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Data Analysis & Programming in the Biosciences - BIO00052M

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Sarah Forrester
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

In the first half of the semester, students will be introduced to R and RStudio, create and plot data using examples relevant to their interests in the biosciences, and learn how to use the help pages and packages developed by other people. An introductory course on statistics will support students to choose and use relevant techniques such as t-tests, ANOVA and regression to analyse biological data. In the second half of the semester, students will learn to tidy their data and document reproducible analyses. For the assessment, students will be provided with a messy data set with which to address key questions, and will submit a reproducible analysis in markdown format.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

In this module, students will learn fundamental statistics relevant to many research questions in the biosciences, and develop confidence and good habits in data management and reproducible analyses using the R programming language.

Module learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:

Explain the purpose of data analysis and the rationale for scripting analysis in the biosciences

Recognise when statistics such as t-tests, one-way ANOVA, correlation and regression can be applied, and use R to perform these analyses on data in a variety of formats

Summarise data in single or multiple groups, recognise tidy data formats, and carry out some typical data tidying tasks

Use markdown to produce reproducible analyses, figures and reports


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Marks for all summative assessments will be made available to you and your supervisor via e:vision. Feedback will be either individual or cohort-level, depending on the assessment format. You should take the opportunity to discuss your marks and feedback with your supervisor.

For coursework summative assessments (eg. reports, essays, presentations) you will receive individual feedback on your work. This will usually be in the form of a feedback sheet that will include suggestions for further improvement.

During the teaching of the module you will receive formative feedback that may be at a whole class or individual level. Such feedback may include: model answers, individual spoken comments during workshops, peer feedback and individual written comments on formative work.

Indicative reading

These are available through the VLE module site.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.