The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre SouthamptonUndergraduate study

SOES3035 Oceanography research training

Module Overview

This module has been designed to provide training in the key aspects relevant to carrying out successful research.

Aims and Objectives


  • To provide a portfolio of research and personal skills to effectively tackle level 4 independent research.
  • To develop skills in scientific data analysis and teamwork through tutor led groupwork based on existing data sets held at the NOCS.
  • To develop written, oral and visual communication skills to a high level.
  • To develop report writing skills through individual presentation of the data interpretation in written report.
  • To develop skills in critical evaluation of scientific literature and project management.
  • To develop personal effectiveness skills including time management, innovation, assertiveness, negotiation, feedback etc.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module you should be able to:

  1. Work effectively in teams and individually to analyse and interpret new scientific results.
  2. Assess the wider significance of these results, including any commercial applications and present preliminary results orally.
  3. Produce a thorough but concise scientific report describing the background, hypothesis being tested, aims/objectives of study, methodology, results, discussion of results and conclusions made from the data provided.
  4. Critically review the literature in a new area of science.
  5. Plan, cost and produce a proposal for a research project to be carried out in year 4.
  6. Effectively manage time pressures of research, identify the symptoms of stress and have a tested strategy to deal this, negotiate effectively with peers and supervisors, be able to provide constructive feedback to peers and supervisors.

Key Skills Acquired

  • Scientific data analysis
  • Scientific report writing
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Critical analysis of research literature
  • Project management
  • Personal effectiveness and professional skills


Seminars and workshops will be held throughout both semesters to cover material including report writing, time management, project management, presentation skills, hypothesis testing, experimental design, assessment of data quality and advanced statistical methods. Students will develop their writing skills through preparation of a ‘News and Views’ article based on a recent Nature publication. Students will then work in groups of ~6 to analyse existing datasets under the guidance of a tutor. Students will make regular presentations to the group throughout the semester. The results from this work will be presented as a 5000 word individual report.

Students will finalise their choice of level 4 project during semester 2 through discussions with prospective supervisors across the NOCS. A fully justified proposal for the project work will be prepared in semester 2.

Learning and Teaching

Study time allocation

Contact hours:40
Private study hours:260
Total study time: 300 hours

Teaching and learning methods

Tutorial Support: Meetings with team tutor.

Project Support: Meetings with level 4 project supervisor in semester 2.

Seminars/workshops: will be held in both semesters and will cover relevant material in scientific methods, science communication, time management and other professional skills.

Presentations: Students will make regular oral presentations of their work.

A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Resources and reading list


Much of the lecture material is summarised at Instructions for accessing this material will be given during the course.


Assessment methods

Coursework 100%:

Semester 1:

1000 word article (20%): in the style of a Nature 'News and Views' article summarising a recent 'Letter to Nature'. Tests learning outcome 4.

Group oral presentation (10 minutes) (peer assessed). Tests learning outcomes 1, 2 and 6

Semester 2

Individual report (5000 words) (60%). Tests learning outcome 3

Research proposal (6 pages) (20%). Tests learning outcome 5


Programmes in which this module is compulsory

Restricted and compulsory to the following programmes:

ProgrammeUCAS CodeProgramme length
MSci Marine BiologyF7034 years
MSci OceanographyF7004 years
MSci Ocean Chemistry38v24 years


Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Printing and copyingThe University printing costs are currently: A4 - 5p per side (black and white) or 25p per side (colour) A3 - 10p per side (black and white) or 50p per side (colour) Please Note: Paper sizes not recognised by the printing devices will prompt you to select the size and then charge a minimum of 50p per black and white copy and a maximum of £1 per colour copy. You can pay for your printing by using the money loaders or by using print copy payment service by going to Please remember that we are unable to refund any credit that has not been used by the end of your course, so please consider this when topping up your printing/copy account. The University Print Centre also offer a printing and copying service as well as a dissertation/binding service. Current printing and copying costs can be found here. They also provide a large format printing service, e.g. Academic posters. £0.05-1.00

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentIT - Data Storage: Students are expected to provide their own data storage device.
EquipmentIT - Data Storage: It is advisable that students provide their own laptop or personal computer, although shared facilities are available across the University campus.
FieldworkAccommodation: For compulsory residential field courses accommodation and travel are normally provided. You are usually expected to cover the costs of food and drink, although some courses may include meals. For optional field courses, you may be asked to make a contribution to the travel and/or accommodation costs.
FieldworkInsurances: Although travel insurance is covered by the University high risk items for example laptops and mobile phones will require separate personal insurance.
FieldworkTravel: For compulsory residential field courses accommodation and travel are normally provided. You are usually expected to cover the costs of food and drink, although some courses may include meals. For optional field courses, you may be asked to make a contribution to the travel and/or accommodation costs.
StationeryA ruler, a pair of compasses, set squares, protractor, pencils (including coloured), eraser, calculator, penknife.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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