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BMS1042 - Biomedical sciences and society

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Professor Robert Burton (Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine)


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


Applications of epidemiological and statistical methods to typical problems from biomedical literature. Ethical and legal issues, especially the terms set out by society for the conduct of biomedical endeavour. Much emphasis is placed on epidemiological principles, research study design, diagnostic and screening tests and statistical analysis of data.


On successful completion of this unit, students will

  1. Understand why statistics are used
  2. Understand the different forms of biomedical data
  3. Be able to present biomedical data as summary statistics and in a graphical form
  4. Understand basic statistical methods and when to apply them
  5. Understand how these relate to more complex statistical methods
  6. Be able to interpret statistical results from biomedical literature
  7. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of different epidemiological study designs which form the building blocks of human research models
  8. Be able to critically appraise biomedical literature
  9. Understand what is meant by an ethical judgement or value
  10. Understand the place of ethics in medicine and biology and how this is shaped by society and the media
  11. Understand how research ethics applies to humans and animals
  12. Understand how ethical considerations are translated into legislation


Written examination: 50%
Critical appraisal of biomedical literature: 25%
Research Study Design: 25%

Contact hours

Biostatistics 3 hours per week, Epidemiology/Ethics 3 Hours per week


Must be enrolled in course code 2230; 2341; 2999, 3356; 3404; 3445; 3528; 3804; 3855; or 3879.