BSc Anatomical Sciences / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Anatomy RSM

Unit code BIOL20912
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


This Research Skills Module is designed to develop your experimental design, report writing and practical skills. Working in the Dissection Room under the supervision of Anatomy staff you will develop a range of skills including dissection, microscopy, the comparative method, living anatomy and morphometrics. Working as part of a group you will design and carry out a research project where you will use either dissection or morphometrics to perform an in-depth study of an area of gross anatomy.



Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Body Systems BIOL10811 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Human Sciences EDM BIOL21061 Co-Requisite Recommended
Human Anatomy & Histology BIOL21291 Co-Requisite Compulsory
BIOL20912 Pre & Co-requisites are BIOL10811 & BIOL21291

BIOL20912 Pre & Co-requisites are BIOL10811 & BIOL21291


To give students the opportunity to make an ‘in depth’ investigation of an area of human or comparative anatomy after gaining appropriate skills. To design and devise approaches for the scientific presentation of anatomical findings for research purposes, while working as a member of a team.

Learning outcomes

To be able to:

•       Use a diverse range of anatomical references and the primary literature

•       Appreciate anatomical variation and know how to evaluate it

•       Conceive and execute a dissection or morphometric analysis of the anatomy of humans or other vertebrates

•       Collect, analyse and present data in a format for publication

•       Gain an ‘in depth’ understanding of an aspect of human or comparative anatomy


Morphological Research Skills

  • Dissection and observation
  • Working with prosected specimens
  • Living anatomy: surface features; muscle groups; sounds
  • Microscopy and histology
  • Interpreting transverse sections and CT images
  • Evolutionary morphology
  • Geometric morphometrics
  • Anatomical variation and measurement (anthropometry, somatotyping and ergonomics)
  • Mini-project planning

Students work in groups of 2 to 4 to produce a research study. Most projects will be undertaken in the Dissecting Room in consultation with Anatomy staff but the data for the morphometric projects may be collected elsewhere.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students have to analyse their quantitative data using appropriate statistical tests. They also have to consider which is the best way to present that data verbally, through prose and in graphical form.
Group/team working
Working in small groups to answer scientific questions through dissection, analysis of CT images, histological slides, collecting and analysing morphometric data, etc.
Students are given a project outline. After that it is up to them to come up with scientific questions and devise ways to answer them through research.
The mini-projects are intended to be collaborative efforts for groups of two to four students. Nevertheless, some students may embrace a leadership role whilst undertaking them.
Project management
Establishing research questions and managing time, direction and methodology appropriately to answer them during the mini-projects.
Oral communication
Communicating scientific research questions, experimental design and research findings.
Problem solving
Students have to ask scientific questions and work out how to collect repeatable data to answer them, how to test that data, how best to analyse that data, and then how to interpret their findings.
Students carry out mini-projects which allow them to come up with and test scientific questions using methodologies appropriate to anatomical research including dissection, landmark analyses, etc.
Written communication
Communicating scientific research, questions, experimental design and research findings.
How to carry out blunt and sharp dissection; perform morphometric analyses; interpret CT scans; investigate pathologies using histology; develop an understanding of ergonomics; and answer evolutionary questions using anatomical data.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 15%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%
Oral assessment/presentation 15%
Practical skills assessment 20%

Morphological research skills practicals (20%)
Individual mini-project report (50%)
Group PowerPoint presentation (15%)
Group show & tell and project performance mark (15%)

RSM Attendance guidelines

Students are expected to attend all scheduled RSM sessions on time (N.B. Health and safety information will be delivered at the start of practical sessions, and students who are not present at the start may be asked to leave the lab). Students who arrive late will be marked as absent for that session. Failure to attend a session (an unauthorised absence) will result in a 10% (i.e. 10 mark) penalty being applied to the overall RSM mark (i.e. a student obtaining a mark of 65% overall will instead receive a mark of 55%). Furthermore, any students who miss a practical session will not receive a mark for any associated post-lab assessment (N.B. this mark will be removed before calculating the average post-lab mark to avoid a student being penalised twice). Further absences will result in further penalties (i.e. 2 absences = a penalty of 20% (as described above)).



Feedback methods

Written feedback on the mini-project presentation, performance and report will be given.

Recommended reading

  • Gosling, JA (2008) Atlas of Human Anatomy (5th edition). Mosby
  • Kardong, KV (2012) Vertebrates: Comparative Anatomy, Function, Evolution (6th edition). McGraw-Hill
  • Moore KL, Dalley AF & Agur AMR (2009) Clinically Oriented Anatomy (6th edition). Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
  • Pansky, B & Gest, TR (2011) Lippincott's Concise Illustrated Anatomy: Back, Upper Limb and Lower Limb. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
  • Snell, RS (2011) Clinical Anatomy by Regions (9th edition). Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 2
Practical classes & workshops 58
Independent study hours
Independent study 40

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Stefan Gabriel Unit coordinator

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