CHEM07007 2019 Research Skills for Analytical Scientists

General Details

Full Title
Research Skills for Analytical Scientists
Transcript Title
Research Skills for Analytical
70 %
Subject Area
CHEM - Chemistry
LIFE - Life Sciences
07 - NFQ Level 7
10 - 10 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Fiona McArdle, Geraldine Duignan, Ted McGowan, Aodhmar Cadogan, Richard Sherlock, Geraldine Dowling
Programme Membership
SG_SFORE_G07 201900 Bachelor of Science in Science in Forensic Invest & Analys(Emb) SG_SFORE_H08 201900 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Science in Forensic Science and Analysis SG_SFORE_B07 201900 Bachelor of Science in Science in Forensic Investigation and Analysis

This module will enable learners to assimilate technical knowledge from previous laboratory-based modules while developing research skills across four core competencies:

  • Personal effectiveness in team-based problem solving.
  • Management of information, time and resources for investigative research and complex analysis.
  • Performance of valid laboratory investigations.
  • Verbal and written communication of scientific information in a professional context.

The module aims are achieved through participation in a series of mini-projects on topics relevant to forensic investigation. The learners will be required to work in teams to conduct literature searches to develop methodologies for analysis of a variety of complex samples and then use a range of forensic instrumentation and analytical techniques / processes to achieve accurate analytical measurements. They will then be required to interpret the analytical results in the context of the original question and present verbal and written reports on their findings

Learning Outcomes

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


Participate in a team to investigate and peer review experimental findings and information provided.


Engage in technical, theoretical, personal and inter-personal problem solving in a team.


Plan and manage information sources (literature, textbooks, online resources, standard / reference methods) and experimental results.


Source reliable literature, and apply same to samples and analytical methodologies.


Carry out appropriate experimentation to elicit the chemical structure and/or content of complex samples.


Design and perform a range of analytical techniques to obtain valid analytical data within a limited timeframe.


Assess analytical data and apply appropriate statistical tests.


Verbally present, explain and defend scientific information in a professional context.


Demonstrate awareness of correct use of contemporaneous notes, data recording and professional codes of ethics (research, plagiarism, reporting of scientific data).

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The teaching strategy is centred on problem-based learning through a number of team-based mini-projects. The mini-projects are designed to require detailed analysis to be performed during dedicated laboratory sessions and interpreted in the context of a forensic investigation scenario. The lab work is augmented and supported through weekly workshop sessions. The learners will assimilate technical knowledge from previous learning into the new learning in this module to develop four key competencies:

  • Personal effectiveness in team-based problem solving.
  • Management of information, time and resources for investigative research and complex chemical analysis.
  • Performance of valid laboratory investigations.
  • Verbal and written communication of scientific information in a professional context.

Module Assessment Strategies

The assessment approach for this module will be 100% Continuous Assessment with a focus on both individual and team work.

A range of assessment methods will be employed. Typical examples inlcude:

Individual - assignments, report logs, response to feedback.  

Group - project reports, log books, presentations, vivas.

This assessment approach will enable the assessors to evaluate the students ability the work as part of a team, plan experiments, interpret and evaluate their experimental findings and discuss the limitations of their own work, write reports, present research findings, respond to critical evaluation and to defend their theories and hypothesis.

Repeat Assessments

Repeat requirements will consist of assignments or repeat attendance of the module.

Indicative Syllabus

Students will be required to work effectively in teams to solve a number of analytical / forensic scientific problems.  

Students will conduct a number of literature investigations to elicit methodologies for use on a number of samples provided using the instrumentation available.

Students will retain log books, contemporaneous notes, facts and data of all their individual work including literature and laboratory work.

Students will present team reports and give oral presentations on same.

Students will review and critically evaluate experimental findings and interpret results in a meaningful way in the context of problem case scenarios.

Students will receive guidelines on: teamwork, library skills, referencing, writing structures/formats, professional ethics, project management, problem solving tools, chain of evidence arguments, constructive criticism, critical reviewing, critical thinking, brain storming, information capture and recording.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Formative assessment of weekly team updates Formative Assessment - % OnGoing 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9
2 Continuous assessment review of logbooks, review experimental findings and literature results. Continuous Assessment Assessment 40 % OnGoing 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
3 Team reports and oral presentation Continuous Assessment Assessment 60 % OnGoing 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Workshop Computer Laboratory Lecture/Tutorial/Group Learning 3 Weekly 3.00
Problem Based Learning Science Laboratory Mini-Projects - Practical Work 3 Weekly 3.00
Independent Learning UNKNOWN Self Study 8 Weekly 8.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 6.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Recommended Reading
2015-05-29 Quantitative Chemical Analysis WH Freeman
ISBN 131915414X ISBN-13 9781319154141

The gold standard in analytical chemistry, Dan Harris Quantitative Chemical Analysis provides a sound physical understanding of the principles of analytical chemistry and their applications in the disciplines. Dan Harris presents the subject in a rigorous, readable and interesting manner, lucid enough for non-chemistry majors but containing the depth required by advanced undergraduates. For the first time since the book was published in 1978, Harris has worked with a new contributing author, Professor Chuck Lucy of the University of Alberta. Lucy shares his expertise and teaching experience in Chapters 23-26 on chromatography and capillary electrophoresis.

Recommended Reading
2018-08 British Pharmacopoeia British Pharmacopoeia
ISBN 0113230702 ISBN-13 9780113230709

Updated annually, the British Pharmacopoeia (BP) is the only comprehensive collection of authoritative official standards for UK pharmaceutical substances and medicinal products. It includes approximately 4,000 monographswhich are legally enforced by the Human Medicines Regulations 2012. Where a BP monograph exists, medicinal products or active pharmaceutical ingredients sold or supplied in the UK must comply with the relevant monograph.All monographs and requirements of the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.) are reproduced in the BP, making the BP a convenient and fully comprehensive set of standards that can be used across Europe and beyond.

Recommended Reading
2005 Standard Methods for the Examination of Water & Wastewater Ignatius Press
ISBN 0875530478 ISBN-13 9780875530475

"The Twenty-First Edition has continued the trend to revise methods as issues are identified and contains further refined quality assurance requirements in a number of Parts [sic] and new data on precision and bias. New methods have been added in Parts 2000, 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000, 8000, and 9000, and numerous methods have been revised. Details of these changes appear on the reverse of the title page for each part."--Pref. p. iv.

Recommended Reading
2014-01-01 Disposition of Toxic Drugs and Chemicals in Man
ISBN 0962652393 ISBN-13 9780962652394
Recommended Reading
2006-10 The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player Nelson Business
ISBN 0785288813 ISBN-13 9780785288817

Stating that great team players are developed from the inside out, an instructional resource identifies seventeen qualities that make up an in-demand team player while outlining how to embody those qualities.

Recommended Reading
2010-04-15 The Craft of Scientific Communication University of Chicago Press
ISBN 0226316629 ISBN-13 9780226316628

The ability to communicate in print and person is essential to the life of a successful scientist. But since writing is often secondary in scientific education and teaching, there remains a significant need for guides that teach scientists how best to convey their research to general and professional audiences. The Craft of Scientific Communication will teach science students and scientists alike how to improve the clarity, cogency, and communicative power of their words and images. In this remarkable guide, Joseph E. Harmon and Alan G. Gross have combined their many years of experience in the art of science writing to analyze published examples of how the best scientists communicate. Organized topically with information on the structural elements and the style of scientific communications, each chapter draws on models of past successes and failures to show students and practitioners how best to negotiate the world of print, online publication, and oral presentation.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

See Booklist

Additional useful reference texts:

Cole, M. D. (2003) The analysis of controlled substances, New York: Wiley.

Federal Bureau of, I. (2008) FBI handbook of crime scene forensics, New York: Skyhorse Pub.

Miller, J & Miller, J., Statistics & Chemometrics for Analytical Chemistry, 5th Ed., Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005.

Lucy, D., Introduction to Statistics for Forensic Scientists, Wiley, 2005.

Boyd, R. K., Basic, C. and Bethem, R. A. (2008) Trace quantitative chemical analysis by mass spectrometry, Chichester: Wiley.

Broekaert, J. A. C. (2002) Analytical atomic spectrometry with flames and plasmas, Weinheim: Wiley-VCH.Hill, S. J. (2007) Inductively coupled plasma spectrometry and its applications, Oxford: Blackwell Pub.

Jickells, S. and Negrusz, A. P. D. (2008) Clarke's analytical forensic toxicology, Chicago: Pharmaceutical Press.

White, P.C (Ed). Crime Scene to Court: The essentials of Forensic Science, (2nd Edition). Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2004.

Lee, Henry C. Cracking cases : the science of solving crimes  Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 2002

Evans, Colin. The Casebook of Forensic Detection: How Science Solved 100 of the World's Most Baffling Crimes Berkley Publishing Group; Updated edition (7 Aug 2007)

Journal Resources

Journal of Forensic Science. ISSN: 0022-1198. American Society for Testing and Materials

Other Resources

Forensic Science International: ISSN: 0379-0738. Elsevier Science Publishers Ltd

Rudram DA. Interpretation of scientific evidence. Science & Justice 1996; 36 (3): 133-138.

Instrumentation manuals; Instrument manufacturer on-line applications notes and help directories.

Additional Information