The University of Southampton
Courses

FEEG6023 Individual Research Project

Module Overview

This module is a 30 credit independent research project allows you to embark on a program of independent reading that will help prepare you for their PhD or EngD project in the second and subsequent years of the program. The module is offered in association with the iPhD, Engd(s) and Centres for Doctoral Training run by the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment. This 30-credit assessment is coursework-only: a single 7500-word report written in the style of an extended journal paper. It is not compulsory to include a practical component, but many of the better projects will do so. An example would be attempting to replicate a relevant simulation model from the literature or an area of experimental work. You should read this document in conjunction with the related module outlines: Individual Research Review (7.5ECTS/15CATS) and Individual Research Exercise (2.5ECTS/5CATS) to ensure that you have selected the most appropriate module for your needs. Important dates for the module: There are three major milestones: submitting a project brief, submitting a draft report, and submitting the final report. You should agree these submission dates with your supervisor at the outset. This module can be studied during both S1 or S2 to allow you to manage your workload on other required modules.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

- Imparting practical advice on technical writing skills, with an emphasis on you writing papers for academic journals of relevance to Engineering and the Physical Sciences. - Key concepts, tools, issues, challenges and/or approaches within the general area of your research. - Allowing you to place your own work in the wider context of your research area. - Giving you the opportunity to discover academic research relevant to your area of interest and to précis critical points of current knowledge. This will include substantive findings, as well as theoretical and methodological contributions to a particular topic. - Paving the way for the preparation of a literature review to situate your current study within the body of literature and to provide context for your reader.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Fundamental writing and research skills.
  • Formulating strong research questions.
  • The process of writing an academic paper.
  • The structure and writing style required for academic papers.
  • How to communicate in the context of research.
  • How to tailor your communication to a specialist or non-specialist audience.
  • The key components of selecting and summarising contextual academic papers of relevance to Engineering and the Physical Sciences.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an improved awareness of how to communicate the context of research with emphasis on the relevance to an audience.
  • Display an improved ability to communicate research findings to internal and external audiences.
  • Précis the work of others.
  • Study and learn independently, solve problems systematically.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Develop and advance scientific theories.
  • Appreciate the role of models in science.
  • Determine criteria for a desired communication with a particular audience.
  • Analyse and summarise the work of others in a relevant context.
  • Apply standard techniques to achieve satisfactory performance in writing and presentation skills within an engineering and scientific community.

Syllabus

To allow you to develop and demonstrate mastery of an advanced aspect of research relevant to your research, including critical evaluation of current research and research methods, and an awareness of the current limits of knowledge in this aspect of the discipline. You will be assigned at least one supervisor, based on your declared interests. Together you must agree on a research area that is relevant to your PhD and of appropriate scale and scope, and decide on a set of materials to draw upon. These materials should include significant articles relevant to the chosen topic and may also include attending classes taught as part of relevant modules that are being delivered concurrently, where the agreement of the module leader(s) has been obtained. Between them, these materials should provide a representative background to the chosen research area, allowing you to carry out a critical review of it. In many cases this research exercise will allow you to explore and familiarise yourself with a new domain and/or new set of methods. Your research should be written up in the style of a self-contained journal paper indicating the background to the problem, the approaches that have been taken and the methods that have been applied, and an evaluation of these approaches and methods, indicating any outstanding unsolved issues and problems. Additional materials that cannot be included in the body of the "journal paper" (e.g., extended literature review, additional figures, extended discussions, technical appendices) may be included in one or more appendices that do not count towards the word count. You are recommended to follow the following structure, or similar, for your research project report: - Articulation of research question/problem area - Context/literature review - Research methodology - Project outcome/results - Critical appraisal and evaluation - References - Appendices as required This project is not required to have a practical element but the highest scoring projects typically do. It might be appropriate, for example: - to compare, in a uniform framework, two or more approaches - to replicate and/or extend work from one or more of the surveyed articles - to conduct a self-contained set of experiments

Special Features

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Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods will include tutorials and problem solving. Learning activities include directed reading, case studies, student directed problem solving and presentations, peer-to-peer learning networks to facilitate cohort cohesion.

TypeHours
Project supervision12
Follow-up work18
Completion of assessment task45
Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Wider reading or practice201
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Melanie Mitchell (2009). Complexity: A Guided Tour. 

Research Methodology.  Please note that we have supporting on-line materials (e.g. Epigeum) on this subject that is accessed via Blackboard which you may find helpful. Please go to Blackboard, open 'Research Skills for Postgraduate Researchers', click on 'Training Materials' on the left hand side, then 'Managing Your Research' and you will find 'Research Methods in the Sciences/ Social Sciences/ Arts and Humanities'

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

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Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  ( words) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Attendance and contribution - It is expected that your success will be influenced by your attendance at supervisory meetings and your contribution to the debate.

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