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The University of Southampton

ENGL1087 Group Research Project

Module Overview

Do we really work better alone? Francis Bacon wrote that when a man discusses his ideas with a friend, ‘he waxeth wiser than himself; and that more by an hour’s discourse, than by a day’s meditation’. On this module, you will have the opportunity to benefit from ‘faithful counsel’ and ‘friendly discourse’ by working as part of a small group. You will choose from a range of broad subject areas, each of which is led by a lecturer who specialises in the field. You will then work together in small groups to choose and develop your own research project, presenting it to your peers and then drafting, redrafting and revising a group essay online. Finally you will reflect individually on the entire process. The module gives you time and opportunity to experiment with different approaches and arguments, to offer and receive feedback, and to reflect upon the processes of your group and individual work. It aims to give you a good foundation in research, criticism, presentation skills, and writing, essential not only for the rest of your degree, but for your future careers. And it shows how the study of English literature can be personally rewarding by being collaborative and sociable, rather than solitary.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Introduce you to the process of carrying out a supervised research project as part of a group and/or with a tutor;
  • Encourage you to reflect on the issues involved, and present your research orally and in writing;
  • Enable you to develop a set of skills necessary to your degree, including interpersonal skills, initiative, an awareness of the university’s research environment, and a developing sense of self-awareness.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Explore your own strengths and skills as a researcher in literary studies and as a member of a team.
  • Research and plan a literary project, as an individual and in a tutor group.
  • Design an English literature project framework appropriate to your tutor group’s chosen theme and activities
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Work effectively and creatively as a member of a team, on a group project.
  • Communicate clarity of thought and expression in tutor group activities and individual self-reflection.
  • Present a project effectively in written, visual and oral presentation form.


Working in a group of usually six students and under the guidance of your tutor, you will: choose, define, and design a research project; design and prepare a suitable form of public presentation (whether live, videoed, or online); and write both a group research essay, and an individual reflective account. You will be offered introductory lectures on research techniques, written and oral presentation, group working, and ethical issues that affect the success of groups, such as unconscious bias and equal opportunities. You will have regular support and guidance from your group’s tutor, but you will also be expected to use your initiative, both in contributing to the success of your group’s activities and in your individual work.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

A mix of formal lectures and seminars, with face-to-face and online group activities, in which tutors have an important though non-directional role, will help facilitate self-directed learning and promote a good understanding amongst students of different methods for receiving and also giving feedback. You will learn to work with each other with a view to producing a lively and informative group presentation; you will then develop this research in a group research essay. Finally, you will reflect as an individual on what you have learned during the module, both about the subject of your researches and yourself as a researcher, collaborator, and writer. This iterative method will help you develop as an independent learner and confident communicator.

Follow-up work44
Preparation for scheduled sessions3
Supervised time in studio/workshop10
Project supervision12
Completion of assessment task80
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Daniel Kahneman (2012). Thinking fast and slow. 

Paulo Freire. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. 

Meena Thuraisingham, The Secret life of decisions: how unconscious bias subverts your judgement.

Collectivo Situaciones (2003). On the Researcher Militant. Transversal. .

(May, 2011). Excellence in Teams : How to Achieve Performance Gains in Working Groups. Journal of Managerial Psychology. ,26, Issue 3 .


Assessment Strategy



Group presentation


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual essay  (2000 words) 60%
Portfolio  (1000 words) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 60%
Portfolio  (1000 words) 40%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal


Costs associated with this module

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:

Books and Stationery equipment

Costs for this module will not exceed £40.

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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