Module MSE-3006:
Metrology, Medicine & Society

Module Facts

Run by School of Medical Sciences

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Dean Williams

Overall aims and purpose

This module will develop the students' understanding of the principles and practices of measurement in medicine and society. Students will be able to apply the knowledge to case studies in a variety of clinically relevant areas.

Course content

This module introduces the concepts of measurement systems, units, measurement uncertainty, measurement assurance, traceability, basic statistics and how they fit into the clinical field and in wider society. The importance of random and systematic errors in a range of clinically relevant examples will be reinforced. Topics will be covered using a variety of measurement disciplines and case studies so that the participants will be able to apply the concepts to any measurement discipline upon completion. A mixture of training styles will be used, including lecture, hands-on exercises, case studies and discussion.

Assessment Criteria


Threshold D- to D+ (40-49%) Demonstrates some understanding of the need for accurate measurement in medical sciences.

C- to C+

Satisfactory C- to C+ (50-59%) Shows some understanding of the use of metrology in practice and medical research.


Good B- to B+ (60-69%) A good understanding of the place of metrology in medicine. Understands the importance of accuracy in measurement and diagnostics. Can demonstrate its uses effectively during lectures.


Excellent A- to A* (70-100%) An excellent understanding of the place of Metrology in society and medicine and its implications for both when errors occur. Has excellent methods of demonstrating their knowledge effectively during lectures.

Learning outcomes

  1. Understand key measurement concepts at the intersection of science, technology, medicine and society.

  2. Critically evaluate the use of metrology in medical research and clinical situations.

  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose and terms used in metrology

  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the use of statistics and error in medical research, including the ability to interpret data.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight

1.5 hour multiple choice question (MCQ) exam. Will involve the interpretation of previously unseen data. Practice questions and feedback will be provided on Blackboard.

COURSEWORK Case study-based essay

Students will be provided with a clinical scenario and will evaluate the multiple points at which the metrological concepts they have been introduced to will be explanatory or influencing factors.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


7 x 2 hour lectures, including practical session.

Private study 86

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.
  • 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
  • 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


Resource implications for students


Reading list

EURAMET - Metrology in Short

Rainer Macdonald Stephan Mieke Metrology in Medicine March 2011 DOI10.1002/3527600434.eap704 In book: Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

Anesth Analg. 2015 Jan;120(1):66-75. Metrology in medicine: from measurements to decision, with specific reference to anesthesia and intensive care. Squara P1, Imhoff M, Cecconi M.