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Biosciences Research Project

Module titleBiosciences Research Project
Module codeBIO3096
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Dr Helen Dawe (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module allows you to develop and undertake a research project with supervision.

A variety of types of project will be offered including research laboratory based, field based, informatics, meta-analysis, and scientific literature based (scientific critique, analysis and synthesis of material including data). Increasing independence in the work/research environment and in time management is encouraged and supported. Both group based and individual projects may be offered.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module seeks to develop your ability to conduct and report scientific research within the broad discipline of Biosciences, and develop your employability skills for future careers. You will choose a topic from a list provided by academic staff.

It will develop your ability to think critically, analyse, challenge, and problem solve. You will develop your skills in reviewing the literature relevant to your chosen topic, in scientific critique, project planning, scientific methods, working collaboratively, problem solving, analysis and synthesis of material including data, and in writing a scientific report and giving an oral presentation. This module will also develop and enhance your employability skills for future careers through both generic and biosciences related skills.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Utilise scientific skills appropriate to a particular research discipline within the biosciences
  • 2. Perform a scientific literature search and successfully discern, organise and synthesise the relevant information
  • 3. Plan, design and execute a research project
  • 4. Analyse, interpret and present scientific data appropriately, including in both written and oral form

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Analyse in detail essential facts and theory in a sub-discipline of the biosciences
  • 6. Analyse and evaluate independently a range of research-informed literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work
  • 7. Identify and implement, with limited guidance, appropriate methodologies and theories for solving a range of complex problems in a sub-discipline of the biosciences
  • 8. With minimal guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, investigation and enquiry within a sub-discipline of the biosciences
  • 9. Evaluate in detail approaches to our understanding of biosciences with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles
  • 10. Illustrate and discuss, in detail and effectively, the contested and provisional nature of knowledge and understanding

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 11. Communicate effectively arguments, evidence and conclusions using written and oral means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 12. Devise and sustain, with little guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with sound, convincing conclusions
  • 13. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data and undertake a range of research tasks with an appropriate level of guidance
  • 14. Interact with a research team/supervisor and deal proficiently with the issues that teamwork requires (i.e. communication, motivation, decision-making, awareness, responsibility, and management skills, including setting and working to deadlines)
  • 15. Evaluate own strengths and weaknesses in relation to graduate-level professional and practical skills, and act autonomously to develop new areas of skills as necessary
  • 16. Reflect effectively and independently on learning experiences and evaluate personal achievements

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Preliminary planning for the project takes place over approximately five weeks at Stage 2 resulting in the generation of a project plan early in term 1 of Stage 3. Data collection for “wet” and analysis projects takes place in term 1, with the final report due in term 2. Literature projects extend over terms 1 and 2, with the final written report due in term 2. You will receive lectures on conducting projects and writing project reports. Supervisory meetings are held regularly by arrangement, normally fortnightly. Two formal, minuted meetings of project student and supervisor take place, one in each term. If your project is literature-based you will produce a 2000-word draft report at the end of term 1, on which feedback will be made available.

You will participate in the annual Biosciences student conference during which you will give a short presentation on your project. Training in oral presentation will be made available to you by your supervisor.

The mark you receive under the professionalism and research performance assessment is based on evaluation of your input and professional approach in project design, planning, implementation, analysis, interpretation and report planning, throughout duration of the project.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching10Supervision, including formal minuted meetings
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2Oral presentation preparation and feedback
Scheduled Learning and Teaching220Laboratory/field/IT work/data and literature analysis, according to project
Guided Independent Study215Project report writing, data analysis, literature research, oral presentation preparation and other guided independent study


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Preliminary project plan – including a working title, general overview of the project area, details of the relevant literature, key research questions, methodology, timescale/research plan and bibliography2 pages A41-7, 9-15Written and oral from supervisor
Laboratory book or project draft (part), as appropriate for the projectLaboratory book/2000 words 1-14Written and oral from supervisor
Oral presentation practice12 minutes plus questions1-15Written and/or oral from supervisor
Discussion of career development/employability issuesn/a14-16Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Final individual project report755000-6000 words for experimental/meta-analysis projects; 8000 words for literature-based projects (as directed by supervisor)1-14Written report
Professionalism and research performance including laboratory book or project draft10Laboratory book/2000 words 1-15Written report
Oral presentation1512 minutes plus questions1-15Written report


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Final individual project reportFinal individual project report1-14August Ref/Def
Professionalism and research performanceNot applicableNot applicableNot applicable
Oral presentationNarrated PowerPoint1-15August Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The professionalism and research performance component is not deferrable because of its practical nature. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • As directed by the supervisor.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE page:

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Independent research, project, biosciences, experimental design, science communication, data collection, data handling, data analysis, project management, time management, collaboration, dissertation, scientific literature, scientific critique, literature review, employability

Credit value45
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BIO2071 Research Skills and Bioethics

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date