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The University of Southampton

ELEC6259 Research Methods and Project Preparation

Module Overview

The Module will prepare students for the summer Research Project and research based coursework exercises. It will give students a grounding in the research methods and techniques necessary in order for planning and successful execution and completion of the project. The initial phase of the Module involves general research and the review of literature and the development of an understanding of the fields of research relevant to the Programme of Study. This continues with the identification of potential areas of research and discussion about research themes with the Programme Leader. The second phase begins with allocation to and negotiation with potential project supervisors. More detailed research and analysis methods are studied and a Project Plan is then developed. This plan and the concept of the project which will be presented in a poster presentation at the MSc Poster Conference at the end of the semester. The module also teaches students what it is to be a professional practitioner, examining ethical and legal issues around professional practice, as well as commercial, management and legal aspects for developing technologies.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Current and topical research relevant to the Programme of Studies
  • Legal, social, cultural and ethical issues, an awareness of societal and environmental impact, the importance of sustainable development and professional codes of practice
  • The concepts of project planning and risk management
  • The background and context for the subject of the summer project.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative research methods
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critical review of published literature (including awareness of current developments) by comparative analysis and the identification of limitations and avenues for further research and development
  • Identify and describe appropriate research questions, and devise the means to address those questions through subsequent research/project work
  • Construct a Project Plan based on research and discussion, incorporating appropriate methods, equipment, risk analysis and awareness of external factors such as ethical approval
  • Presentation of a project idea, context, and relevance to a public audience


The syllabus will develop skills required for students to be able to undertake research in the area of their identified summer project. It will also introduce them to specific tools, the appropriate research and data collection methods, as well as the quantitative or qualitative analytical methods required. It will also cover the planning and development methods necessary to deliver a viable Project Outline for the work over the summer term. Development of the project research topic: 1. Basic research and review: • Reading and summarising relevant articles • Critical analysis and evaluation of research • Identification of themes and comparators • Writing review documents 2. Experimental Design and Research • Experimental methods: Quantitative and Qualitative • Design methods • Simulation techniques • Data collection and management for quantitative data • Human participants: expert reviews, focus groups, questionnaires and interviews • Analytical techniques and tools • Statistical techniques for analysing data 3. Project management and formal writing • Project planning and management • Risk analysis • Report structure and style • Report writing The development of technology: 4. Ethical issues • Ethical and societal challenges • Positions and model of ethics • Business ethics and corporate responsibility • Sustainable development and manufacturing 5. Commercialisation of Research • Technology transfer • Business models and Technology • Entrepreneurship and Innovation 6. Legal and professional issues • Ownership, copyright and patent • Workplace legislation • Data protection • Privacy and security • Environmental responsibility • Health and Safety: Good practise and policy 7. Professional Conduct and Responsibility • Professional societies • Codes of conduct and practice

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Students will learn basic features via lectures and discussion tutorials. Through broader reading, they will gain an appreciation of the broader aspects of research and skills relevant to their Programme of Study. This will be supported by an assessed review activity and direct discussion and negotiation with academics in appropriate fields of research, leading to a topic for their dissertation. They will also participate in a planning exercise and coursework aimed at developing the topic more fully. They will then have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding and develop presentation skills via an assessed presentation at the MSc Conference.

Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Project supervision3
Completion of assessment task70
Wider reading or practice30
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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