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Unit information: Research and Communication Skills in 2021/22

Unit name Research and Communication Skills
Unit code BIOC30001
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Cory
Open unit status Not open

Molecular Cell Biology BIOC20001, Macromolecular Structure, Dynamics and Function BIOC20002, Recombinant DNA Technology MOLG22100 and Gene Expression and Rearrangement MOLG22200


Advanced Cell Biology BIOC30601 The Dynamic Proteome BIOC30604 Cellular Information BIOC30602 Advanced Options in Biochemistry BIOC30600

School/department School of Biochemistry
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit aims to develop the research and communication skills of students. Choosing from a range of topics, students will undertake an independent review of the primary scientific literature and will present their work as a written report. This library-based research project will be guided by a member of academic staff. In addition, students will be tested on their ability to understand and critique research papers and analyse and evaluate scientific data.

Students will:

  • Develop independent working skills
  • Be able to critically analyse and synthesize information presented in research publications
  • Gain important data analysis and evaluation skills

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Research a topic using the primary scientific literature
  • Review and critique the scientific data and literature and appraise competing theories
  • Achieve an in-depth knowledge and understanding of their research topic and an ability to keep abreast with recent developments in the field.
  • Work independently on their research project and manage their time
  • Analyse and interpret biochemical data
  • Solve unseen problems
  • Write a scientific report for an expert audience

Teaching Information

Supervisor/student meetings

Data analysis workshops


Assessment Information

For learning (formative)

Project supervisors will give feedback on a draft of the literature review

Students will undertake “mock” Data Handling and Literature Comprehension exercises

Of learning (summative)

Literature Review (40%) Maximum word count is 3,000 for the literature review. The project is marked independently by the project supervisor and a second marker. The mark awarded by the supervisor and the second marker each contributes 50% towards the overall project mark. An explicit marking scheme is used to mark the literature review.

Data Handling exam (35%) Timed assessment. Students will analyse and interpret novel biochemical data sets.(Intercalating students will have a separate Data Interpretation timed assessment as they will not have completed all of the unit prerequisites.)

Literature Comprehension exam (25%) Timed assessment. Students will be expected to read and critically evaluate a short, unseen research paper


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. BIOC30001).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.