Core Module Information
Module title: Research Skills

SCQF level: 11:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: MIC11107
Module leader: Samantha Campbell Casey
School School of Applied Sciences
Subject area group: LIFE SCIENCES


Description of module content:

In this module you will relate the physico-chemical properties of RNA, DNA and protein to the common methodologies and technologies used for molecular analysis. In doing so, you will understand the parameters that can be varied in the optimisation of a methodology and will be able to predict the effect of alterations to these parameters. You will study the current developments that are taking place in molecular analysis and critically review the application of this technology to areas of interest in biomedical sciences and biotechnology. A series of practical laboratory sessions will help you gain experience in commonly-used practical techniques relating to the lecture material. DNA purification, restriction and quantification; Cloning – vectors, ligation, screening and analysis of clones; Gene expression and protein purification; Protein analysis – quantification, detection and mass spectrometry; Principles of nucleic acid hybridisation and DNA synthesis to applications in PCR, sequencing microarrays and gene silencing techniques (RNA interference); In silico analysis and manipulation of RNA, DNA and protein sequence information (bioinformatics); “-omics” – comparative and functional genomics, proteomics.

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to:
LO1: Critically explore the physico-chemical properties of RNA, DNA and proteins and relate these to common current methodologies and technologies for molecular analysis.
LO2: Analyse and interpret RNA, DNA and protein sequence data using bioinformatics.
LO3: Appraise and critically review research literature concerning molecular approaches to the analysis of specific hypotheses, research questions and concepts.
LO4: Critically evaluate laboratory techniques in order to plan, conduct, record and analyse a series of molecular analysis experiments.
LO5: Discriminate between different forms of scientific writing and develop writing skills.

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2021/2, Trimester 2, FACE-TO-FACE, Edinburgh Napier University
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: FACE-TO-FACE
Location of delivery: SIGHTHILL
Partner: Edinburgh Napier University
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Samantha Campbell Casey
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
This module will be delivered through a combination of face-to-face lectures, applied tutorial sessions and practical classes. It is expected that there will be a wide variation in prerequisite knowledge and understanding of molecular biology, therefore, at the start of the module, Moodle learning resources, including small formative assessments (multiple choice quizzes), covering key background information will be provided for you to work through at your own pace. Following this, the key topics will be introduced via face-to-face lectures (LO1) and supported by tutorial sessions in which you will work in small groups to undertake exercises in critiquing of literature, experimental design, data-handling and scientific writing (LOs 3-5). Bioinformatics will be taught through an introductory lecture and a highly interactive practical tutorial session (LO 2). Laboratory sessions will be used to develop practical skills in molecular analysis with particular attention given to developing skills in working with precision, the interpretation of methodology and results. You will be required to maintain an accurate record of your work in the form of lab worksheets, which also forms part of your assessment (LOs 1 and 4).
Key employability skills are embedded and assessed – including critical and independent thinking, data mining, reviewing scientific literature and methodology, information handling and online communication literacy and netiquette, Tutorial sessions will include group work and development of analysis, numeracy and communication (verbal and written) skills. IT skills will be required for the use of Moodle, literature searching, data-handling, scientific writing and bioinformatic analysis. The laboratory sessions will enhance specific technical skills, record keeping, laboratory mathematics and general laboratory conduct (LOs 1-5).
You will be directed (either through Moodle or during tutorials) to original research literature. Tutorial discussions will reinforce lecture material and formative assessments early on in the module will ensure you are given all the background information required for progressing further through the more advanced content. Current lecturers on the module will draw on their research experience to contextualise the material. Due to the nature of the topic, the entire module content is of global relevance. Novel developments in the field are reported in international journals and current techniques and findings will be brought to your attention.
The module is supported by a VLE (Moodle) which is used to provide class materials (including lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratory classes), resource such as animations, videos, direct links to relevant web-based resource, e:submission of all coursework, self-assessment test, interactive teaching resource, and independent study materials to cover expected prior-learning. Reflecting the discipline, you will use a wide range of technology to accomplish laboratory work and in silico analysis.

Formative Assessment:
You will engage in interactive sessions during face-to-face lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions. During these sessions continuous formative feedback and feedforward opportunities will be provided to support learning and assessment. Initial online learning sessions will include small formative assessments where you will receive instant feedback, enabling you to effectively monitor your progress.

Summative Assessment:
The summative component consists of two parts:
Component 1: Lab book assessment (40%)
For each practical session you will write a fully comprehensive laboratory worksheet (5 x 300 words). This will include a description of the experiments, analysis of results and calculations and a discussion based around directed questions (LOs 1, and 4 ).

Component 2: Report - Sequence analysis and data interpretation (60%)
The second summative assessment is a 3000-word report involving sequence analysis, using a combination of bioinformatics tools, data interpretation skills and experimental design. This will encourage critical analysis of techniques available and application of knowledge gained during the module in order to contextualise the material learned. This also involves considerable problem solving skills (LOs 2, 3 and 5).

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Lecture 20
Face To Face Tutorial 5
Face To Face Practical classes and workshops 15
Independent Learning Guided independent study 150
Online Guided independent study 10
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Laboratory report 40 1 & 4 9 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 1500
Report 60 2, 3 & 5 12 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 3000
Component 1 subtotal: 40
Component 2 subtotal: 60
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
Contact your module leader