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The University of Southampton

BIOL1030 How to think like a scientist

Module Overview

The module teaches how to formulate hypotheses and structure an experimental proposal, ultimately leading to data dissemination in form of a presentation / report / scientific paper. The module connects to real problems, where success in own experimental work drives learning.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • develop an understanding of statistics that will allow the student to implement hypothesis-driven research
  • understand and implement professional values and practices as part of scientific integrity
  • bioethics required for carrying out research
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • independently locate and retrieve scientific data and information
  • independently integrate and evaluate data and information from a wide range of sources, including primary source materials in peer reviewed journals, on-line resources, and experimental data
  • formulate and test a hypothesis
  • compose and abstract and a lay summary to communicate findings to appropriate audiences
  • write a scientific project report that includes an introduction, materials & methods, results and conclusions
  • develop scientific research skills
  • generate an appropriate bibliography with the use of defined format and referencing styles
  • theoretical and practical understanding of general laboratory skills involving microbiology, molecular biology and biophysical techniques
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • present scientific data - effectively, both oral and in written form across a range of topics, to both specialised and non-specialised audiences
  • work with, and within, a group towards defined outcomes
  • use information technology and other resources to find, extract and synthesise information
  • learn independently through critical enquiry
  • manage resources and time


The module is designed in content specific “blocks” that present a specific task, each associated with a skills set to be taught. While the blocks are identical for all students, the contents varies with cohort (Y-shaped). Included are: - design of an experiment: formulate a hypothesis, bioethics, design a proposal - field work: collect data, record observations - research: analyse data, apply statistical methods, use online tools - dissemination: present data in a talk / in a report, write a paper - science overview: learn from other areas of science

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module is flexible in structure and use a number of different teaching methods to learn skills: (1) lectures will give an overview of different sciences, and introduce the background, e.g., in statistics and bioethics; (2) practical work will be carried out in field work or laboratory based; (3) data analysis and use of online resources is CLS computer based; (4) workshops allow to exercise and train skills, e.g. library workshops; (5) peer assessed presentations help sharpen the skills set. Tutorials are an element to complement teaching, guide learning, and add pastoral care. Self-directed learning uses textbook as well as online resources.

Total study time54



Assessed Tutorials


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assessment 40%
Written assessment 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


There are no additional costs associated with this module

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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