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To introduce and develop skills in the synthesis of research findings and the writing of a detailed research proposal.
The general aim of the course is to prepare postgraduate students to engage in research through the development of a detailed research proposal – it has been designed for BSc (Hons), MSc Pt I and PGDipSci students as a compulsory component of the 4th year postgraduate experience. It comprises a series of modules in contemporary research methodology and proposal preparation and time to engage with potential supervisors to discuss project ideas. The skills and perspectives developed in this course will serve students progressing to research projects (in BSc Hons and MSc PtII) and those students who decide to pursue other careers.Recommended preparatory course(s): BIOL411. For those students who begin 4th year in the middle of the year, BIOL411 and BIOL412 must be completed in Semester 1 of the following year.
As a student in this course, I will develop the ability to: Communicate the findings of scientific research in plain English and verbally for ascientifically-literate audience (assessment tasks: verbal proposal presentation).Synthesise primary scientific literature to generate a clear and concise argument in support of aperspective (assessment task: research proposal).Critically evaluate a colleague’s work and generate constructive feedback (assessment task:peer-assessment of research proposal draft).Synthesise primary scientific literature to provide in-depth background and context forunderstanding and critical evaluation of topics in biological sciences (assessment: proposal).Apply an understanding of scientific practice to the generation of new testable hypotheses andto the development of advanced methodologies for testing hypotheses (assessment task:methodology section of research proposal).Transferable Skills RegisterAs a student in this course, I will develop the following skills:Writing a literature review to focus ideas for research proposals. This is essential for MSc Pt Istudents to be fully prepared for Pt II. Beyond University this skill is important for any careerin research or in an NGO, where you will need to write convincing applications forincreasingly-limited funding. We will have tutorials to provide instruction on the elements ofsuccessful proposals and develop your abilities to identify these elements in group sessions.Critical synthesis of information. In everyday life and in many job situations you will berequired to read information from different sources, construct your own understanding andshape your own viewpoint. In BIOL412 we develop your abilities to identify the essentialelements of research outputs - you will now use these skills in your proposal.Research design. Important for research and in governmental and non-governmentalorganisations. We will provide discipline-specific advice on the major elements involved indeveloping testable questions and designing research projects.Writing critical summaries of other work. Clear and constructive written criticism is essential inmost professional careers. In a tutorial we will provide instruction on the elements of successfulcritical assessment and help you identify these elements with clear marking rubrics – you willuse these in your peer-review of a colleague’s work.Verbal presentation. In most careers in science the ability to present findings clearly in verbalform is likely to be critical. In BIOL4xx we provide clear guidance on what makes a goodpresentation and you will test these skills in your proposal presentation.Graduate attributesIn planning activities and assessments for this course we will be guided by the descriptors for Level8 of the NZQF:Knowledge Skills ApplicationAdvanced technical and/or theoreticalknowledge in a discipline or practice,involving a critical understanding of theunderpinning key principlesAnalyse and generatesolutions to complex andsometimes unpredictableproblemsEvaluate and apply a rangeof processes relevant to thefield of work or studyDeveloping identification with aprofession and/or discipline throughapplication of advanced generic skillsand/or specialist knowledge and skillsSome responsibility for integrity ofprofession or disciplineTimetableTutorialsThese have been included in the course to allow for in-depth instruction and group discussions onspecific topics and to provide skills training to enable you to be more effective in planning andwriting a research proposal. There will be four formal components. These will include:1. The Scientific Method: moving from questions to hypotheses. The focus will be onhypothesis development (led by Matthew Turnbull). Preparation required.2. Proposal writing: creating and communicating ideas from the literature. (Led by MatthewTurnbull). Preparation required.3. Project development: participating as part of a research team to develop a research project.Requires meeting with at least one academic staff member and their associated researchteam to discuss and develop research opportunities. We recommend that this processstarts in your first semester of 4th year and continues during the break betweensemesters so that you are able to make progress on your proposal in the currentsemester.BIOL412 Graduate Attributes:*Critically competent. Yes*Employable,innovative and enterprising. Yes*Biculturally competent and confident.*Engaged with the community.*Globally aware. Yes
BIOL411. For those students who begin 4th year in the middle of the year, BIOL410 and BIOL411 must be completed in Semester 1 of the following year.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
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Domestic fee $1,066.00
International Postgraduate fees
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
School of Biological Sciences