Investigating the impact on skill development of an undergraduate scientific research skills course

Kay H Yeoman, Barbara Zamorski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes the design and subsequent impact of a scientific research skills course. Student understanding of the university research environment, their confidence in finding and using scientific literature and in scientific writing and presentation pre- and post-course was investigated. The findings suggested that understanding of the research environment and research process which was poor pre-course, improved after its completion. This increase in students’ understanding and confidence was also observed in their understanding of the research literature, and their ability to write scientifically and present scientific material. The students gave the course a high evaluation rating, praising the teaching and the transferable skills that it offered. The research projects carried out by the students were successful, but during the process it was found that those projects which were less well defined at the start and offered the opportunity to design research questions were more successful in the development of higher cognitive skills than projects which were highly defined at the start. The research project allowed the students to become emotionally attached to their work and this substantially increased their motivation to succeed. This enquiry based learning course provided a platform for the meeting of teaching and research and demonstrated a mutualistic symbiosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalBioscience Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008


  • research-led teaching
  • enquiry based learning
  • transferable skills

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