Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions


Experimental Design and Statistics

Module titleExperimental Design and Statistics
Module codeCSC2023
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Nick Owens (Convenor)

Dr Musarrat Maisha Reza ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module explores the core principles of experimental design and statistics vital for medical scientists, starting with study design, hypothesis generation, and data collection through to statistical analysis and establishing conclusions.. You will investigate how research is used to make rational and justified decisions – from basic science to how it is applied in healthcare.

In order to best understand how evidence is generated, interpreted and applied, you will design your own research proposal on a topic within the medical research field.  Science is a creative activity and you will have the opportunity to develop your own research question and devise the methods and analysis of your study.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Scientific research is constantly evolving and generating vast quantities of data – how do we go about understanding how this information is generated and what it means? Why do we need to ask specific questions and how can we use the answers to improve healthcare?

You will study how scientific advances are made, communicated and how they have shaped public perceptions and ethical views.

You will explore different kinds of research strategy – deciding which research methods are best suited to answering which kind of questions. What are the advantages and limitations of each kind of study design and how you should analyse and interpret the data they provide.

You will get experience of designing and analysing your own research study and, importantly, learn how to communicate your results in a clear and critical way.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Identify and describe the principles of scientific research through hypothesis development, evaluation and testing.
  • 2. Understand the role of controls, replication, randomisation and confounding factors in experimental design.
  • 3. Identify the key kinds of experimental design, the advantages and limiations of each, and which scenarios each should be applied.
  • 4. Identify and apply the appropriate statistical analysis to accompany different experimental designs.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Create a valid research question and design and analyse a study to address it.
  • 6. Write a research proposal based on a specialism within the medical research field.
  • 7. Critically appraise different types of medical research study (qualitative, observational, experimental).
  • 8. Formulate appropriate strategies to answer different kinds of medical research question.
  • 9. Use statistical methods to analyse and interpret basic research data.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Work effectively as part of a research team.
  • 11. Manage a complex workflow.
  • 12. Demonstrate professional competence in communicating effectively with healthcare professionals and lay audiences.
  • 13. Use feedback and experience to reflect upon your progress.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:


  • The module provides learning opportunities around experimental design and statistics, using practical workshops and seminar sessions to demonstrate key principles underlying experimental design.
  • Teaching  seminar sessions where content is discussed and facilitated by a tutor which will guide you through data handling, critical appraisal of papers and key concepts underlying study design.
  • Online lecture content will be provided the week before each seminar, which will discuss key ILOs, along with preparation material for the seminar sessions, which will run every other week.
  • This will further be supported by statistics workshops which will provide training in statistical analysis and supporting on-line and structured workshops for key skills in scientific communication and poster presentation.

In addition to this core delivered material, you will design, analyse and report a research study of your own. Support for this will be given in the seminar sessions.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities5(5 x 1 hour) Lectures/induction/feedback
Scheduled learning and teaching activities8(8 x 1 hour) Workshops
Scheduled learning and teaching activities22(11 x 2 hour) Facilitated seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching activities12(8 x 1.5 hour) Statistics workshops
Guided Independent Study123Group poster work and data analysis, presentation prep. Research proposal design/ write-up/
Guided Independent Study130Lecture/workshop/small group preparation, consolidation, reading, revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Engagement in small group learning, peer reportContribution to sessions10-13Written and verbal-peer and provider
Lay abstract writing350 words1-13Written and peer
Data handling in class test5 SAQs

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Professionalism Award10n/a10-13Written and verbal
Research project proposal402500 words2, 4-7, 9-13Written
Group poster10One PowerPoint slide and 5 min verbal questioning, along with peer feedback on group contribution5,6,10,12,13Written and verbal – peer and provider
Written examination402.5 hours1-4, 7-9Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Professionalism Award (10%)Professionalism remediation meeting10-13Ref/ def period
Research project proposal (40%)Research project report (2500 words)2,4-7,9-13Ref/ def period
Individual poster based on group poster assessment (10%)1 PowerPoint slide with verbal annotation5,6,10,12,13Ref/ def period
Written examination (40%)Written examination (2.5 hours)1-4,7-9Ref/ def period

Re-assessment notes

There is no change in format of the research project proposal when you refer or defer your assessment relative to normal reports. The group poster will be assessed as an individual piece of work, based on data provided by the module convenor.

In the event of you failing the professionalism award assessment component and failing the module overall, you will be required to meet with your Academic Tutor as soon as possible to remediate this failure as a referred assessment. This will involve submitting any outstanding components required for this award, and, if necessary, undertake any actions required by the Academic Tutor to remediate for any unprofessional behaviour. In the event of you failing the professionalism award component but passing the module overall, you will be required to meet with your academic tutor for an individual meeting to remediate at the beginning of the following academic year. 

Please also refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Ruxton and Colegrave 4th Edition;  Experimental Design for the Life Sciences; ISBN 978-0-19-871735-5

Boyle and Ramsay (2017) Writing for Science Students; ISBN 978-1-137-57151-9

All other reading and resources will be indicated by, and accessible via, the module ELE page.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

science, research, statistics, biomedicine, ethics, medical science

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

Fundamental skills for medical scientists

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date