The University of Southampton
Courses

SOES6030 MSci Advanced Independent Research Project

Module Overview

You will be required to undertake an individual research project in year 4. This could involve an external organisation (e.g. industry or research institution) or be hosted by one of the NOCS Research Groups. Candidates are expected to take the initiative in defining their topics and contacting supervisors and external sponsors to develop appropriate and challenging research projects tailored to their specific interests.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Aims • To develop skills in design and execution of a research project on an individual basis. • To provide training in project management. • To develop communication skills, written, oral, and visual, to a high level. • To develop skills necessary for self-managed and life-long learning (e.g. independent working, time management and organisation skills). • To develop an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Design and execution of a large-scale project, including literature searching and data analysis.
  • Development and implementation of strategies for data collection (e.g. field, boat, laboratory, archive, industry) and analysis
  • Operation of a range of sophisticated scientific equipment.
  • A high level of proficiency of written, oral, and visual communication
  • An ability to work independently, manage time and organize activities.
  • An ability to adopt an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work.
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Plan a scientific project with appropriate allowances for the time necessary to complete each stage.
  • Undertake a literature survey focused upon a specific research area.
  • Employ an effective information searching strategy.
  • Effectively abstract information from long technical papers.
  • Produce a scientific synthesis and analysis of data gathered during execution of a project.
  • Produce a substantial, well organised and written scientific report and defend it under viva examination.
  • Present technical reports in a variety of formats and understand that reports have to be at the appropriate level for a specified audience.
  • Deliver an oral presentation with appropriate visual aids and to appreciate the role of information technology in delivering presentations.

Syllabus

Project work may be undertaken in the Summer between years 3 and 4, particularly if associated with an external sponsor. Geology students are expected to undertake at least two weeks work on their project during the summer. Past experience has shown that the final year of the MSci degrees is extremely busy. Starting the project during the summer prior to this last year can be a substantial advantage. The project should apply scientific methodology to the investigation and interpretation of geological or geophysical by practical, field, database, and/or laboratory-based research programmes. Projects can involve hands-on use of research equipment to conduct a practical, laboratory-based investigation allowing you to test the theories/practices encountered during lectures. Projects may also be designed utilising data and/or material collected during field/boatwork. Communication skills will be developed in a variety of ways through seminar presentation, computer graphics, and the writing of results for a variety of different audiences (e.g. dissertation, high impact science journal, general public). A short-course course on popular scientific writing will be held in the first semester.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning methods You are encouraged to develop your own project supported by an internal Project Supervisor. The establishment of a suitable project should begin in your third year. You will be responsible for planning the project based on a structured program determined with supervisory support. You will undertake a library search and review of appropriate literature, then acquire data via the methodology previously determined. You will analyse the data and then write a project report. It is essential that you hold regular meetings with your Project Supervisor (and any external sponsors) to ensure that appropriate research directions are being undertaken and these meetings will provide feedback on progress. The precise way in which a project operates can vary considerably (e.g. it may involve an industrial link or external research institute). You must, however, always maintain close links with your academic project supervisor(s) to ensure appropriate directions are being taken. To develop your communication skills you will re-write aspects of your research project as a scientific communication for a specialist scientific journal (e.g.Geology, Nature), and as an article for consumption by the general public (e.g. New Scientist). Candidates will also present their research project to a public audience of their peers and research staff with a short scientific talk. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

TypeHours
Seminar3
Independent Study419
Lecture3
Total study time425

Resources & Reading list

Blackboard. The lecture material is summarised at blackboard.soton.ac.uk. Instructions for accessing this material will be given during the course.

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Article 10%
Field notebook 10%
Research Report  (10000 words) 70%
Seminar presentation 10%
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