BIO3197 : Biological Literature Review

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 20.0


To write scientific reviews in the style of a peer-reviewed journal. To develop communication skills by making a technical presentation to an audience of peers and producing a poster for a lay audience.

Outline Of Syllabus

The project is largely completed through independent study with regular supervisory meetings. Training is provided via a series of lectures and workshops.

The first literature review is shorter and has a focussed content. The second literature review is longer, more comprehensive and involves the novel synthesis and interpretation of data or concepts. The presentation given to staff and peers should introduce and summarise one or two key papers from the longer review. The poster will explain the project to a lay audience.

Lectures and workshops will provide guidance on the following topics:

Project safety
Literature search skills
Using Endnote
Writing a Literature Review
Writing originally
Producing and using figures and tables
Marking criteria

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Short Literature Review
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion180:0080:00Long Literature Review
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion14:004:00Preparation of project plan and progress report
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture71:007:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion117:0017:00Presentation preparation
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Poster preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture18:008:00Poster session
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1200:00200:00Initially directed reading but by pusuit of references this will become self-directed.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching13:003:00Presentation session
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops41:306:00Training for key skills
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision121:0012:00Supervisor meetings
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study71:007:00Lecture follow up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study41:306:00Preparation and follow up for workshops
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
BIO3198Biological Information Project
BIO3199Biological Research Project
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures and workshops are designed to provide training in the skills and techniques required to complete the reviews, presentation and poster. Regular supervisory meetings enable the extent and quality of progress to be monitored, whilst allowing for detailed technical discussions on the project progress.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M15Short Review (3000 words)
Prof skill assessmnt2M10Professional Performance Assessment
Dissertation2M55Long Review (6000-8000 words)
Prof skill assessmnt2M10Presentation session (10 minutes plus 5 minutes questions)
Poster2M10Poster for lay audience
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MProject Plan
Written exercise2MProgress report
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The short review gives students experience at summarising material in the published literature and producing a focussed overview.

The presentation session assesses the ability to communicate the technical material in one or two key papers to an audience of peers.

The long review offers the opportunity to demonstrate sophisticated thinking skills, including the ability to integrate and synthesise information from the primary scientific literature, show insight and imagination, and produce novel summaries as graphics, tables, diagrams etc.

The poster assesses the student's ability to translate their technical knowledge into a form easily understood by a lay audience.

The formative Project Plan (submitted early in Semester 1) helps students to recognise the key questions relating to their project and formulate an appropriate plan of work to meet the objectives. The formative Progress Report (submitted early in Semester 2) re-visits the Project Plan and asks students to record any changes to the project and update the plan of work.

Technical proficiency, academic engagement and industry will be assessed by the supervisor who will have been in regular contact with the student throughout the project.

Reading Lists