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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 14/03/2022 13:59:40

Title of Module: Forensic Investigation

Code: BIOL09016 SCQF Level: 9
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Health and Life Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:David  Thompson

Summary of Module

Forensic Investigation introduces students to the process and personnel required to investigate a crime from its discovery up to the point of deciding whether or not a case can proceed to court. The scenario used may be written, staged, or a combination of both, and represents an extended exercise in problem based learning. The scenario is rolled out in stages: physical evidence, toxicological evidence and “other” evidence. Students, working in small groups, will evaluate collecting and labelling evidence, and will then select which pieces of evidence to analyse and choose suitable techniques to analyse them. For each stage of the module students will then analyse the results of a selection of laboratory-based analyses of their evidence and record their findings. It is expected that these would include presumptive and confirmatory tests on drugs, blood and other body fluids as well as analyses to determine composition and content of body fluids, hair and other substances. The module is assessed by means of a written report, covering the investigation from start to finish including reports on results, and by a group presentation in defense of the report.

This module encourages critical thinking and requires students to be analytical and inquiring. Students need to work collaboratively and be creative problem solvers.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:




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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Describe the process of crime scene investigation

L2. Select appropriately controlled techniques to analyse evidence recovered from a created crime scene.

L3. Record observations in an appropriate, logical and understandable form.

L4. Present and justify findings in an impartial written report, and make a short oral presentation to defend such findings.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 9.

A broad and integrated knowledge and understanding of the scope, main areas, and boundaries of forensic investigation.

Knowledge that is detailed in some areas of forensic investigation.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 9.

Practising routine methods of enquiry and research appropriate to forensic investigation.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

Undertaking critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of ideas, concepts and information.

Identifying and analysing routine professional problems.

Drawing on a range of sources in making judgements.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

Using a range of IT applications to support and enhance work.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 9.

Exercising autonomy and initiative in some activities at a professional level.

Practising in ways which take account of own and others’ roles and responsibilities.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Forensic Evidence- Analysis and Retrieval
Forensic Analytical Techniques
Other:Any suitable level 7 module content
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The module is student-centred, problem based learning, with no formal lecture content. Working as part of a small team, students will process a crime scene (written, staged, or a combination of both) and make decisions about evidence to be collected and analysed. There may be practical sessions which may include evidence collection as well as laboratory-based analytical and preparatory work. Seminars will be used to improve students’ scientific writing and presentation skills and to encourage effective group work.

Students will be expected to integrate knowledge from several previous modules (including, but not limited to, Forensic Evidence:- analysis & retrieval, Level 8, Forensic Analytical Techniques, Level 9) in order to adequately process the evidence available, thus encouraging the development of skills in evidence evaluation.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery4
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity22
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop22
Independent Study152
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Jackson, A. & Jackson, J., Forensic Science, 3rd Edition, Pearson Education (2011)

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

Other resources will be available on the module VLE page

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
Attendance at synchronous sessions (lectures, workshops, and tutorials), completion of asynchronous activities, and submission of assessments to meet the learning outcomes of the module.

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardBiological Sciences and Health
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelBiology L7-11
ModeratorJane Tobias
External ExaminerA Tsaousis
Accreditation DetailsN/A
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Portfolio of written material (70%)
Group presentation (30%)
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Portfolio of written workcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark700

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Presentation check mark check mark304
Combined Total For All Components100% 4 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
In line with current legislation (Equality Act, 2010) and the UWS Equality, Diversity, and Human Rights Code, our modules are accessible and inclusive, with reasonable adjustment for different needs where appropriate. Module materials comply with University guidance on inclusive learning and teaching, and specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. Where modules require practical and/or laboratory based learning or assessment required to meet accrediting body requirements the University will make reasonable adjustment such as adjustable height benches or assistance of a ‘buddy’ or helper.
Please refer to the UWS Equality and Diversity Policy at the following link: UWS Equality and Diversity Policy

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.