COMM06058 2019 Essential Skills for Scientists

General Details

Full Title
Essential Skills for Scientists
Transcript Title
Essential Skills for Scientist
N/A %
Subject Area
COMM - Communication
LIFE - Life Sciences
06 - NFQ Level 6
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Mary Heneghan, Ailish Breen
Programme Membership
SG_SBIOM_B07 201900 Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science SG_SMEDI_H08 201900 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Medical Biotechnology SG_SBIOM_C06 202100 Higher Certificate in Science in Biomedical Science SG_SBIOS_H08 202300 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biomedical Science

The aim of this module is to introduce the students to essential skills required by scientists in the 21st century, as well as equip undergraduates with the strategies to cope with the style of learning and enquiry required for success in higher education. A strong emphasis will be placed on the transferable skills that are highly valued by employers. In particular, the module will focus on metacognition and the development of academic writing, communication and interpersonal competencies. The module aims to motivate students to take responsibility for their own learning through self-driven enquiry, provide them with the skills for a lifetime of independent and reflective learning and ultimately better prepare them for employment and the career ladder.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Analyse time management skills and manage time effectively with regard to planning and organising tasks.


Communicate scientific knowledge to a variety of audiences.


Understand the principals of scientific reporting, recognise the importance of academic integrity and identify ways of avoiding plagiarism in academic work through appropriate referencing.


Demonstrate an ability to work professionally as an individual or as a member of a team.


Recognise different learning styles, identify personal strengths and weaknesses as a learner and apply appropriate learning strategies to develop study skills.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Essential skills for scientists will be delivered full-time, using mainly interactive workshops and group-based formats. A student-centered approach will be adopted to stimulate and motivate students, encouraging them to develop a deeper understanding as well as promote both independent and collaborative learning. Students are recommended to undertake a VARK questionnaire to discover whether they are a visual, auditory/aural, read/write, kinesthetic or multimodal learner. This will enable them to recognise the types of study skills they need to acquire to achieve independent/self-directed learning at third level. Reflection strategies will be introduced to allow students to identify gaps in their knowledge, discuss and consider changes in their understandings, skills, attitudes and values. This reflection and self-explanation will lead to a deeper understanding of the material and ultimately promote knowledge transfer. Collaborative and active learning will be fostered, whereby students will work in teams to research a chosen topic and communicate the outcomes of the project to an audience. Online content such as videos, e-portfolios, goal setting templates, referencing software, databases etc. will be used as appropriate. A learning platform (such as moodle) will be used as a repository of educational resources and as a means of assessment (e.g. uploading assignments and journals).



Module Assessment Strategies

Essential skills for scientists will be examined through 100% continuous assessment. The focus of this module is to develop the undergraduate’s transferable skills that are highly valued by employers. Students will produce a personal development portfolio which will encourage them to reflect on their learning style, time management and self-organisational skills. To develop team work skills, students will work in small groups on a chosen project to produce a written report and oral presentation (with submission dates likely to be between weeks 9 and 13). In small group sizes, the lecturer will observe the students demonstrating particular skills (e.g. collaboratively working, conflict management) and provide formative feedback. Assessment of the team project will also include an individual personal reflection (as part of the personal development portfolio). Development of academic writing is a key focus of this module and as such students will be required to produce a short technical report that is properly structured and referenced.

Repeat Assessments

If a student fails to achieve 40% in the module they will be required to submit an assignment. Repeat assessments will be decided on a case by case basis, and will be informed by the amount and quality of continuous assessment submitted during the semester. Examples of repeat assessment could include a multiple choice quiz, case study evaluation or essay style questions on a given topic. 

Module Dependencies


Indicative Syllabus

Analyse time management skills and manage time effectively with regard to planning and organising tasks.

  • Time management
  • Organisational skills
  • Project planning
  • Team working skills
  • Self-organisation and goal setting

Communicate scientific knowledge to a variety of audiences.

  • Professional oral communication skills
  • Communicating science in a technical manner
  • Communicating science in a non-technical manner
  • Team work – effective communication as part of a team; facilitating discussions at meetings

Understand the principals of scientific reporting, recognise the importance of academic integrity and identify ways of avoiding plagiarism in academic work through appropriate referencing.

  • Scientific report writing – technical writing
  • Communicating science in non-technical language
  • Data presentation, structuring, paraphrasing, summarising
  • Referencing
  • Plagiarism

Demonstrate an ability to work professionally as an individual or as a member of a team.

  • Personal and professional development planning
  • Career path planning (link between study and chosen career)
  • Goal setting
  • Team work
  • Conflict Management skills to include: communications process, strategies to manage low level interpersonal team issues; empathetic listening, assertiveness

Recognise different learning styles, identify personal strengths and weaknesses as a learner and apply appropriate learning strategies to develop study skills.

  • VARK (Visual, Auditory/Aural, Read/Write, Kinesthetic)
  • Multimodal learner
  • Collaborative learning
  • Self-directed learning
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Problem solving/enquiry-based learning

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Formative assessments Formative Assessment - % OnGoing 1,2,3,4,5
2 Scientific report Coursework Assessment Written Report/Essay 25 % Week 4 3,5
3 Group Project Coursework Assessment Group Project 25 % OnGoing 2,3,4
4 Presentation Coursework Assessment Assessment 25 % OnGoing 1,2,3,4
5 Personal Development Plan Coursework Assessment Individual Project 25 % Week 13 1,4,5

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Problem Based Learning Problem Based Learning Room Group Work and Learning 2 Weekly 2.00
Independent Learning UNKNOWN Self Study & Group Work 5 Weekly 5.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 2.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Recommended Reading
2017-03-14 Critical Thinking Skills Red Globe Press
ISBN 1137550503 ISBN-13 9781137550507

Written by internationally renowned author Stella Cottrell, this is an essential resource for students looking to refine their thinking, reading and writing skills. Stella Cottrells student-centred approach demystifies critical thinking and breaks down a complex subject into manageable chunks. With clear explanations, relevant examples and plenty of exercises throughout, this book helps students to develop their analytical reasoning skills and apply them to a range of tasks including reading, note-making and writing. This text will turn even the most hesitant student into a proficient critical thinker. This is an ideal companion for students of study skills, humanities, social sciences, business and arts programmes, where assessment includes essay and report writing. It is suitable for students of all levels.

Recommended Reading
2010-11-01 Emotional Intelligence Personnel Publications
ISBN 190694606X ISBN-13 9781906946067

A practical and insightful book on how understanding one's own and others' emotions that contributes to self-awareness and the ability to build and maintain quality interpersonal relationships.

Recommended Reading
2018-09-09 Managing Your Own Learning at University
ISBN 1910820261 ISBN-13 9781910820261
Recommended Reading
2010 Science Research Writing for Non-native Speakers of English World Scientific
ISBN 9781848163096 ISBN-13 1848163096

Introduction : How to use this book -- How to write an introduction -- Writing about methodology -- Writing about results -- Writing the discussion/conclusion -- Writing the abstract.

Recommended Reading
2010-06-15 Skills for Success Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN 0230250181 ISBN-13 9780230250185

Following-on from The Study Skills Handbook, this book enables students to think about personal, academic and career goals and to plan a path to success. Rich in activities that develop valuable career skills, this edition has a new chapter on Understanding your Personal Performance, and updated information on job applications.

Recommended Reading
1998-09-18 Standard written English Edinburgh Univ Pr
ISBN UOM:39015043787202

Standard Written Englishis a clear and concise guide to written English. Using numerous illustrative examples, it explains a form of the English language which is both distinct and common to the whole of the English-speaking world: Standard Written English. It will help your students to write English clearly and effectively. Standard Written Englishincludes a collection of fifty case studies in the practical use of language. The book demonstrates at a glance how to write Newspaper and Journal Articles Autobiography Literary Criticism Technical Reports Business Correspondence Standard Written English will help your students to Understand the elements of English including vocabulary, usage and grammar Recognise and avoid common mistakes Write effective formal English with confidence From the basic elements of the English language to the mechanics of formal writing, this book covers it all. Standard Written English is an essential resource for anyone who wishes to write in clear, plain English.

Recommended Reading
2018-03-12 Success in Academic Writing Red Globe Press
ISBN 1352002043 ISBN-13 9781352002041

This concise and practical guide takes students step-by-step through the writing process, and covers core aspects of academic writing, from understanding the task and researching the topic through to composing a draft, editing copy and responding to feedback. Chapters feature numerous self-study activities, top tips and opportunities for reflection, alongside examples of good writing from a range of disciplines. By engaging with the text, students will develop confidence, technique and clarity as writers in their discipline, as well as transferable skills that are highly valued by employers. This book will be an invaluable source of guidance for students of all disciplines and levels who are required to write essays, reports, papers or dissertations as part of their studies.

Recommended Reading
2013-04-09 The Study Skills Handbook Palgrave
ISBN 1137289252 ISBN-13 9781137289254

This is the ultimate guide to study skills, written by international best-selling author Stella Cottrell. Her tried and tested approach, based on over twenty years experience of working with students, has helped over a million students to achieve their potential. When it comes to studying, there is no one-size fits all approach. This accessible guide shows students how to tailor their learning to their individual needs in order to boost their grades, build their confidence and increase their employability. Fully revised for the fourth edition, it contains everything students need to succeed. This is an invaluable resource for undergraduate students of all disciplines, and is also ideal for postgraduates, mature students and international students. It prepares students for what to expect before, during and after their studies at university.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources


Journal Resources


URL Resources (2019). Small group teaching index. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Mar. 2019].

Tom, B. and Sandra, S. (2019). Essential Study Skills: The Complete Guide to Success at University | SAGE Companion. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Mar. 2019]. (2019). VARK | a guide to learning preferences. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Mar. 2019].


Other Resources

Additional reading and resources will be recommended by the lecturer.


Additional Information

This module will be delivered in small group sizes of a maximum of 16 students.