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Unit information: Research Skills in 2015/16

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Unit name Research Skills
Unit code PANM33011
Credit points 40
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Jim Spencer
Open unit status Not open

PANM22041 Infection and Immunity, PANM22042 Cellular & Molecular Pathology, MOLG22100 Recombinant DNA Technology, MOLG22200 Gene Expression and Rearrangement.


4 from level 6/H lecture units.

School/department School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

Students will carry out a 16 week laboratory or literature/computer-based research project in an area of current interest in cellular and molecular medicine. The Introduction to the project dissertations will require a review of the relevant primary scientific literature. Students will be able to evaluate and discuss the key research papers underlying their project. Students doing laboratory projects will learn experimental skills in an active research laboratory and will learn to disseminate their results in a written dissertation and in an oral presentation and a viva. All students will learn to assess the scientific literature and will evaluate whether appropriate conclusions have been drawn. The data handling exam will assess the students' ability to read and interpret data, figures and tables presented in the scientific literature.

The unit aims to allow students to develop the skills necessary to carry out a research project in the field of cellular and molecular medicine. They will read, analyse and interpret scientific data presented in the literature.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and understanding of a specific area of modern cellular and molecular medicine, including understanding of the scientific literature pertaining to the project and an ability to evaluate this literature critically.

Knowledge and understanding of design, execution and analysis of research projects.

The ability to reason; analyse and interpret data; identify and solve problems; exercise independence of mind; form and defend scientific judgements.

Transferable skills including the ability to communicate in writing and orally; be self-reliant and organise time effectively; take appropriate decisions when needed; an appropriate level of numeracy and IT skill; plan, execute and interpret the results of experimental work; and manage a research project.

Teaching Information

Laboratory project or literature- or computer-based project work.

Specific instruction on data interpretation and data handling will be given within the co-requisite lecture units.

Assessment Information

10 minute project presentation, with 5 minutes for questions will be summatively assessed.

Laboratory project dissertation: <10,000 words, to include a 3,000 word introduction.


Literature- or computer based project dissertation: <20,000 words, to include a 3,000 word introduction.

Formative feedback will be provided on drafts of the Introduction and Results or Analysis Sections.

The Level 6/H Research Project is always assessed by the Supervisor and another Assessor. The Supervisor gives marks for Initiative & Industry (5%) and Technical Ability (5%). At least two examiners give marks for the project talk (5%). Two examiners give agreed marks for the Abstract (5%), Introduction (30%), Materials & Methods (5%), Results (15%) and Discussion (10%), and Presentation (10%); they also conduct a short viva voce on the project for which a mark is given (10%).


In the case of “dry” projects, the marks are given for the Talk (5%), Initiative & Industry (5%), Originality / Independence of Approach (5%), Abstract (5%), Introduction (15%), Scope (10%), Detail (15%), Conclusions / Analysis (15%), Presentation (15%) and Viva (10%).

Summative 3 hour written data handling exam, to include 2 questions chosen from 10 (one relevant to each of the lecture units studied).

Overall weighting: Project 75% : Data handling exam 25%

Reading and References

Reviews and primary articles from the current scientific literature relevant to the project.