Module Identifier BS22720  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Dr Michael K Winson  
Semester Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)  
Other staff Dr John H R Gee, Dr Iolo Ap Gwynn, Dr Paul Kenton, Dr Robert J Wootton  
Course delivery Practical   16 Hours. (8 x 2 hours)  
  Lecture   10 x 2h lectures; 10 x 1h lectures (30 hours)  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours One 2-hour theory paper  40%
Semester Assessment * Semester 1 Image analysis assignment, Web page assignment. Semester 1 & 2 Poster & Quantitative Biology assignment.60%
Supplementary Assessment2 Hours One 2 hour theory paper (plus resubmission of failed coursework or an alternative).  100%

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module, students should be able to


This module builds on Module BS12410 - Information Technology and Quantitative Biology and brings the student to the level of mathematical competence and acquaintance with information technology to be expected of a modern biologist. As such it will provide a package of skills that are potentially transferable to a wide range of employment situations.   


Quantitative Biology (general) Elements of probability theory; samples & populations; mode, median, mean. Normal, Poisson and bionomial distribution: Calculus; the gradient of a curve; asymptotes; differentiation of polynomial and exponential functions; maxima and minima; a brief introduction to integration - the indefinite and definite integral. An introduction to mathematical modelling - based on population growth and/or a physiological process
Quantitative Biology (statistics): Sampling distribution of the mean: the standard error of the mean.
Hypothesis testing, type 1 and type 2 errors in significance tests, one-sample and two-sample t-tests of means, confidence intervals. Concept of replication; avoidance of pseudoreplication. Bivariate samples and populations; the correlation coefficient, test of significance. Non-parametric methods, emphasising analysis of contingency tables. ANOVA, taken as far as two factor designs and the concept of an interaction, and explaining partitioning of the sums of squares and the relationship with the t-test. Linear regression and its relationship with ANOVA (including fitting the line, testing significance, standard errors of parameters, confidence bands, comparing regression slopes, direct test of linearity). The emphasis will be on interpretation of results and will include examination of residuals.

Information Technology: Spreadsheet software (introduced in BS12410) will be used and Minitab will be introduced within the quantitative biology elements. Word processing skills (introduced in BS12410) will be extended during the IT sessions by application to other topics.
A variety of software will be introduced in the context of applied biological uses. The following aspects will be covered:
Database creation, searching and management, including the use of Internet databases.
Complex vector graphics, leading to the preparation of biological drawings.
Bitmap graphics, and their uses - including image processing and analysis.
Presentation software (PowerPoint) for the preparation of slides and live presentations- includes design principles and the use of animations.
Preparation of Web pages - essentials of HTML and file management.
(Students will be expected to process data for and present their third year projects, utilising the skills that will be taught in this module )


Attendance at lectures will be checked.

Absence from compulsory practicals, without good reason, will result in work from that practical not being assessed. Exceptions will ONLY be made where there are extenuating circumstances approved by the Director.

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
Dytham, C. (1999) Choosing and using statistics: a biologists guide Blackwell Science.
Holmes, Debbie (March 2006) Research Methods in the Biosciences 0199276927
** Reference Text
Jones, A. M. (2003.) Practical skills in biology /[by] Allan Jones, Rob Reed [and] Jonathan Weyers. 013045141X
Jones, Allan (Dec. 1999) Practical Skills in Environmental Science Pearson 058232873X
Reed, R., Holmes, D., Weyers, J. & Jones, A. (2003) Practical Skills in Biomolecular Sciences Pearson 0130451428


This module is at CQFW Level 5