The University of Southampton
Courses

SOES6039 MSc Research Project

Module Overview

The MSc project will entail four months of full-time work investigating a topic related to marine/Earth/environmental science, and culminating in the submission of a dissertation. The project is conducted on a novel question, often associated with a larger research project being conducted by staff within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and/or NOCS Strategic Research Divisions, or with an external organisation. The project draws on a literature review (undertaken as part of SOES 6018) on a general area of the research question, providing the background to understanding the issues associated with the research. The literature review also provides material suitable for the introduction to the dissertation. You will also submit a research proposal, outlining the plans for your project and its significance, for assessment before the project period (this must be signed by the project supervisor). The project can be focussed on existing data, or may require the collection of new data, or can aim to develop and test a new method. You will present a seminar on the results of your project towards the end of the dissertation period.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To provide an opportunity for original and independent research, including both practical and theoretical components, on a topic in the marine/Earth/environmental sciences. • To develop and tune skills in time management. • To develop skills in formulating testable hypotheses. • To develop skills in critically assessing different possible lines of research and methods available, towards addressing specific project objectives. • To develop skills in preparing research proposals • To develop skills in technical writing • To develop skills in delivering a research seminar to a scientific audience. The School of Ocean and Earth Science (SOES) is strongly committed to providing the very best learning experience to all our students in a friendly and stimulating environment that supports all diversity.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify novel research areas.
  • Time management.
  • Critical analysis of research literature.
  • Research skills.
  • Oral presentation.
  • Plan and carry out a research project with appropriate allowance for the time available.
  • Design analysis procedures suited to the testing of specific hypotheses.
  • Produce a written scientific dissertation.
  • Clearly discuss the nature and conclusions of the Project, with reference to the original objectives/hypotheses.
  • Prepare an effective research proposal.
  • Present a research seminar
  • Scientific writing.
  • Scientific method

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

• You will work in consultation with a project supervisor(s) to develop and execute the research. • You will identify a project of interest together with a potential supervisor from a published list of research titles and summaries. • Initial planning and the development of the project occur through regular meetings with your supervisor, who also offers suitable advice on data analysis, interpretation and presentation. • Your progress is monitored by the project supervisor. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

TypeHours
Independent Study540
Teaching60
Total study time600

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

• Research Project (80%): A 50 page dissertation (including figures and tables, excluding bibliography and appendices) investigating a research question. The project report should be submitted at the end of September. It will be marked by two internal examiners (the supervisor and one other – at least one to be a member of SOES academic staff). Following the moderation of dissertation marks by the external examiners a final mark is awarded. Tests Learning Outcomes 1-5 • Research proposal (10%): A description of the planned work and its significance, following a form that mimics those used by funding agencies and submitted prior to the project period. Tests Learning Outcome 6 • Project seminar (10%): A Presentation of the results of the project, given at a NOCS event held towards the end of the dissertation period. Tests Learning Outcome 7

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Research project 80%
Research proposal 10%
Seminar 10%
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