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Unit information: Research Skills in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Research Skills
Unit code VETSM0042
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Rooney
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Veterinary School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The aim of this unit is to provide students with an advanced training in research methods that will prepare them for their forthcoming research project (VETSM0040) and any future research that they may pursue. The unit will cover how to search and review the scientific literature; generate hypotheses and meaningful research questions and work as a group and individually to design and plan rigorous scientific studies. Students will explore how to incorporate ethical and health and safety principles into study design, and learn how to prepare risk assessments. Students will discover how to write grant proposals to generate potential funding, source, analyse and interpret qualitative and quantitative data and present results in a clear and unambiguous manner. The unit will cover writing technical reports and scientific research papers, including citing references and avoiding plagiarism. On completing this unit students should be armed with a research skills platform which will allow them to carry out independent research.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completing this unit students should be able to:

  • Compose meaningful research questions and hypotheses
  • Design and plan robust research projects
  • Research, digest and critique the scientific literature
  • Source, manage and correctly analyse and interpret data
  • Deliver clear and effective oral presentations
  • Understand health and safety principles, and ethical considerations

Teaching Information

This unit will involve a mixture of seminars, workshops, group and individual tutorials and presentations. Supported self-guided resources will provide training in the use of electronic search engines, bibliographic tools and statistical techniques.

Assessment Information

The student’s performance on this unit will be assessed using:

  • a conference presentation by each student describing and critiquing the research methodology used to solve a wildlife research problem, sourced from the scientific literature (40%).
  • a written grant proposal introducing and justifying the forthcoming independent research project (60%).

Reading and References

  • Cottrell, S. (2017) Critical Thinking Skills: effective analysis, argument and reflection. e Macmillan Study Skills.
  • Davies, W.M. (2011) Study Skills for International Postgraduates. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Dytham, C. (2011) Choosing and Using Statistics: A Biologist’s Guide. (3rd ed.) Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Field, A. (2018) Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics. SAGE publishing
  • Hughes, P. & Ferrett, E. (2016) Introduction to Health and Safety at Work. (6th ed.) Butterworth-Heinemann
  • Pears, R. & Shields, G. (2019) Cite Them Right: The Essential Guide to Referencing and Plagiarism (11th Ed.). Macmillan Education / Red Globe Press
  • Wallace. M., & Wray A. (2016) Critical reading and writing for postgraduates 000. SAGE publishing
  • Wickham H & Grolemund G. (2019) R for Data Science