SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 40.00
ECTS Credit Points 20.00
Module Code MHC923440
Module Leader James Reilly
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Completion of Level 3 Applied BMS/BMS & Framework degrees

Summary of Content

The project and workshop are key features of the Honours (level 4) provision, intended to develop independent thought via the application of theoretical principles studied during the degree course. Students are expected to make full use of the principles of investigative work acquired during their previous years of study. All students will complete a workshop, that combines theory and practice in a linked series of experiments with associated tutorials, and undertake a research project designed to increase their understanding, practical skills and deep understanding of the area under investigation.


The workshop will cover commonly used techniques in a linked series of experiments, incorporating a range of skills related to their discipline. Statistical techniques will also form an important part of this workshop based training. The project will consist of 40h for Preparation for Project, a minimum of 80h for data-generating research, 80h for writing up the project thesis and preparation of the poster presentation, and 80h for independent student effort, including ongoing problem-solving via literature searching and reading during the project. Preparation for project will be completed prior to laboratory work commencing. The nature of the project, and supervisors' commitments, will determine the schedule of the research; regular meetings will be held and documented to discuss the progress of the research, its preparation for presentation and preparation of the thesis. Oral presentations of e-posters, detailing the key findings of the research, will be held in week 5 of trimester 2, and will cover the background to the project, the aims and objectives and how these were achieved. The talks will be organized within appropriate subject areas, and be presented to groups of their peers and academic staff. Preparation for project, presentations and thesis submissions will be formally assessed by the supervisor and a second marker. Poster presentations, attended by external examiners, will also be held just before the Assessment Board.

Learning Outcomes

The project aims to enable students to work independently, while enhancing skills of planning, judgment and evaluation, to develop resourcefulness in obtaining data and to apply principles of methodological research.On successful completion of the module the students should be able to:1. Recognise and apply appropriate molecular biological techniques 2. Appraise current information relevant to the topic under discussion, and consider aspects relating to health and safety, and ethics, governing the investigation of that topic3. Construct a statement defining the nature and parameters of the problem4. Design and evaluate a programme of investigatory work, including data collection5. Communicate their results and outcomes via oral presentation of a poster6. Construct a scientific report of the research in an approved format, which includes statistical evaluations and interpretations of the results obtained within the context of other literature in the field.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The workshop is designed to provide experience of techniques used in laboratory investigations, which are critical to ensuring employability; students will work individually, recording their findings in laboratory book. The workshop will also include the statistical skills required to interpret the significance of biological data, and an appreciation of current bioinformatic data analyses. A ssessments of both theoretical and practical elements of the workshop are by MCQ and oral examinations. For their individual research, projects will be selected from a number of options, designed to enhance their investigative and analytical skills, and independent thought, through applied research. As required under each of the benchmark and/or accreditation statements governing the degree under study, the project will require students to consider the health and safety implications, and the ethical dimensions of the proposed study, and to carry out an independent investigation, based on one of the following options: i) laboratory work and data collection, ii) bioinformatics and data mining, iii) surveys of health and lifestyle, iv) systematic reviews and therapeutic audits. In each case, the project will be research or inquiry based, requiring analysis of data and accurate record-keeping, and representing an extended piece of work underpinned by relevant sources. The study will utilise defined methodologies appropriate to the project type which can be justified, and allow the student to synthesize conclusions and provide ideas for future research. Each student will carry out a formal 'Preparation for Project' in which they will complete a literature review or scoping exercise, define the methodologies to be used, and complete risk assessments and/or submissions for ethical approval. Preparation of an 'e-poster' for oral presentation based on the results of their research will combine key elements of training for the workplace which the students have received in previous years; students will be required to draw upon and improve presentation skills, select content for inclusion, and communicate key points of their investigations. Students will give constructive feedback on each others' work, fostering broader and deeper learning; they will also experience questioning from their supervisors, other members of academic staff and external examiners, as appropriate. The thesis preparation will draw on students' training in previous years, in calculations, presentation and interpretation of data. Students will produce and submit a structured report of the research performed, in the format required for submission of a scientific journal article in their relevant discipline, including Abstract, Introduction, Methods and statistical analyses, Results and Discussion, and be appropriately referenced.

Indicative Reading

As guided by each project supervisor, and dictated by the nature of the investigations undertaken. Students are expected to access both review articles and primary literature in their area of study.

Transferrable Skills

Students will study open-ended problems and develop research skills relevant to their discipline, as well as IT, document retrieval and a range of molecular biology skills. Both project and workshop will foster increased experimental skills, data analysis and interpretation of results, time management and organisation, communication and presentation of outcomes.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 205.00
Assessment (FT) 40.00
Practicals (FT) 155.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 4 n/a 55.00 n/a Thesis
Coursework 2 n/a 10.00 n/a Preparation for project
Coursework 3 n/a 10.00 n/a Oral presentation of poster
Coursework 1 n/a 25.00 n/a Workshop