USQ LogoCourse specification
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

SCI4405 Research Practice and Ethics

Semester 1, 2013 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Biological & Physical Sciences
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: John Dearnaley
Moderator: Mark Lynch


In the contemporary world, science and technology are increasingly seen as fundamental for human progress and survival. As the power of technology has increased, ethical considerations in the practice of science have become a critical component in the interaction between science and society. Additionally, the limited ability of society to support scientific research has led to ever increasing competition for these resources and emphasised the need for skills in both scientific communication and information technology. This course is designed to allow students to appreciate the role of philosophy and ethics in the practice of science and to be aware of, and develop, a range of communication skills required to successfully pursue a career in scientific research.


This course is designed to allow students to appreciate the role of communication skills required in the successful pursuit of a career in scientific research and to appreciate the role of philosophy in science. The modular structure of the course is designed to allow the student to develop skills in particular aspects of scientific communication. Topics include: computer based information retrieval, experimental design and analysis, verbal and written scientific communication skills (debates, seminars, posters and papers) and, the interaction between science and society with an emphasis on the philosophy of science.


On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate skills in conference presentations;
  2. demonstrate skills in the written presentation of scientific data;
  3. demonstrate skills in the preparation and presentation of research grant applications;
  4. use computerised data base searching facilities;
  5. demonstrate an understanding of the varieties of scientific method and their historical evolution.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Database Searching and Referencing 5.00
2. Scientific Writing 15.00
3. Criticism in Science/Peer Review Exercises 15.00
4. Ethical Issues in Science I 10.00
5. Ethical Issues in Science II 10.00
6. Funding for Research 10.00
7. Experimental Design and Analysis 10.00
8. Conference Presentation 15.00
9. Philosophy of Science 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • American journal of bioethics.
  • Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching, Adelaide 2008, anzccart HUMANE SCIENCE,
  • Briscoe, MH 1996, Preparing scientific illustrations - a guide to better posters, 2nd edn, Springer-Verlag, New York.
    (ISBN 0-387-94581-4.)
  • Day, RA 2006, How to write and publish a scientific paper, 6th edn, Greenwood Press, Westport, CN.
    (ISBN 0 521 36760 3.)
  • Moreno, JD (ed.) 2003, In the wake of terror: Medicine and morality in a time of crisis, Cambridge, MIT, London, Massachusetts.
  • Pechenik, JA 2009, A short guide to writing about Biology, 7th edn, Pearson Longman, Boston.
  • Williams, B 2007, Animal welfare and ethics, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane,

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Online Tutorials 20.00
Private Study 140.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
MODULE 2: ASSIGNMENT 1 33 26 Feb 2013 (see note 1)
MODULE 3: ASSIGNMENT 1 33 26 Feb 2013 (see note 2)
MODULE 8: SEMINAR 1 34 26 Feb 2013 (see note 3)

  1. Further details about the due dates and assessments for Modules 2, 3 and 8 will be provided by the Examiner.
  2. Further details about the due dates and assessments for Modules 2, 3 and 8 will be provided by the Examiner.
  3. Further details about the due dates and assessments for Modules 2, 3 and 8 will be provided by the Examiner.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each of the assessment items satisfactorily, students must obtain the one mark available for that assessment item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    All students who satisfy the requirements of the course will be given a grade of P. Other students will be given either a Fail grade or an incomplete grade.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There will be no Deferred or Supplementary examinations in this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.