module specification

CH6P01 - Research Project (for Molecular and Pharmaceutical Science) (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Research Project (for Molecular and Pharmaceutical Science)
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 300
242 hours Guided independent study
58 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 10%   Literature review and project proposal (1500 words)
Coursework 20%   Logbook (No fixed word limit)
Dissertation 50%   Final report (4000 words)
Oral Examination 20%   Oral defence (30 minutes max)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North To be arranged To be arranged

Module summary

This module will enable students to demonstrate the skills necessary to carry out a scientific programme requiring significant research.  It will allow students to demonstrate the final development of their subject knowledge, skills and understanding through extended research based on laboratory, literature or field work, or meta-analysis of databases. This research will lead to the presentation of a detailed written report.

Prior learning requirements

90 Level 5 credits passed

Module aims

This module aims to encourage the student to reflect and build upon their subject knowledge and expertise by means of a specific investigation requiring significant research; develop the skills necessary to plan, carry out, analyse and report upon the results of an experimental or analytical programme on a scientific topic; allow the student to demonstrate that s/he has achieved a high level of personal development through working  independently with the minimum necessary supervision; allow the student to demonstrate their understanding and application of safe and considerate working practices, particularly within the laboratory.


Students will reflect upon their scientific background and intended academic outcome in choosing the subject for their project. Students carry out an experimental project, preceded by an appropriate directed literature survey, within an area of staff expertise in the School of Human Sciences. Although students are expected to work independently throughout most of the project, the initial stage will be under direct supervision as they attain sufficient skills and knowledge to succeed in the later stages.
Practical work:  Application of scientific knowledge and experimental skills to the design and execution of a subject-based practical project.
Literature or database analysis: Application of scientific knowledge and research skills to the design and execution of a subject-based dissertation or meta-analysis. Analysis, appraisal and presentation of the results. Work will be communicated both as a log book, fully documented scientific reports and in an oral examination.
The research programme will be carried out in consultation with a supervisor who will normally be an academic staff member of the School of Human Sciences.

This 30 credit module will provide students with the opportunity to develop employability skills and key competencies whilst working on an independent laboratory or literature based research project. Students will spend at least 70 hours working in the laboratory. Activities are based on recommendations from the RSC and employers making them relevant to current industry standards (including: safety and good lab practice, standard techniques, current technologies, data handling and data mining). Work related learning skills will be demonstrated and assessed in two ways: completion of an employer ratified competency portfolio together with a formal dissertation based on an independent lab-based or literature based research project which has to be a meta- analysis (i.e. real analysis of published data) and oral defence/poster presentation of their project.

A WRL Project Board, comprising of the accrediting body, employers, academic and technical staff will evaluate and ratify the project scopes and the students’ technical skills competency portfolio to ensure these are relevant to current industry requirements and standards. Project board members will be invited to the students’ oral defence/poster presentations and prize giving.

Learning and teaching

Students will be guided in the use of directed reading and other learning resources in order to seek, handle and interpret information. In the written report, they will be required to produce a synthesis of their own and published findings.
Students will be guided through a period where they select and gain the necessary skills and knowledge to undertake their research topic. Then, students will work as individuals on the design and execution of their projects.  They will be encouraged to think critically about their findings and, where appropriate, to provide solutions through the design of related experiments or alternative approaches to research.
Students will be given the opportunity to develop their presentational and professional skills.


Self- managed activities some of which may be in the laboratory (with safety supervision) 242 h (78%)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. Analyse appropriate background information on a particular scientific topic and use this to plan a programme of work directed to a specific aim.
  2. Establish a plan of work, then evaluate and modify it as necessary in response to analysis of results.
  3. Reflect upon the outcomes of the work and, using scientific creativity, propose additional research desirable to further clarify the area.
  4. Present a written report of the project in an appropriate scientific form that analyses and evaluates the research output.
  5. Defend the work undertaken and its written presentation.
  6. Work safely with due regard to the Department's Codes of Practice (practical work only)
  7. Summarise their skills development through recording these in the topic and literature review, updating their personal statement, keeping a logbook that records the developmental aspects and results of their project and presenting themselves professionally during the oral defence.

Assessment strategy

 Learning Manager Meetings: in order to pass this module, students must attend at least two meetings with their Learning Manager (one in Autumn and one in Spring) in order to reflect upon, discuss and plan their approach to learning and organisation of their study.

The students are assessed by their supervisor on a continual basis by means of the literature review and project proposal(10% of overall mark) and logbook(20% of overall mark), taking into account the student’s ability as an experimentalist/researcher, the ability to plan and reflect upon his/her work, and the general level of industry and initiative. This course work component will be used to provide formative feedback and summative assessment. The final report (50% of overall mark) is assessed independently by at least two members of staff, excluding the project supervisor. In awarding a mark the examiner takes into account the achievement of the student in terms of the results obtained, the clarity of presentation and layout, and the standard of the discussion including the students’ consideration of the wider context of the investigation. If the two marks differ significantly, the final report is reassessed by a third examiner. An oral defence (20% of overall mark) assesses the students’ ability to give a verbal account of his/her work, to think and reflect critically on the work, and to communicate effectively.

The PDP element of the project will be assessed within the logbook in terms of the day-to-day entries (where the development of specific technical skills is recorded) and through the graduation statement. The viva will also allow the student to demonstrate appropriate professional standards.
To pass the module, students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 40%.  There will be an attendance requirement for the practical sessions. If the module is passed on reassessment, then the maximum mark awarded will be 40%.

Assessment Learning Outcome
Literature review and project proposal 1,2,3,4,6,7
Logbook 1,2,3,7
Final report 1,2,3,4
Oral defence 5,7



Barnard, C., Gilbert, F., and McGregor, P.  (2010). Asking Questions in Biology: Design, Analysis and Presentation in Practical Work. 4th Revised edition. Longman Group Limited.
Barras, R (2002). Scientists Must Write. A Guide to Better Writing for Scientists, Engineers and Students (Second Edition). Routledge Ltd.
Davis, M.  (2005). Scientific Papers and Presentations. 2nd edition. Academic Press.
Holmes, D; Moody, P and Dine, D (2006). Research Methods for the Biosciences. Oxford University Press.
Maber, J (1999). Data Analysis for Biomolecular Sciences. Longman.
Moore, D.S. and McCabe, G.P (2003) Introduction to the Practice of Statistics (4th Edition). Freeman.
Reed, R; Holmes, D; Weyers, J and Jones, A (2007). Practical Skills in Biomolecular Sciences (3rd Edition). Pearson Prentice Hall
Van Emden (2001) Effective Communication for Science and Technology. Palgrave.
In addition to the preceding texts, primary sources (eg research papers, review articles and Internet pages) appropriate to the research topic will be studied; students should use Pubmed, Science Direct and other relevant databases to research the original articles necessary to inform their research.