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Unit information: Key Concepts for Biologists in 2020/21

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, getting the most out of lectures, risk analysis, as well as writing scientific reports and essays. 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, Zoology or Plant Sciences. On completion of the unit, students will be familiar with the terminology used within Biology/Zoology/Plant Sciences 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. Students will come away with an appreciation of the framework in which science is performed today.

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. Be able to find, interpret and critically assess sources of scientific information.
  6. 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, data collection activity, along with self-directed study.

Assessment Details

  • 10%: submission of two reflective skills portfolios (tests ILO 6)
  • 5%: a 5 minute oral presentation (tests ILO 6)
  • 20%: essay (tests ILOs 5 & 6)
  • 50%: project report presented in the form of a scientific research paper which will incorporate elements from the material covered in the unit (tests ILOs 3, 4, 5 & 6)
  • 15%: Multiple choice tests to be completed in self-directed study time.

ILOs 1 & 2 are addressed across all assessments.

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

Reading and References


Practical Skills in Biology 6th Ed. (2016) Jones, Reed, Weyers. Pub: Pearson, ISBN: 978-1-292-09432-8