SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMC925254
Module Leader Frances MacInnes
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Good honours degree in a relevant discipline

Summary of Content

Skills for Professional Practice for Biosciences 1 has three main components: IT & Communication Skills I (ICT), Core Laboratory Skills and Experimental Design & Analysis I (EDA). ICT Skills I will provide the students with a range of key skills and resources necessary to study at M level and develop scientific research and reporting techniques. This includes performing detailed resource searches using the university library catalogue and a range of general and subject databases, understanding plagiarism and developing effective analysis and argument to include citing and referencing. The importance of scheduling and managing time effectively and efficiently will also be included. The Core Laboratory Skills component will ensure that all students possess the essential practical skills and knowledge to enable them to effectively and safely conduct experiments in practical classes and during their research project. EDA I will focus on design and project planning as key elements of the research process in biological studies. It will introduce the student to the philosophy and application of study design thinking and planning as the basis of good research. It will equip the students with the skills and knowledge to enable them to understand what affects research design and why design planning is critical to research success. Additionally, it will introduce statistical reasoning and statistical analysis methods. Emphasis will be placed on demonstrating how statistical analysis concepts and methods are necessary for the conversion of data into meaningful practical knowledge.


IT & Communication Skills I b7 Library search skills (search techniques, querying, exporting results to RefWorks) b7 ICT Skills for M level publications (advanced WP skills, Excel, PowerPoint) b7 Plagiarism & using Turnitin (introduction, identifying and avoiding plagiarism & paraphrasing, originality reports) -359 b7 Proof reading and accuracy b7 Time & project management (scheduling, critical path, milestones, resource allocation, tracking) b7 Citing & referencing (using RefWorks, creating folders, downloading refs, selecting texts, manual input, searching & editing, creating bibliographies, referencing styles -Harvard) b7 Critical & analytical thinking b7 Study & exam preparation (how to study, revising techniques, past papers, time management in an exam) Lab Skills -359b7 Basic laboratory skills: b7b7 Micropipetting b7b7 Buffer preparation b7b7 Basic microbiology techniques b7b7 Safe operation of a biological laboratory b7b7 Use of core molecular biology equipment b7b7 Microscopy b7b7 Health and Safety Experimental Design & Analysis I -359b7b7 Research process and planning principles b7b7 Data collection concepts and principles b7b7 Design of Experiments - Importance of design planning for gathering relevant biological information b7b7 Underpinning concepts such as control, randomisation, replication, confounding, sample size and sample selection b7b7 Levels of measurement b7b7 Techniques of graphical and numerical summarisation of biological data (e.g. Minitab) b7b7 Analysis of data b7b7 Null and experimental hypotheses b7b7 Significance level

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to: 1. Develop the students' critical and analytical thinking 2. Utilise the necessary ICT skills and IT systems for devising and preparing assignments and publishable quality reports 3. Critically assess published scientific papers 4. Explain the role of design and data collection in biological research 5. Apply and justify design structures appropriate to the context in which research is planned 6. Use statistical analysis software to aid the presentation, analysis and interpretation of data

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This module uses a blended learning approach with lectures, tutorials, labs and online learning via GCULearn VLE. It follows a student centred learning approach to facilitate the delivery of key practical and academic skills the student requires to successfully complete a programme of study at Masters level. Since the majority of students are international, this approach is most appropriate in allowing the student to tailor their learning under the supervision and guidance of academic staff. Students will be encouraged to work independently using both online and hard copy materials. Students are required to collaborate as part of a group presentation whilst individually planning and managing their own input. The skills acquired in the research and preparation of their group presentation will be accumulated throughout the module and an online multiple choice test will ascertain their understanding and level of such skills. The EDA report will assess students' ability to analyse, present and interpret data in a format suitable for submission of a scientific manuscript in their relevant discipline.

Indicative Reading

Divan, A. (2009) Communication skills for the Biosciences - A graduate guide . Oxford University Press, Oxford. Greenhalgh, T. (2014) How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence Based Medicine . Blackwell. Hek, G. (2011) Making Sense of Research: An introduction for health and social care practitioners Sage Publications. Holmes, D., Moody, P., Dine, D. (2011) Research Methods for the Biosciences. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Johnson, S., Scott, J. (2014) Study and Communication Skills for the Biosciences . 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Transferrable Skills

b7 Reading, writing and communication skills b7 Independent study skills b7 Problem solving b7 Logical thinking b7 ICT skills b7 Laboratory techniques & good practice b7 Information Literacy b7 Working with others b7 Ability to apply knowledge b7 Time management b7 Research methods b7 Statistical analysis

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 89.00
Lectures (FT) 17.00
Tutorials (FT) 3.00
Practicals (FT) 18.00
Assessment (FT) 5.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 n/a 0.00 50% Lab Skills Competency Test (3 weeks) - pass/fail essential element.
Coursework 1 n/a 50.00 45% ICT Skills Assessment
Coursework 3 n/a 50.00 45% EDA Coursework