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The University of Southampton

ENVS1007 Environmental Field Techniques and Applications

Module Overview

This module is designed to provide you with hands-on experience of a wide range of contemporary environmental issues and techniques, and an understanding of how we make use of the scientific method to understand the challenges facing the world. The module is divided into two main components. During the first part you will learn key field-based techniques relevant to Environmental Science. These may include units covering carbon footprinting, microplastic sampling, invertebrate sampling and identification, and forestry data collection. In addition to the core science, you will also focus on the logistical challenges of undertaking a research project such as assessing risk and ensuring you work ethically. During the second part of the module you will undertake a group research project, during which you will put into practice the skills learnt in the core Environmental Science curriculum across the first year.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • The need for both a multi-disciplinary and an interdisciplinary approach in advancing knowledge and understanding of Earth systems, drawing, as appropriate, from the natural and the social sciences
  • The processes which shape the natural world at different temporal and spatial scales and their influence on and by human activities
  • The terminology, nomenclature and classification systems used in environmental science
  • Methods of acquiring, interpreting and analysing environmental science information with a critical understanding of the appropriate contexts for their use
  • Issues concerning the availability and sustainability of resources, for example, the different value sets relating to the Earth's resources as commodities and/or heritage
  • The contribution of environmental science to debate on environmental issues and how knowledge of these forms the basis for informed concern about the Earth and its people
  • The contribution of environmental science to the development of knowledge of the world we live in
  • The applicability of environmental science to the world of work
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles
  • Analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research
  • Collecting and integrating several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses
  • Applying knowledge and understanding to complex and multidimensional problems in familiar and unfamiliar contexts
  • Recognising the moral and ethical issues of investigations and appreciating the need for professional codes of conduct
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Receiving and responding to a variety of information sources (e.g. textual, numerical, verbal, graphical)
  • Developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (e.g. working independently, time management and organisation skills)
  • Identifying and working towards targets for personal, academic and career development
  • Developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work
  • Communicating appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical forms
  • Appreciating issues of sample selection, accuracy, precision and uncertainty during collection, recording and analysis of data in the field and laboratory
  • Preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and packages including geographic information systems
  • Solving numerical problems using computer and non-computer-based techniques
  • Using the internet critically as a means of communication and a source of information
  • Identifying individual and collective goals and responsibilities and performing in a manner appropriate to these roles
  • Recognising and respecting the views and opinions of other team members
  • Evaluating performance as an individual and a team member
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Planning, conducting, and reporting on environmental investigations, including the use of secondary data
  • Collecting, recording and analysing data using appropriate techniques in the field and laboratory
  • Undertaking field and laboratory investigations in a responsible and safe manner, paying due attention to risk assessment, rights of access, relevant health and safety regulations, and sensitivity to the impact of investigations on the environment and stakeholders
  • Referencing work in an appropriate manner


This module integrates the practical lab, field and statistical skills covered in other core ENVS modules. Working in groups, you will gain experience in developing ideas and questions into well-designed, feasible environmental science research projects. The first part of the module will guide you through this process in a range of environmental topics such as ecology, forestry, river and coast management, and human impacts on the natural environment (note: exact content covered may vary). During the latter part of the module you will design and implement your own group research project related to a topic of your choosing. You will work as a group to collect your data; the analysis and write up will be an individual exercise.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module includes a significant amount of field and lab-work, both as part of guided tutorial style sessions and also as part of your group research project. This will be supported by lectures, and also planning, analysis and write-up workshops. In addition, students will undertake self-directed learning and private study to complement the practical and taught material.

Follow-up work12
Preparation for scheduled sessions12
Project supervision7
Completion of assessment task62
Specialist Laboratory 3
Practical classes and workshops2
Wider reading or practice24
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio 40%
Report  ( words) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Report 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


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:

Travel Costs for placements

You will need to provide and wear your own suitable clothing when working in the field, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots. You can purchase these from any source and costs will vary depending on your preference. You will be expected to purchase your own lunch and any additional refreshments.

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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