Run by School of Natural Sciences
20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits
Semester 1 & 2
Organiser: Dr Daniel Thornham
Overall aims and purpose
In this module, students will enhance subject-specific skills in the Biological Sciences, in addition to graduate and key skills, via small group tutorials and self-directed learning using computer-based resources. The module will build upon bioscience skills developed in the first year, and link to subject specific aspects of the second year, providing students with the necessary skills for the completion of their third year research project or dissertation. Specifically, students will develop skills in critical thinking, creative thinking and scientific approaches by completing a range of activities that may include; problem-based learning, including numerical problems, the public understanding of science, critiques of media/scientific publications, essays and presentations, and project planning.
Specific module aims: To develop critical analytical skills and increase awareness of the scientific method. To develop numeracy and literacy skills, time management, teamwork and other graduate employability skills. To develop skills in creative thinking, the scientific approach, hypothesis testing, planning research, data collection and analysis. To prepare each student for their final year research project or dissertation.
The module will be delivered in four key components:
- Analysis & Interpretation (critical thinking). Students will undertake a range of analytical exercises, including computer-based learning, where they will critically review scientific articles from a variety of sources, to develop an ability to determine the validity and rigour of results. Students will develop & implement their analytical skills to consider; errors in scientific literature; scientific methodology; experimental design; use and abuse of statistical results; erroneous and misleading presentation of results; the quality of different sources of information. They will analyse, synthesise and summarise information critically from a variety of sources. Topics will include entomology and ecology and may include climate change, alternative medicine, health and disease, food security. Students may also take part in group discussions and informal debates.
- Scientific writing (literacy skills) Students will attend introductory lectures on scientific writing. A list of degree programme and subject-specific essay titles will be made available on Blackboard. Students will choose one essay title to complete. Computer assisted learning (CAL) - a comprehensive suite of supporting materials will be made available for students on the Blackboard site (e.g. tips on how to write essays, grammar and comprehension, referencing and example essays).
- Problem-based learning (creative thinking) Delivered as workshops in small groups (of ca. 8) with a member of academic staff or trained postgraduate, followed by a mini conference in which groups will convene to present a 10 minute project plan (with questions). Students will be provided with a real-life scenario (degree programme and subject-specific) during the first workshop. Students will be asked to: consider interesting research questions; frame hypotheses; design appropriate tests for hypotheses; consider data collection and analysis; consider possible interpretations and future research avenues; undertake preliminary research. These will be discussed in the workshops.
- Planning for 3rd year project (practical/planning skills) Interaction between student and academic project supervisor in up to 3 x tutorial sessions. Tutorial sessions will identify the specific aim and objectives of the project and develop a project plan.
An excellent student (Grades A* - A-) should; demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate scientific material from a variety of sources, and to synthesise and summarise this information both orally and in writing in a clear, concise and logical manner that includes a comprehensive and critical evaluation of the scientific approach; demonstrate well-established problem-solving skills, identify key questions and testable hypotheses relating to a real-life scientific scenario, demonstrating the ability to suggest and complete appropriate approaches to experimental design/testing, data analysis and interpretation. This will include the use of appropriate statistical/analytical methods to draw tangible conclusions from hypotheses; demonstrate an ability to operate efficiently as part of a group, and as an individual; demonstrate well-founded strategies for the enhancement their knowledge and understanding of the BioSciences.
A threshold student (Grades D+ - D-) should; demonstrate a basic ability to critically evaluate scientific material from a variety of sources, and to synthesise and summarise this information in a clear, concise and logical manner; demonstrate basic problem-solving skills, an ability to assess the key questions relating to a real-life scientific scenario, framing testable hypotheses and identifying and taking appropriate approaches to experimental design/testing, data analysis and interpretation; be able to work effectively both as part of a group, and as an individual; develop the necessary skills to enable them to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the BioSciences.
A good student (Grades B+ - C-) should; demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate scientific material from a variety of sources, and to synthesise and summarise this information both orally and in writing in a clear, concise and logical manner that includes a critical evaluation of the scientific approach; demonstrate comprehensive problem-solving skills, an ability to identify key questions relating to a real-life scientific scenario, framing testable hypotheses and identifying appropriate approaches to experimental design/testing, data analysis and interpretation. This will include the ability to suggest tangible approaches and outcomes of the work; be able to work effectively both as part of a group, and as an individual; demonstrate well-developed strategies for the enhancement their knowledge and understanding of the BioSciences.
Work effectively both as a member of a group and individually to successfully complete the exercises and assessed tasks. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge, 3.3 generic skills, 3.4 graduate and key skills, 3.5 intellectual skills, 3.6 practical skills, 3.7 information technology skills, 3.8 interpersonal and teamwork skills & 3.9 self-management and professional development skills)
Develop oral presentation skills as part of group-based exercises. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.4 graduate and key skills, 3.7 information technology skills & 3.8 interpersonal and teamwork skills)
Analyse and critically evaluate scientific data and literature from a variety of sources. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge, 3.3 generic skills, 3.5 intellectual skills, 3.6 practical skills & 3.7 information technology skills)
Evaluate and present written scientific information in a variety of forms, that may include graphs, an abstract, essay, review, and a project proposal, in a clear, concise and logical manner. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge & 3.5 intellectual skills)
Approach a given research problem creatively, identifying testable hypotheses and applying the scientific approach to design appropriate experimental tests and consider data collection, interpretation and analysis. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge, 3.3 generic skills, 3.4 graduate and key skills, 3.5 intellectual skills, 3.6 practical skills, 3.7 information technology skills, 3.8 interpersonal and teamwork skills & 3.9 self-management and professional development skills)
|ESSAY||(Sem1) Essay and Abstract||
A focussed essay on a topical subject in your area of study. Several broad titles will be offered for you to choose from. Within your broad title, you will choose and justify your focus, lay out your arguments and draw conclusions. The essay will be supplemented by an abstract that sets out the problem your essay addresses, explains your approach, describes your principal findings and explains the impact of these findings for the wider argument.
|GROUP PRESENTATION||(Sem 2) Group Presentation||
In preparation for your dissertation, you will working with a team to develop an imaginative, realistic and well-considered proposal for a programme of scientific investigation. You will present your proposal through a short group presentation at a mini-conference. Up to 50% of the mark for this will be adjusted by your group (i.e. if your presentation scores 60%, your mark could be between 30-90% depending on your contribution to the project plan).
|WRITTEN PLAN||(Sem 2) Dissertation Plan||
Having collaborated with your colleagues in creating & writing a project plan for Assessment C3, you must now write a plan for your dissertation project alone, under the guidance of your dissertation supervisor. There is a Dissertation Planning Handbook to guide you through the preparation your dissertation plan.
|CLASS TEST||(Sem 1) Class Test (Statistics Case Study)||
You will be presented with a case study regarding a scientific experiment and the results that have been gathered. You will be asked to identify the most appropriate course of action to analyse the data and to carry out the analysis. This will include critiquing a report, drawing a graph, carrying out a statistical test and reporting/interpreting the results.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Lectures will be used to introduce the four components of the module and to provide information and guidance about library skills, statistics, risk assessments and experimental design.
2-hour workshops will be used in both semesters to facilitate statistics, essay writing and experimental design teaching.
Students are expected to carry out independent study in support of the taught parts of the course. A 20-credit module should constitute 200 hours of work in total. In BSX-2021, independent study and independent study as a group will be needed to successfully tackle all four Components.
Successful development of a research plan for student dissertations is facilitated by three, 1-hour tutorials with the dissertation supervisor.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- 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
- 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
Subject specific skills
- Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
- Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
- Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
- Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
- Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
- Engagement with current developments in the biosciences and their application.
- Engage in debate and/or discussion with specialists and non-specialists using appropriate language.
Resource implications for students
This module uses a broard range of delivery methods including face-to-face and on-line teaching. It will require you to spend a long time at your home computer. Please make sure you have completed a [workstation assessment] for your home workstation and that your computer happily runs MS Office (Word, Teams, Powerpoint, Excel), R studio, and that you have good internet connectivity. We recommend that you install the Analysis Toolpak add-in in MS Excel. : https://www.bangor.ac.uk/hss/dse-form/index.php.en
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/bsx-2021.html
Reading lists are provided through Talis.
You will also find it beneficial to refresh your understanding of probability, descriptive & inferential statistics, and MS Excel formula operations such as average, stdev, range, if, count, the use of filters and graph drawing.
Some of the materials in the Talis reading list will help you referesh your understanding of these things, but you will also be expected to be familiar with your 1st year notes from Biology Practicals (BSX-1030 & BSX-1031) or equivalent.
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- C100: BSC Biology year 2 (BSC/B)
- C10F: BSc Biology year 2 (BSC/BF)
- C511: BSc Biology with Biotechnology year 2 (BSC/BIOT)
- C102: BSc Biology (with International Experience) year 3 (BSC/BITE)
- C300: BSC Zoology year 2 (BSC/Z)
- C305: BSc Zoology with Animal Behaviour (with International Exp) year 3 (BSC/ZABIE)
- C3L2: BSC Zoology with Conservation year 2 (BSC/ZC)
- C319: BSc Zoology with Climate Change Studies year 2 (BSC/ZCC)
- C3L3: BSc Zoology with Conservation with International Experience year 3 (BSC/ZCIE)
- C3L4: BSc Zoology with Conservation with Placement Year year 2 (BSC/ZCP)
- C30F: BSc Zoology year 2 (BSC/ZF)
- C304: BSC Zoology with Herpetology year 2 (BSC/ZH)
- C324: BSc Zoology with International Experience year 3 (BSC/ZIE)
- C3C1: BSc Zoology with Marine Zoology (with International Exp) year 3 (BSC/ZMB)
- C350: BSC Zoology with Marine Zoology year 2 (BSC/ZMZ)
- C329: BSc Zoology with Primatology year 2 (BSC/ZP)
- C32P: Zoology with Primatology with Placement Year year 2 (BSC/ZPP)
- C330: BSc Zoology with Ornithology year 2 (BSC/ZR)
- C3D3: BSC Zoology with Animal Behaviour year 2 (BSC/ZWAB)
- C101: MBiol Master of Biology year 2 (MBIOL/BIO)
- C510: MBiol Biology with Biotechnology year 2 (MBIOL/BIOT)
- C302: MZool Zoology with Animal Behaviour year 2 (MZOOL/AB)
- CD34: MZool Zoology with Conservation year 2 (MZOOL/CONS)
- C303: MZool Zoology with Herpetology year 2 (MZOOL/HERP)
- C325: MZool Zoology with Animal Behaviour with International Exp year 3 (MZOOL/ZAIE)
- C321: MZool Zoology with Climate Change year 2 (MZOOL/ZCC)
- C326: MZool Zoology with Herpetology with International Experience year 3 (MZOOL/ZHIE)
- C353: MZool Zoology with Marine Zoology year 2 (MZOOL/ZMZ)
- C306: MZool Zoology (with International Experience) year 3 (MZOOL/ZOIE)
- C301: MZool Master of Zoology year 2 (MZOOL/ZOO)
- C333: MZool Zoology with Primatology year 2 (MZOOL/ZP)
- C334: MZool Zoology with Ornithology year 2 (MZOOL/ZR)