The University of Southampton

CHEM3047 Chemistry Literature and Mini-Research Projects

Module Overview

This module is comprised of two components: Firstly a practical course designed to extend the practical skills developed in years 1 and 2 of the Chemistry degree programmes and extend them through the completion of a series of advanced/open ended min-projects which will enable students to develop and demonstrate their ability to conduct an independent investigation, and secondly a dissertation to be completed by the student under the guidance of a supervisor. The dissertation may take the form of a literature review or other extended written report, the production of a web page or podcast, or other agreed format.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

(1) To allow students to apply previously learned practical skills in a more open ended context. (2) To develop students abilities to manage their own learning. (3) To apply core chemistry knowledge in advanced problem solving. (4) To develop students abilities to present their work in written format.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Communicate the results of an open ended investigation with clarity, both verbally and in writing, using appropriate scientific terminology.
  • Manage personal study time effectively to balance the different needs of practical and other project work.
  • Prepare risk assessments, for approval, in advance of any practical work.
  • Maintain a record of practical work to a professional standard.
  • Collate and analyse data from a variety of sources.
  • Work effectively as a member of a team as required.
  • Work independently towards achieving well defined objectives.
  • Identify key elements of the scientific literature that are relevant to a research area.


The course will comprise two parts: (a) Advanced practical skills (Minimum of 75 hours of laboratory time) - Completion of a series of laboratory and/or computational based experiments either independently or in groups. - Submission of reports in a variety of formats, which may include formal written reports, posters, and oral presentations. - The topics covered by the practical sessions will vary from year-to-year, but may include: Chemical biology, Chemical simulations, Computational chemistry, Electrochemisry, Mass spectrometry, Materials chemistry, NMR, Organometallic chemistry, Supramolecular chemistry, Synthetic organic chemistry, X-ray crystallography (b) Dissertation - Completion of an extended piece of written work. - Fortnightly meetings with supervisor(s), either independently or in groups. - Submission of the dissertation report.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Practical sessions Workshops and short lectures will be used to present key knowledge, concepts and a general framework of for the conduct of independent research. Tutorials Supervisory meetings one-to-one tuition to devise dissertation subject, set milestones, and review progress.

Project supervision8
Follow-up work38
Completion of assessment task40
Practical classes and workshops72
Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Wider reading or practice114
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Kirsty MacDonald. Key Skills for Scientists. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Dissertation 40%
Laboratory notebooks 10%
Practical write-ups 40%
Supervisor's evaluation 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 20%
Dissertation 80%

Linked modules


To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

CHEM2005Aspects of Organic Synthesis
CHEM2016Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry II
CHEM2015Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry I
CHEM2001Organic Reaction Mechanisms
CHEM2012Change and Equilibrium
CHEM2013Atomic and Molecular Interactions


To study this module, you will need to also study the following module(s):

CHEM3037Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM3038Advanced Organic Chemistry (Bioorganic)
CHEM3039Advanced Physical Chemistry
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