Biology Online Module Handbook

BL2300 Research Methods in Biology

(BL2300 online module handbook version 23)

cover image

image: © Leica Microsystems

This module will help students develop essential academic and transferable skills, with major emphasis on problem solving. This will be achieved through a combination of interactive lectures, independent data-handling workshops and group work on a mini research project. The module will start with an introduction to the scientific method, experimental design, understanding and presenting data. Students will then learn various statistical tests using a code-based statistical software and build their confidence in independent data-handling workshops. Regular mathematics for biologists classes will allow students to practise manipulating equations, performing laboratory calculations etc. A mini project on which the students work in small groups will help them apply the principles learned. The module will also cover scientific essay writing, record keeping and good laboratory practice.*

Credits: 15*

Semester: 1

Module Organiser
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff
vdb@st-andrews.ac.uk
01334 464812
Pre-requisite Modules:
BEFORE TAKING THIS MODULE YOU SHOULD PASS BL1101 AND PASS BL1102. BEFORE TAKING THIS MODULE YOU MUST PASS BL1101 AND PASS BL1102*
Anti-requisite Modules:
None*
Post-requisite Modules:
BL3000, BL3320*
Additional Module Information:
Please check MMS regularly for additional module information


Biology Teaching Office:
Room 1.17, Biomolecular Sciences Building, University of St Andrews, North Haugh, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9ST

Email: bioteach@st-andrews.ac.uk      Tel: 01334  463602

BL2300: Timetable

Legend (not all modules have every event type):
lecture
tutorial
workshop
practical
other

Semester 1: Week -1

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Friday
15-09-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Mathematical Institute
Lecture Theatre C
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff
Ms Vicki Cormie
Lecture L1: Introduction to Module and the Referencing Software Mendeley
2017-8_BL2300_L1
Please bring a laptop with Mendeley installed on it

Semester 1: Week 1

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Tuesday
19-09-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Prof Graeme Ruxton

Lecture L2: Experimental Design 1: Fundamentals of Design
2017-8_BL2300_L2

Semester 1: Week 2

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Wednesday
27-09-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Prof Graeme Ruxton

Lecture L3: Experimental Design 2: Replication and Different Designs
2017-8_BL2300_L3
Friday
29-09-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Prof Graeme Ruxton

Lecture L4: Experimental Design 3: Taking Measurements
2017-8_BL2300_L4

Semester 1: Week 3

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Tuesday
03-10-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Prof Will Cresswell

Lecture L5: Analysing Data 1: Variable Types and Graph Drawing
2017-8_BL2300_L5
Wednesday
04-10-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Irvine Building
PC Classroom
Prof Will Cresswell

Practical P1: Data Handling 1: Graph Drawing
2017-8_BL2300_P1
Thursday
05-10-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff

Lecture L6: Lab Safety and Record Keeping
2017-8_BL2300_L6
Please bring a ruler or tape measure
Thursday
05-10-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Irvine Building
Forbes Lab
Prof Will Cresswell

Practical P2: Data Handling 1: Graph Drawing
2017-8_BL2300_P2
If possible, please bring a (PC) laptop with R installed on it (available from the appstore)
Friday
06-10-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Irvine Building
PC Classroom
Prof Will Cresswell

Practical P3: Data Handling 1: Graph Drawing
2017-8_BL2300_P3

Semester 1: Week 4

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Wednesday
11-10-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff

Lecture L7: Analysing Data 2: Describing a Single Sample, Null Hypothesis Significance Testing
2017-8_BL2300_L7
Wednesday
11-10-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Mathematical Institute
PC Classroom
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff
Dr Rafael Guimaraes da Silva
Practical P4: Mini Project: Experimental Proposal Groupwork
2017-8_BL2300_P4
Thursday
12-10-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Bute Building
PC Classroom
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff
Dr Rafael Guimaraes da Silva
Practical P5: Mini Project: Experimental Proposal Groupwork
2017-8_BL2300_P5
Friday
13-10-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff

Lecture L8: Analysing Data 3: Frequencies
2017-8_BL2300_L8
Please bring a calculator.
Friday
13-10-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Butts Wynd
PC Classroom
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff
Dr Rafael Guimaraes da Silva
Practical P6: Mini Project: Experimental Proposal Groupwork
2017-8_BL2300_P6

Semester 1: Week 5

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Tuesday
17-10-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Dr Rafael Guimaraes da Silva

Lecture L9: Maths for Biologists 1: Laboratory calculations I
2017-8_BL2300_L9
Thursday
19-10-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Dr Rafael Guimaraes da Silva

Lecture L10: Maths for Biologists 2: Laboratory calculations II
2017-8_BL2300_L10

Semester 1: Week 7

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Tuesday
31-10-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff

Other O1: Feedback/Q&A Session Essay and Experimental Proposal
2017-8_BL2300_O1
Wednesday
01-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Purdie Building
Teaching Lab
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff
Dr Rafael Guimaraes da Silva
Prof Chris Todd
Practical P7: Mini Project: Experimental Session
2017-8_BL2300_P7
Thursday
02-11-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Prof Will Cresswell

Lecture L11: Analysing Data 4: General Linear Modelling - The Theory of Testing Relationships and Differences
2017-8_BL2300_L11
Thursday
02-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Purdie Building
Teaching Lab
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff
Dr Rafael Guimaraes da Silva
Prof Chris Todd
Practical P8: Mini Project: Experimental Session
2017-8_BL2300_P8
Friday
03-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Purdie Building
Teaching Lab
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff
Dr Rafael Guimaraes da Silva
Prof Chris Todd
Practical P9: Mini Project: Experimental Session
2017-8_BL2300_P9

Semester 1: Week 8

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Wednesday
08-11-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Prof Will Cresswell

Lecture L12: Analsying Data 5: A Practical Guide to Simple GLMs in R - Analysis of Variance and Regression Analysis
2017-8_BL2300_L12
Wednesday
08-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Bute Building
PC Classroom
Prof Will Cresswell

Practical P10: Data Handling 2: Testing for Relationships and Differences
2017-8_BL2300_P10
Thursday
09-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Bute Building
PC Classroom
Prof Will Cresswell

Practical P11: Data Handling 2: Testing for Relationships and Differences
2017-8_BL2300_P11
Friday
10-11-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Prof Graeme Ruxton

Lecture L13: Maths for Biologists 3
2017-8_BL2300_L13
Friday
10-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Bute Building
PC Classroom
Prof Will Cresswell

Practical P12: Data Handling 2: Testing for Relationships and Differences
2017-8_BL2300_P12

Semester 1: Week 9

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Tuesday
14-11-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Prof Graeme Ruxton
Dr Rafael Guimaraes da Silva
Lecture L14: Maths for Biologists 4: Revision
2017-8_BL2300_L14
Wednesday
15-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Bute Building
PC Classroom
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff

Practical P13: Data Handling 3: Drop-in Practice Session
2017-8_BL2300_P13
Thursday
16-11-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Dr Rafael Guimaraes da Silva

Other O2: Maths MCQ Test
2017-8_BL2300_O2
Thursday
16-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Bute Building
PC Classroom
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff

Practical P14: Data Handling 3: Drop-in Practice Session
2017-8_BL2300_P14
Friday
17-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Bute Building
PC Classroom
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff

Practical P15: Data Handling 3: Drop-in Practice Session
2017-8_BL2300_P15

Semester 1: Week 10

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Wednesday
22-11-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff

Lecture L15: Analysing Data 6: Making Life Easy for Yourself
2017-8_BL2300_L15
Wednesday
22-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Bute Building
PC Classroom
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff

Practical P16: Data Handling 4: Independent Exercise
2017-8_BL2300_P16
Thursday
23-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Bute Building
PC Classroom
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff

Practical P17: Data Handling 4: Independent Exercise
2017-8_BL2300_P17
Friday
24-11-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
pea1
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff
Other O3: Careers Talk
2017-8_BL2300_O3
Friday
24-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Bute Building
PC Classroom
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff

Practical P18: Data Handling 4: Independent Exercise
2017-8_BL2300_P18

Semester 1: Week 11

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Tuesday
28-11-2017
12:00 to 13:00
Purdie Building
Lecture Theatre B
Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff

Other O4: Module Feedback/Q&A Session
2017-8_BL2300_O4
Please bring a laptop or tablet for completing the MEQ
Data Sources: information in this online module handbook is gathered from several sources.
Small footnote marks beside content, or by section titles indicate the source.
* University of St Andrews Module Catalogue
School of Biology Symbiosis Database (module organisers only)
University of St Andrews MMS (St Andrews users only)

BL2300: Reading List

Click for BL2300 reading list

BL2300: Assessment

Coursework = 100%*

Assessment:
Essay
Due by:
02/10/2017 17:30
Feedback due by:
23/10/2017 17:30
Type:
Single Upload
Weight:
30%
Assessment:
Experimental Proposal
Due by:
18/10/2017 17:30
Feedback due by:
08/11/2017 17:30
Type:
Single Upload
Weight:
0%
Assessment:
Maths MCQ Test
Due by:
16/11/2017 13:00
Feedback due by:
07/12/2017 13:00
Type:
Paper Hand-in
Weight:
25%
Assessment:
Mini Project Report
Due by:
20/11/2017 17:30
Feedback due by:
11/12/2017 17:30
Type:
Single Upload
Weight:
20%
Assessment:
Data Handling Exercise
Due by:
27/11/2017 17:30
Feedback due by:
18/12/2017 17:30
Type:
Single Upload
Weight:
25%

(MMS assessment data cached: 17 November 2017 23:20:14.)


The following related information applies to all Biology modules:

School of Biology Marking Criteria: See School of Biology Undergraduate Handbook
Late submission of continuous assessment work:

All late submissions of coursework that do not require electronic submission should be made via the late submissions box in the Biomolecular Science Building (beside the Teaching Office)
Exam details: See School of Biology Undergraduate Handbook
Exam timetable: see http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/students/academic/examinations/examtimetablescurrent/
Expected attendance: See School of Biology Undergraduate Handbook for detailed attendance requirements.
Good Academic Practice & Avoiding Academic Misconduct: See School of Biology Undergraduate Handbook
University Student Handbook: University Student Handbook
School and University regulations in the School and University Undergraduate Handbook relating to absence reporting, penalties and rules for late submission of work, extensions for coursework, return of coursework, S-coding, good academic practice and Academic Alerts.: School of Biology Undergraduate Handbook University Student Handbook
Data Sources: information in this online module handbook is gathered from several sources.
Small footnote marks beside content, or by section titles indicate the source.
* University of St Andrews Module Catalogue
School of Biology Symbiosis Database (module organisers only)
University of St Andrews MMS (St Andrews users only)

Who to ask

(Information in this section applies to all Biology Modules)

Questions about different aspects of the module should be directed to different people:

Questions about Contact
General teaching matters Biology Teaching Office ( bioteach@st-andrews.ac.uk )
Rescheduled or cancelled events Check your University email
Lecture or practical content The lecturer who presented the material
Completing assessed practical assignments The lecturer who set the assignment
Completing assessments Module Organiser (Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff vdb@st-andrews.ac.uk)
Marking on continuous assessment The Demonstrator or Module Organiser (Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff vdb@st-andrews.ac.uk)
Marking on exams Module Organiser (Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff vdb@st-andrews.ac.uk)
Rearranging practical days Grant Brown
Absence and/or extensions Module Organiser (Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff vdb@st-andrews.ac.uk) and the Biology Teaching Office ( bioteach@st-andrews.ac.uk )

Difficulties with academic progress which impact more than one module:

Year Coordinator

See School of Biology Undergraduate student handbook for list: http://biology.st-andrews.ac.uk/documents/UndergraduateHandbook.pdf

Overall performance, progress or future directions:

Advisor of Studies

Disability:

Disability Coordinator (Dr Jacqueline Nairn jn37@st-andrews.ac.uk)

Biology Teaching Office:

Room 1.17, Biomolecular Sciences Building, University of St Andrews, North Haugh, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9ST

Email: bioteach@st-andrews.ac.uk

Tel: 01334 463602

BL2300: Contributing Staff

Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff

Dr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff
(Module Organiser)

Teaching Fellowvdb@st-andrews.ac.uk
Ms Vicki CormieAcademic Librarianvhc1@st-andrews.ac.uk
Prof Will CresswellProf Will CresswellProfessor of Biologywrlc@st-andrews.ac.uk
Dr Verena Dietrich-BischoffDr Verena Dietrich-Bischoff
(Module Organiser)
Teaching Fellowvdb@st-andrews.ac.uk
Dr Rafael Guimaraes da SilvaDr Rafael Guimaraes da SilvaResearch Fellowrgds@st-andrews.ac.uk
Prof Graeme RuxtonProf Graeme RuxtonProfessorgr41@st-andrews.ac.uk
Prof Chris ToddProf Chris ToddProfessor of Marine Ecologycdt@st-andrews.ac.uk
Data Sources: information in this online module handbook is gathered from several sources.
Small footnote marks beside content, or by section titles indicate the source.
* University of St Andrews Module Catalogue
School of Biology Symbiosis Database (module organisers only)
University of St Andrews MMS (St Andrews users only)

BL2300: Learning Outcomes

Students completing module BL2300 successfully should be able to:

  • Use Mendeley to cite and reference sources
  • Describe the scientific method
  • Appreciate the differences between observational studies and experiments
  • Describe advantages and limitations of experiments
  • Design and carry out a simple experiment
  • Keep a record of an investigation
  • Be aware of Good Laboratory Practice
  • Write up experimental results in the form of a scientific report
  • Write a scientific essay
  • Manipulate equations
  • Perform laboratory calculations
  • Appreciate the use of simple mathematics in Biology
  • Handle biological datasets
  • Identify different data and variable types
  • Plot bar charts and scatter plots with error bars using R
  • Conduct simple non-parametric tests in R
  • Carry out simple General Linear Modelling using R
Data Sources: information in this online module handbook is gathered from several sources.
Small footnote marks beside content, or by section titles indicate the source.
* University of St Andrews Module Catalogue
School of Biology Symbiosis Database (module organisers only)
University of St Andrews MMS (St Andrews users only)

BL2300: Acquired Skills

The practical skills acquired will vary depending on the chosen mini project.

Practical Skills

  • Biomolecule isolation/characterisation
  • Buffers
  • Compound Microscopy
  • Handling invertebrate cells
  • Kinetic data analysis
  • Pipetting

Transferable Skills

  • Project report
  • Research proposal
  • Short essay (1000-2000 words)
  • Critically evaluating sources/information
  • Finding information on the web
  • Finding literature
  • Referencing
  • Searching databases
  • Sourcing figures/tables
  • Computer programming
  • Ethical considerations
  • Lab safety awareness
  • Problem-solving questions
  • Calculations/equations
  • Chi-square test
  • Concentrations
  • Data analysis
  • Data analysis (depending on project)
  • Data presentation
  • Decimal places
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Dilutions
  • Distinguish different types of data
  • Draw a line of best fit
  • Exponents
  • Generalised Linear Models
  • Linear regression
  • Logarithms
  • Powers of ten
  • Produce graphs/figures
  • Produce tables
  • SI units
  • Significant figures
  • Use Excel
  • Use R or R Studio
  • Volumes
  • Lab or field notebook
  • Designing experiments
  • Organising group work
  • Working in pairs/small groups
Data Sources: information in this online module handbook is gathered from several sources.
Small footnote marks beside content, or by section titles indicate the source.
* University of St Andrews Module Catalogue
School of Biology Symbiosis Database (module organisers only)
University of St Andrews MMS (St Andrews users only)

Policies

(Information in this section applies to all Biology Modules)