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Module MSE-4027:
Research Skills

Module Facts

Run by School of Medical Sciences

30 Credits or 15 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr David Pryce

Overall aims and purpose

Effective independent research requires a researcher integrates in-depth knowledge and understanding of the nature of scientific experimentation with a set of key skill sets, directly applicable to the investigation of a specific research hypothesis. The Research Skills module is designed to prepare students for an hypothesis-driven Masters level, molecular laboratory research project and to provide a platform from which they can develop the in-depth background knowledge and understanding and specialist application skills, directly applicable to a specific research project.

A range of research project areas are available for study. Each project is supervised by research active Academic Staff from the School of Medical Sciences and is aligned to their specific research areas.

Course content

The module begins with research seminars, where School of Medical Sciences researchers will present their current research areas.

Students will then progress to research and prepare a literature review, covering the background of a research project area, develop a specific research project hypothesis if necessary, attain specific skill sets focused towards performing a specific laboratory-based research project.

Skill sets developed may include specific data-mining techniques, critical aspects of Bioinformatic analysis and (under supervision of project research groups/supervisors) specific laboratory skills/techniques, which are directly applicable to a specific research project.

For student revision, lectures, tutorials and practical demonstrations are recorded using the Panopto system

Assessment Criteria


Merit (B- to B+) (range 60-69%)

Primary criteria

Good students demonstrate strong knowledge & understanding of most but not all of the subject area. Limited evidence of background study. The answer is focussed with good structure. Arguments are presented coherently, mostly free of factual/computational errors. Some limited original interpretation. Well know links between topics are described. Problems are addressed by existing methods/approaches. Good presentation with accurate communication

Secondary Criteria

B+ Good

  • Exceeds expectations for most primary criteria
  • Command of subject but with gaps in knowledge
  • Some ideas/arguments original

B Mid-level

  • Meets all primary criteria
  • Strong factual knowledge and understanding
  • Ideas/arguments are well presented by few are original

B- Meets requirements of class

  • Meets most but not all primary criteria
  • Strong factual knowledge with minor weaknesses in understanding
  • Most but not all ideas/arguments are well presented and few are original


Pass (C- to C+) (range 50-59%)

Primary criteria

A threshold student demonstrates knowledge of key areas & principles, and understands the main elements of the subject area, although gaps and weaknesses in the argument are evident. No evidence of background study and wider reading. Answer focussed on question but also with some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure & argument. Answers have several factual/computational errors. No original interpretation. No links between topics are described. Limited problem solving skills. Some weaknesses in presentation accuracy 7 delivery.

Secondary Criteria

C+ Good within the class

  • Exceeds expectations for some primary criteria
  • Strong factual knowledge with some weaknesses in understanding
  • Ideas/arguments are limited but are well presented

C Mid-level

  • Matches all primary criteria
  • Moderate factual knowledge with some weaknesses in understanding
  • Ideas/arguments are limited presented with weaknesses in logic/presentation

C- Meets requirements of class

  • Matches most but not all primary criteria
  • Moderate factual knowledge with several weaknesses in understanding
  • Ideas/arguments are limited presented with weaknesses in logic/presentation


Distinction (A- to A**) (range 70-100%)

Primary criteria

Excellent students demonstrate comprehensive knowledge & detailed understanding of the subject area. Clear evidence of extensive background study & original thinking. Highly focussed, accurate and well structured information and concepts. Arguments are logically presented and defended with evidence and examples. Original interpretation of the information with clear evidence of wider reading. New links between topics are developed and new approaches to a problem are presented. Excellent presentation skills with very accurate communication.

Secondary Criteria

A* Outstanding

  • Exceeds expectations for most primary criteria
  • Complete command of subject and other relevant areas
  • Ideas/arguments are highly original

A+ Excellent

  • Exceeds expectations for some primary criteria
  • Complete command of subject
  • Ideas/arguments are highly original

A Good

  • Meets all primary criteria
  • Command of subject but with minor gaps in knowledge areas
  • Ideas/arguments are mostly original

A- Meets requirements of Class

  • Meets most but not all primary criteria
  • Complete command of subject but with some gaps in knowledge
  • Ideas/arguments are mostly original

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate master level abilities to efficiently locate, collect and incorporate appropriate literature and/or secondary data into specifically formatted scientific documents or presentations

  2. Demonstrate appropriate use of information technology applications in information research, collection, analysis and presentation

  3. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of laboratory data generation techniques and protocols required to answer a specific research question and hypothesis

  4. Demonstrate master-level scientific writing and presentation skills, to specific scientific formats

  5. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of current peer reviewed background literature covering a specific research topic/area

  6. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of the ethical design and development of a specific research hypothesis and strategy

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Literature Review 60
Presentation 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Student presentation and supervisory tutorials.

Frequency: January - to - September

  • At the discretion of supervisors, one-to-one supervisor tutorials can be increased in frequency and duration.
  • Tutorials should include student presentations of literature review plan and sections, discussion of research project hypothesis development, development of specialist skills sets (if required) and engagement with assessment timetable and progress.

The learning delivered via attendance or participation in a series of seminars and 'lab meetings' delivered by research group leaders and researchers. Students will aim to improve their understanding of the nature and implementation of hypothesis-driven laboratory-based medical molecular research.

Private study

Self-directed study, to develop specific in-depth knowledge and understanding of project specific background published scientific literature and preparation of assessments


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in


Resource implications for students

All resources needed to complete this module are provided. Computers can be accessed in multiple locations across the university. All teaching materials will be available on Blackboard. Completed assignments will be uploaded onto Turnitin through Blackboard. A limited number of the recommended textbooks can be found within the library.

Talis Reading list

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules


Pre-requisite of: