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Research Skills and Statistics


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: 10 laboratory assignment reports (50%) and 10 computer exercises (50%)

Module description

In this module we combine the essential theory required to correctly perform and interpret key laboratory techniques that form the basis of a biochemical scientist’s toolkit with practical laboratory exercises.

In addition to gaining practical experience in techniques ranging from spectroscopy, microscopy and solution handling to DNA analysis, you will learn how statistics can be applied to the interpretation of results ensuring data quality is maximised, uncertainty is appropriately estimated and measurements are fit for purpose. You will also practise data analysis skills using actual laboratory results with a variety of software packages including Excel and SPSS.

Indicative syllabus

Laboratory skills and theory

  • Solution handling including forward and reverse pipetting with UV-vis spectroscopy calibration
  • Titrations and buffers
  • Protein assays - developing assay protocols
  • DNA analysis with UV quantification
  • Extraction and quantification of the active ingredient of a pharmaceutical preparation
  • Culturing bacteria and yeast with a sterile technique
  • Antimicrobial assays on agar plates and in 96 well plates
  • Solvent and solid phase extraction of antibiotics from culture media
  • TLC analysis of antibiotics
  • Basic microscopy

 Statistics and data quality

  • Concepts of uncertainty, errors terminology and software
  • Recording, describing and presenting data
  • Inferential statistics - probabilities and normal distributions
  • Student t distributions
  • Hypothesis testing, t-tests and f tests
  • Relationships between data - correlation and regression
  • Regression models and Anova
  • Identification of outliers
  • Data quality - VAM, reference materials GLP and accreditation
  • Statistical basis for developing and accrediting new tests - clinical case study

Learning objectives

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

  • describe and explain the science underlying the key analytical and microbiological laboratory techniques
  • interpret and apply protocols for key laboratory manipulations and measurements
  • identify and justify a critical and professional approach to quality of measurement and analysis of data.