Scientific Research in Biology (BIOL4015)


Studies in Life Science investigate the dynamics of living organisms and span the levels of biological organization, from the ecosystem to the molecular. Research in the Life Sciences strives to offer explanations as to how organisms function, interact and evolve. A graduate Biologist must be conversant with a wide range of analytical techniques, including quantitative analysis as well as being able to communicate effectively about their research. Students must understand the logical structures which underpin analytical techniques, be able to design experiments based on understanding of biological processes and document their intended research. This course work unit provides the core skills and techniques that will equip students to perform a broad range of laboratory and field studies in biology, develop critical thinking and clear communication skills. Students will be introduced to the appropriate methodologies for data collection, handling and analysis which underpin the successful testing of biological hypotheses, and document their intended research as a grant proposal

Further unit of study information


13 workshops


Research proposal (based on University of Sydney Research and Development scheme) (50%). Written assignment to include data analysis and presentation of analysed results (50%)


Reccomended reading: Dytham, C. (2003) Choosing and Using Statistics: A Biologists Guide. 2nd edn. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford
Field, A. (2005) Discovering Statistics Using SPSS. 2nd edn. SAGE publications, London
Pechenik JA. (2001) A Short Guide to Writing About Biology. 4th Edn. Addison Wesley Longman, Sydney
Ruxton, G.D. & Colegrave, N. (2003) Experimental Design for the Life Sciences. Oxford University Press, Oxford
Underwood, A.J. (1997) Experiments in Ecology: Their Logical Design and Interpretation using Analysis of Variance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


BIOL4009 or BIOL4010 or BIOL4011 or BINF5002 or BINF5003



Additional Information

BIOL4016 corequisite not required by Bioinformatics Masters Research Stream students.

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.