The aim of this unit is to allow the student to write a critical review of a biological topic of choice. This will involve a critical analysis of hypotheses in the field and of the quality of the evidence used to support them.
The dissertation is a critical review of a biological topic of choice. It requires the critical analysis of hypotheses and the quality of the evidence used to support them. Where controversies exist, the dissertation should indicate which side has the stronger case. It should also identify gaps in our current knowledge and understanding and make suggestions for the future development of the field. The preparation of the dissertation involves extensive reading of original research papers, reviews and books together with information extracted from other media.
By the end of the module, the student will be able to demonstrate:
1. a sound grasp of the literature pertaining to the topic;
2. an ability to acquire, organise, criticise and integrate multi-disciplinary information;
3. an ability to write clearly and critically on a biological topic.
The module will be assessed on the basis of a dissertation report. Particular attention will be paid to:
• critical analysis of hypotheses and the quality of the evidence used to support these.
• identification of gaps in current knowledge and understanding.
• identification of testable hypotheses.
• demonstration of an excellent understanding and exposition of relevant issues.
• clear structured and logically developed arguments.
• clear presentation of relevant data.
• use of relevant figures and diagrams.
• good evaluation and synthesis of material.
• brevity, precision and insight.
The report will be presented in the form of a scientific article, 5000 words long, (excluding figure legends, tables and references), laid out in appropriate format (the details of which can be found in Appendix 1). The report should be submitted in electronic form (via TurnItIn)
Student Contact Hours: The student should arrange a meeting with his/her supervisor at least once every two weeks.
Feedback: You will receive feedback from your dissertation supervisor at the supervisory meetings throughout semester 1. The dissertation supervisor can also look at up to a maximum of 25% of written work providing it is submitted by the specified deadline. You will be able to review your marked dissertaion in semester 2.