Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024


Department: Biosciences


Type Tied Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham
Tied to C103
Tied to C107


  • Level 1 Fundamentals of Bioscience Research BIOL1321


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To develop an understanding of the whole biological research process, from generating ideas to disseminating results.
  • To develop critical data-gathering and analytical skills in studying scientific literature.
  • To develop the tools needed for data analysis and presentation.
  • To develop scientific writing skills for different audiences.


  • Research skills, research styles and research scope in the Biosciences.
  • Data gathering and critical analysis of the scientific literature.
  • Advanced Statistics, experimental design and data presentation.
  • Science writing and science communication.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understanding of the research process and its component parts.
  • Application of appropriate statistical techniques to analyze biological data.
  • Knowledge of sources available for studying scientific literature in biosciences.
  • Knowledge of current standards for reporting and data presentation in biological research.
  • Develop scientific writing and communication skills for expert and non-expert audiences.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to use advanced statistical methods to critically assess results in biological research.
  • To be able to set up and execute complex searches of scientific literature, and to be able to critically assess the results of such searches.
  • To be able to develop an understanding of a research question and communicate these ideas to both expert and non-expert audiences.
Key Skills:
  • Numeracy by performing data analyses using statistical tests, and calculations involved in analytic methods.
  • Self-motivation by performing independent work on problem sets.
  • Presentation skills and appropriate use of graphical techniques for data visualisation.
  • Critical analysis in evaluation of searches of scientific literature.
  • Reporting skills in preparing data analysis and written reports.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures deliver subject-specific knowledge.
  • Workshops reinforce subject-specific knowledge and understanding gained from lectures, and lead to development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Self-guided learning contributes to subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation.
  • Reports give experience in scientific writing, data visualization and critical analysis.
  • Examinations demonstrate achievement of the appropriate level of subject-specific knowledge, with an emphasis on understanding and communication (problem-based questions, or interpretative questions).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 1 per week 1 hour 20
Workshops 20 1 per week 1 hour 20
Preparation & Reading 160
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen for examination 2 hours 100% Yes
Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Data analysis and presentation 80% Yes
Reflective writing 20% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessments will be provided to develop the skills for each summative assessment as appropriate and may include database search exercise: scientific writing exercise.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University