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Unit information: MSc Research Project Planning in 2015/16

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Unit name MSc Research Project Planning
Unit code BIOLM0011
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Rands
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

Students choose or are allocated a topic, and work closely within a research group to plan their field or lab-based research, putting into practice many of the transferable skills learned in Professional Development for Life Science. They may undertake the project as a placement outside the School of Biological Sciences, in which case they will work with two advisors: one outside the School and one academic within the school. The aims are for students to learn successful planning of a project, including understanding and summarising the literature, planning experimental design and statistics, planning data collection, and considering logistics, ethics, animal welfare, and time management. Students will also gain understanding and confidence by presenting plans to peers and academics for feedback.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Having completed this unit, students will be well placed to conduct a scientific research project. By the end of this unit, students will be able to: 1. Describe how to plan the components of a research project, including how to comprehend and summarise literature, plan experimental design and statistics, and plan data collection. 2. Demonstrate an understanding of the logistical challenges of their research, which could include gaining permissions for field-based research, time management, travel, ensuring equipment is available, etc. 3. Compose risk assessments. 4. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the ethical and legislative implications of their project.

Teaching Information

Much of this unit is self-directed, with individual input from the project advisor. An introductory lecture will be given to all students. Students also present an early version of their plans orally to peers and academics for critical feedback. E-learning via Blackboard.

Assessment Information

Formative assessment will come through feedback on work by project advisors and peers.

Summative assessment: 50% Evaluation of written and oral presentation of research plans by academics (learning outcomes 1-4), 30% Evaluation of oral presentation by peers (2, 4), 20% Evaluation of others’ research plans (1, 2, 4)

Reading and References

Current reading will be recommended by the teaching staff, e.g.: Hailman JP & Strier KB (2006). Planning, proposing and presenting science effectively: a guide for graduate students in the behavioral sciences and biology (second edition). Cambridge University Press. Walliman N (2011). Your research project: designing and planning your work (third edition). Sage Publications.