the work. This assesses their understanding of the research and of the different approaches required when communicating scientific ideas to different audiences. This summative assessment is preceded by a formative assignment of the same format.

Reading and References

Selected original research papers from the scientific literature