Surrey University Stag


Module code: BMSM029

Module Overview

The ability to appraise scientific literature and to communicate ideas is an academic and professional skill required across many areas of the biosciences. Journal clubs are convened in research and clinical environments and are used by professionals to continue to update knowledge of their disciplines and to maintain competencies as scientists; educators, and clinicians

By Level 7, students will already have a sound understanding of the importance of valid scientific information, and the role of the peer-review process in assuring rigour and integrity. This module develops skills in critical appraisal of scientific literature through a journal club whereby recent publications across a representative range of biomedical science disciplines are discussed in regular sessions facilitated by research students; post-doctoral, and academic staff.

A literature review of an appropriate biomedical topic will further develop approaches to using online databases and selecting appropriate publications. The progress of this piece of work is supported by one-to-one tutorials.

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

ELLIOTT Gill (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: B900

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Personal Tutorial Hours: 3

Workshop Hours: 8

Independent Learning Hours: 134

Seminar Hours: 5

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Seminars (5h): Uses and abuses of scientific information: the importance of peer-review Scientific journals: scope and impact How to prepare an outstanding journal club presentation How to prepare short and pithy journal club critique Preparing a literature review

Journal clubs (8h): There will be four journal club meetings

Personal tutorials (3h): There will be three personal tutorials to support students as they progress with their literature reviews.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Coursework 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

Appreciation of the importance of accurate and high-quality communication of science

Ability to appraise scientific literature for a range of bioscience disciplines and topics

Ability to discuss recent advances and developments in the biosciences

Ability to accurately summarise research literature

Ability to communicate research findings in salient topics, through the production of a literature review

Evaluate the quality of information and the validity of conclusions presented in scientific papers.

Development of communication skills in group discussions

Knowledge of the scope of different Citation of references using a standard format

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

• Literature review: A 2000 to 3000-word review of the literature (50%)

• Journal Article Evaluation: Evidence of journal club engagement and participation (50%). Students should prepare a handout summarising the article for review, followed by a reflective self-reflection and article critique summary.

Formative assessment:

Formative assessment is integral to this module as the students have to participate in several journal clubs Students will get instant feedback during the journal club meetings as well as getting individual feedback from their University tutor and the module organisor. Students will meet their tutor on a one-to-one basis to discuss progress with the literature review.

Module aims

  • Develop the ability to analyse the quality, impact, and validity of research journal articles
  • Develop confidence and aptitude in appraising primary literature
  • Develop competence in summarising primary literature
  • Appraise the quality of science reporting in the press and other forms of media
  • Guide students through the process of writing review of the literature
  • Identify databases through which peer-reviewed scientific literature can be found
  • Develop competence in using standard citation methods

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Evaluate developments in a specific Biomedical Science topic through critical appraisal and analysis of primary research literature CKPT
002 Appreciate the importance of accurate and high-quality scientific research communication CP
003 Critically assess strengths and weaknesses of scientific research through analysis and discussion of primary research literature KPT
004 Construct an effective journal article critique CT
005 Compose a written summary of a journal club critique CK
006 Contribute to informal public discussions confidently CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Develop a critical understanding of the scientific literature through facilitated self-directed learning. The skills gained on this module are directly transferable to all other modules on the programme, and to the wider science profession.

The learning and teaching methods include:

Seminars, workshops, and class discussion (~5h)

Personal tutorials (~3h)

Journal clubs (~8h)

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMSM029

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Biomedical Science MSci (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.