module specification

CY4001 - Laboratory Science (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Laboratory Science
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 300
215 hours Guided independent study
85 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Practical Portfolio (2000 words)
Coursework 20%   Data handling coursework
Coursework 30%   Personal Portfolio (1000 words)
Attendance Requirement 0%   Practical Attendance
Attendance Requirement 0%   Tutorial Attendance
Running in 2020/21

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

This module will introduce students to safe contemporary (GLP) practice in the laboratory environment, practical bioscience techniques, simple chemical techniques and the discipline of accurate laboratory record keeping. Professional issues, study skills and data analysis will be integrated in the module. In some practical sessions the techniques are related more specifically to the degree area the student is studying. 
The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s, Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.
This module aims to provide students with the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of some personal responsibility.  More specifically the module aims to give students an introduction to the laboratory environment by exposing them to simple bioscience and fundamental chemical procedures.  Further it aims to: introduce and familiarise the student with/to the laboratory environment, including its capacity to harness cutting edge technology (e.g. laboratory informatics systems, deployment of software for use in virtual experiments).  These aspects are intended to enhance both the student experience and pedagogic quality of the provision.  The module also aims to develop basic lab practice: personal safety (as expedited by COSHH and Risk Assessments), awareness of others and where appropriate to consider ethical issues that can have an impact on the execution of a given experiment.  It is intended that students will become competent in writing laboratory records and scientific reports where emphasis is placed on: contemporary scientific record keeping, style, recording data, interpreting data and drawing a conclusion from results.  Students will be introduced to basic lab procedures such as: handling of scientific apparatus, handling, purification and analysis of biological and chemical agents, including their safe handling and an introduction to microbiological and biomedical techniques. The development of study skills and the analysis of data will be a core component of the module.  This will be fostered by integrating statistical analysis within practical sessions allowing students to analyse generated data and link theory to practice.  Professional issues will also be integrated into the module. The transferable skills that will be developed will not only enable students to derive maximum benefit from their chosen courses of study, but to also allow them to consolidate and inculcate these in preparation for employment and employability.


Introduction to the laboratory; Laboratory safety and practice.  Qualitative analysis and experiment design. A wide variety of laboratory techniques from basics of biology, and chemistry to discipline specific techniques.  Effective use of information sources: research (location of paper-based and electronic sources of scientific data and information); appropriate retrieval (interpretation, abstraction and summary of information).  Attribution of source material: citation of published and unpublished (or anecdotal) material.  Scientific communication: written (including ‘chat-room’/post-webinar submissions) and oral formats: essays; dissertation; extended practical reports.  Data: word processing, use of spreadsheets and graphical presentation (scatter plots and display of summary statistics; regression analyses, t-distributions and t-tests).  Effective data handling (analysis of class results and case studies).  Plagiarism and Scientific Fraud: definition, implications and penalties.  Breadth and structure of chosen discipline and relationship to related disciplines. Identification of the development of transferable skills for employment in scientific environments. Professional issues: career opportunities; professional qualifications; production and maintenance of personal profile and curriculum vitae. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6,LO7,LO8

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module will be summatively assessed by means of practical data sheets, an on-line data handling test, and construction of a PDP (personal portfolio).  The coursework will relate to lab assignments and student’s Laboratory Notebook Records, and will be prepared/written each week.  These are appraised on a weekly basis, constituting 50 % of the overall mark.  Evaluation of pre-lab assignments ensures that students have demonstrated an ability to locate and interpret safety information and have given thought to their preparatory work as they act appropriately in the laboratory.  The close scrutiny of the notebook records and the practical data sheets will reinforce the fidelity of the production and recording of data, and assesses students’ overall capabilities in communicating, handling and analysing data, without recourse to bias.  Students’ ability to solve pre-determined problems will also be assessed.  The mathematical concepts that underpin the discipline of data handling will be integrated into all aspects of the module, and where appropriate will supplement dedicated laboratory sessions.  Feedback sessions will be used to reiterate key concepts and introduce students to new techniques, but this will also be the place to deliver important aspects of the data handling curriculum.  Dedicated sessions will be allocated to the production of the PDP (PDP will be delivered through specific tutorials and seminars embedded in the module timetable), where students’ will be encouraged to conduct a detailed analysis of their activities and apply techniques to help them enhance productivity whilst managing multiple tasks.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the students will be able to:
1.  assess their strengths, weaknesses and values, and identify broad areas for personal growth and development;
2.  demonstrate an understanding of future possible career paths and the opportunities provided through subject study and extra-curricular activities.
3.  use the learning centre and on-line sources to access basic information relating to handling chemicals and biologically active materials: physical properties, toxicity, safe manipulation, and utilise a standard format to cite the sources of such information in their own work;
4.  undertake appropriate and efficient methods of collecting data, and record scientific data from an experiment in an approved scientific style;
5.  analyse data and experimental observations and discuss any conclusions drawn from there to display knowledge of fundamental principles governing an experiment and its expected outcomes or indeed any significant deviations, this aspect also includes the evaluation of biochemical data and being able to answer quantitative questions in biochemistry;
6.  demonstrate proficiency in IT skills: word processing and spreadsheets, embedding of on-line links;
7.  undertake practical work with a focus on the principles of accuracy and precision utilising a variety of scientific equipment.
8.  work in a laboratory environment with regard to personal and peer group safety.

Assessment strategy

The module will be assessed through the combination of continually assessed coursework (Pre-Lab and Lab Reports to form a practical portfolio, 50%), data handling coursework (20%), and the construction of a personal portfolio (personal statement and CV, 30%).  The data handling curriculum will be delivered all the way through the module, elements of which will be used to statistically analyse ‘whole-class’ results and develop robust analytical methodologies.

To pass the module, students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 40% and there is an attendance requirement for the practical sessions and tutorials

Assignment                                                 Learning Outcomes
1. Practical Portfolio                                   3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
2. Data-handling coursework                     3, 4, 5, 6, 7
3. Personal Development Portfolio            1, 2, 3, 4, 5


Core Texts: Johnson, S., and Scott, J. (2014), Study and Communication Skills for the Biosciences. 2nd Edition, OUP.
Zubrick, J.W. (1997), The Organic Chem Lab Survival Manual – A Student’s Guide to Techniques, 4th Edition, Wiley
Reed, R.  Holmes, D., Weyers, J., and Jones, A. (2012) Practical Skills in Biomolecular Sciences, 4th Edition, Pearson Education, Limited
Burton, R. (2008), Biomedical Calculations. Principles and Practice. Wiley
Other Texts: Dean, J.R. et al., (2002), Practical Skills in Chemistry, Pearson Education Limited
Berg, J., Tymoczko, J., and Stryer, L., (2007), Biochemistry, 6th Edition, W.H. Freeman
Pavia, D.L., et al., (2002), Microscale and Macroscale Techniques in the Organic Laboratory, Harcourt College
Anderson, J. and Poole, M., (2001), Assignment and Thesis Writing, 4th Edition, Wiley
Peck, J. and Coyle, M., (2005), The Student´s Guide to Writing, 2nd Edition, Palgrave Macmillan
Peck, J. and Coyle, M., (2005), Write It Right, 2nd Edition, Palgrave Macmillan
Turgeon, M.L., (2007). Lynne and Ringsrud’s Clinical Laboratory Science, 5th Edition, Mosby Elsevier.

Websites: Specific links to websites will be given on Weblearn including links from
Royal Society of Chemistry Interactive Lab Primer http://www.ilp–net