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Methods in Natural Sciences I


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: Dr Philip Hopley
  • Assessment: four lab reports (20% each) and a field notebook and report (20%)

Module description

In this module we introduce you to the laboratory, field and analytical skills used by scientists to understand the natural world. You will learn the different scientific methods used in psychology, bioscience, earth science and astronomy, and be equipped with the practical skills and confidence to pursue further study across a range of scientific disciplines. Content includes a mixture of computer, laboratory and field-based exercises by a team of subject-specialist lecturers.

Indicative syllabus

  • Psychological experimentation; participation in an experiment
  • Principles of climate modelling and ecological modelling; writing code and evaluating model output
  • Working in a biological wet-lab; participation in an experiment involving practical chemistry and spectrometry
  • The petrographic microscope; practical experience of observing and recording rocks, minerals and fossils
  • Natural science in the field; participation in the observation, recording and analysis of field data

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • undertake basic psychological experimentation
  • evaluate climate and ecological model output
  • identify rocks, fossils and minerals under a petrographic microscope
  • undertake basic biochemical experiments and use a spectrometer
  • make basic field observations and record these in a field notebook.