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Module OSX-2000:
Communicating Science

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Suzanna Jackson

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of the module is to improve students' powers of reasoning, ability to read scientific papers and to communicate scientific ideas to their contemporaries. Specifically;

  1. Students to collect evidence and use it to develop and support arguments.
  2. Students to critically appraise peer reviewed scientific papers to source evidence.
  3. Students to communicate evidence and arguments in both written and orally.

The Module provides general instruction on literature searching, writing a literature review, and oral presentations through plenary lectures. More detailed instruction, guidance and discussion will take place through seminar group meetings.

Students are also introduced to aspects of employability, eg. identifciation of unique key skills gained through their courses, CV preparation etc, as well as having specifically organised careers fair.

Course content

Topics covered will be very wide ranging across Ocean Sciences. Individual staff members contribute to a central list of topic areas, providing students with a wide range of topics. Once you've chosen a title, your tutor will guide you through the researching and writing process to suit your needs.

Assessment Criteria


A basic review of the literature pertinent to the topic of research presented (a) as a rudimentary but competent written essay and (b) as an adequate oral presentation


A thorough review of the literature pertinent to the topic of research presented (a) as a detailed, tabulated and/or illustrated essay showing clear understanding of the topic and the research questions posed and (b) as a strong, confident oral presentation


An expansive review of the literature pertinent to the topic of research presented (a) as a highly creative, insightful, carefully argued, tabulated and/or illustrated essay and (b) as a riveting, entertaining, tightly argued oral presentation

Learning outcomes

  1. Critically read, assimilate and review selected published information relevant to their chosen topic.

  2. Competently present their findings in written form using tabulation, illustration and correct referencing methodology.

  3. Competently present their findings in an oral presentation.

  4. Search for, find and bring together published information directly relevant to their chosen topic.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
CLASS TEST Critical Appraisal of a Science Documentary 10
CLASS TEST Critical Appraisal of Scientific Papers 15
ESSAY Literature review 50
CLASS TEST Critical Appraisal of Scientific Papers 15
ESSAY Literature review 50
CLASS TEST Critical Appraisal of a Science Documentary 10

Teaching and Learning Strategy


5 x 1 hour lectures focus on scientific writing, critical appraisal and presentation preparation. 2 x 2 hour lectures focus on aspects of employability.


Seminars with individual staff, 4 spread across Semester. Including a final session where students will present in front of a small group.


3 x 1 hour workshops focused on writing a scientific literature review.

Work-based learning

Student career fair.

Private study

Students locates and reads papers and critically appriases the content. Student integrates the information and arguements from different papers to develop the narritive presented in their essay and presentation Student prepares the essay and presentation


Transferable skills

  • 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.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting


Resource implications for students


Reading list

No specific list. Students are required to identify and search out, through the BU Library system, relevant peer reviewed literature.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: