Teaching plan for the course unit



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General information


Course unit name: Research Project Desing

Course unit code: 365847

Academic year: 2021-2022

Coordinator: Sofia Jorge De Moura Miguez Araujo

Department: Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics

Credits: 3

Single program: S



Estimated learning time

Total number of hours 75


Face-to-face and/or online activities



-  Lecture





-  Seminar





-  Experimental workshop





(Intensive: 1st week, 15 hours; 2nd week, 9 hours.)

Supervised project


Independent learning




Competences to be gained during study



CG6. Communication skills (written and spoken).


CB5. Learning skills that are necessary to undertake further study with a high degree of autonomy.


CB4. Capacity to communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.


CG2. Capacity for learning and responsibility (capacity for analysis and synthesis, to adopt global perspectives and to apply knowledge in practice, and capacity to take decisions and adapt to new situations).


CB3. Ability to gather and interpret relevant data (usually within the field of study) to inform judgements that include reflection on relevant social, scientific or ethical issues.


CB3. Capacity to gather and interpret relevant data (normally within the study area) to make judgements based on reflection on relevant social, scientific or ethical issues.



Learning objectives


Referring to knowledge

The general aim is to learn to draw up and defend a research project or proposal. The basis of this project would be the proposal of a hypothesis that will be tested by means of suitable experiments. We work on how to write scientific hypotheses and how to write a scientific project based on these hypotheses.

The specific aims include:

  • Review the elements that comprise a research project or proposal and the stages and variables to consider when it is drawn up.
  • Practice and critically discuss each element and stage using a specific example.
  • Develop the criteria required to understand what research should be carried out and be able to assess it scientifically.
  • Learn to work in teams (capacity to work with others and contribute to a common project).
  • Draw up your own original scientific project and defend it in writing and orally before an examination committee.



Teaching blocks


1. Blocks and topics

*  Block 1. How to design a research project

1. Research question or hypothesis

2. Background

3. Research design (general structure)

4. The design of specific experiments

5. Actions required to obtain elements that make the project possible

6. Writing a project proposal/presentation

7. The importance of the project title


Block 2. Drawing up your own project

1. Execution of your own project following the outline of elements and stages worked on in Block 1

2. Presentation in writing and oral defence before an examination committee



Teaching methods and general organization


Face-to-face learning activities (26 h)

Given the practical nature of the subject, class attendance is compulsory.

  • Practical classes on Block 1 (15 h)

Practical sessions in groups of 12 students. In the first week, five three-hour sessions are held in a classroom with computers or with Wi-Fi and students’ laptops. In addition to the whiteboard, audiovisual material in digital format is used (PowerPoint presentations, videos, direct access to URL, etc.), which is available on the Virtual Campus.

In Block I, students work in teams of four. Each team develops its project on a given topic, drawn from a broader area such as rare diseases, autoimmune diseases or cancer.

Each topic will be developed by two teams, so that the two projects can be discussed and compared in face-to-face debate sessions.

  • Practical classes on Block 2 (9 h)

The second week, three three-hour sessions are held in the same type of classroom.

In this second part of the subject, each student develops their project individually on a topic of their choice. In the sessions, students work in groups formed according to the chosen topics. Within the group, students do exercises on the project and discuss them to improve the various assignments.

  • Seminar (2 h): seminar on research project design for companies

Distance learning activities
  • Directed learning activities (25 h)

These activities are tutored by the lecturer and include specific exercises with a delivery date, posted on the Virtual Campus and announced in class. Students, who are distributed in working groups (Block I) or individually (Block II), will put class explanations into practice by working on practical cases proposed by the lecturer on specific topics.

  • Independent learning (26 h)

At the beginning of the course and before each face-to-face session, students must review the relevant material as indicated by the teacher.

After the theoretical classes, students must work on the contents that have been taught using their class notes and additional teaching material that is proposed by the lecturer or that students find themselves, mainly in databases of science literature and other information available online referring to the world of science research: centres, services, sources of funding.

Students must organise the tasks required by the lecturer, considering the deadlines and calendar established for completing and submitting them, especially in the preparation of the individual project and its presentation.

The gender perspective shall be incorporated into the subject syllabus whenever possible.

The teaching methodology may be modified in the event of restrictions to face-to-face attendance established by the health authorities.



Official assessment of learning outcomes


The learning, knowledge, skills and attitudes included in the objectives and the content of the subject will be assessed continuously. The final grade for the subject is based on the mark for the presentation of the individual project (both oral and written; 35% each) and face-to-face and distance learning activities (30% of the final grade). Students who do not hand in the individual project receive a final grade of “Absent”. Students must pass each part separately (individual project and activities) to pass the course.


Repeat assessment

This consists of a second period in which to present the project or the exercises that were failed in the first assessment.

The assessment procedure may be modified in the event of restrictions to face-to-face attendance established by the health authorities.


Examination-based assessment

Given the mandatory nature of the face-to-face work and the practical nature of the subject, students are recommended to follow continuous assessment. However, if students wish to apply for single assessment, they must submit a document signed by them and by the lecturer. The request must be submitted by the deadline established by the Faculty. Once this decision has been taken, it is final and irreversible. Single assessment takes place on the date for the oral presentation of the project and students must also hand in all the directed learning activities assigned.

Students under single assessment are entitled to repeat assessment under the same conditions as continuous assessment students.

Both single assessment and continuous assessment are undertaken within the official examination sessions at the Faculty of Biology.

The assessment procedure may be modified in the event of restrictions to face-to-face attendance established by the health authorities.



Reading and study resources

Consulteu la disponibilitat a CERCABIB


K. Srinagesh. The Principles of Experimental Research. Editorial Elsevier (2006)

Josep M.a. Argimon Pallás and Josep Jiménez Villa. Métodos de investigación clínica y epidemiológica (Tercera Edición)  Editorial Elsevier (2004)

Oriol Amat y Alfredo Rocafort. Com fer recerca : treball de final de grau, tesi de màster, tesi doctoral i altres projectes de recerca Editorial ACCID-Profit (2017)

Ivan Valiela. Doing science : design, analysis, and communication of scientific research  Oxford University Press (2009)


Al-Riyami, A. How to prepare a Research Proposal. Review. Om. Med J. 23:1-4 (2008)

Boyd, I. A standard for policy-relevant science. Comment. Nature 501:159-160 ( 2013)

Chalmers, I. & Nylenna, M. A new network to promote evidence-based research. Lancet 384:1903-4.(2014)

Toledo, AH et al. Developing the research hypothesis. J Invest Surg 24:191-4 (2011)

Eston, Rowlands . Stages in the development of a research project: putting the idea together. British journal of sports medicine 34(1): 59-64 (2000) .