The University of Southampton
Courses

FEEG6018 Professional and Research Skills

Module Overview

This module provides you with a generic professional and research skills base to build upon during your studies. Study is divided into a number of complementary elements including, for example, “Technical Writing Skills”, “Presenting Your Research”, “Research Methodology for Scientists & Engineers” and “Ethics and Research Data Management”. Some topics are delivered in partnership with The Doctoral College Professional Development Programme that has been established to enhance the University's central provision for postgraduate researchers. Working alongside the academic disciplines, the Programme fosters best practice in researcher development and delivers a range of skills training and personal development opportunities to meet the needs of researchers from across the disciplines. The sections that you study will depend upon the programme on which you are enrolled (see below). With advice from your Programme Director, you select to enrol on additional elements that best fulfil your individual training requirements. Most training activities are timetabled throughout the academic year. The lectures are complemented by examples and opportunities to practice, in which techniques are highlighted to enhance competency in the areas being studied. Coursework is used to provide both formative and summative assessment. Presentations and summative peer feedback is used to develop application skills.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

- Imparting practical advice on technical writing skills, with an emphasis on you writing papers for academic journals of relevance to Engineering and the Physical Sciences. - Allowing you opportunities to practise presentation skills, following advice and instruction, emphasising presentation issues relevant to Engineering and Science disciplines. - Placing your own work in the wider context of your research area. - Giving you the opportunity to discover academic research relevant to your area of interest and to précis critical points of current knowledge. This will include substantive findings, as well as theoretical and methodological contributions to a particular topic. - Paving the way for the preparation of a literature review to situate your current study within the body of literature and to provide context for your reader.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Fundamental writing, presentation and research skills.
  • Formulating strong research questions.
  • The process of writing an academic paper.
  • The structure and writing style required for academic papers.
  • How to communicate in the context of research.
  • How to tailor your communication to a specialist or non-specialist audience.
  • The key components of selecting and summarising contextual academic papers of relevance to Engineering and the Physical Sciences.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Develop and advance scientific theories.
  • Appreciate the role of models in science.
  • Determine criteria for a desired communication with a particular audience.
  • Analyse and summarise the work of others in a relevant context.
  • Apply standard techniques to achieve satisfactory performance in writing and presentation skills within an engineering and scientific community.Apply standard techniques to achieve satisfactory performance in writing and presentation skills within an engineering and scientific community.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Design experiments to test their hypotheses.
  • Demonstrate an improved awareness of how to communicate the context of research with emphasis on the relevance to an audience.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Display an improved ability to communicate research findings to internal, external and nonspecialist audiences.
  • Précis the work of others
  • Study and learn independently, solve problems systematically

Syllabus

Compulsory Activities for All: C1 Technical Writing Skills Delivered in partnership with The Doctoral College Professional Development Programme using experienced Faculty staff, the session consists of a full one-day of face-to-face contact. Practical advice will be given on technical writing with an emphasis on writing papers for academic journals of relevance to Engineering and the Physical Sciences. C2 Presenting Your Research, Delivered in partnership with The Doctoral College Professional Development Programme using experienced Faculty staff, the session consists of two half days of face-to-face teaching. Practical advice is given, followed by the opportunity to practise your presentation skills before an audience of your peers and an academic tutor. There will be an emphasis on presentation issues of relevance to Engineering and Science disciplines, e.g. how to make presentations to industry and at a technical conference. You will also deliver a further longer technical presentation later in the year in either a technical seminar series or appropriate conference environment where individual feedback will be given by your tutor and an independent assessor. C3 Research Methodology for Scientists & Engineers Delivered in partnership with The Doctoral College Professional Development Programme using experienced Faculty staff, the session consists of a full one-day of face-to-face teaching. This element poses a question for new researchers: just what does it mean to "do science"? The session begins with a brief historical overview of the scientific enterprise and then introduces students to major issues in the philosophy of science. C4 Ethics and Research Data Management An understanding of the topics of Ethics and Research Data Management are a high priority for the University and its research community. You will be expected to attend compulsory training (provided by the Graduate School in conjunction with the Doctoral College). Data comes in many forms: small, large, simple, complex and colourful. The first session introduces the forms data can take by showing five ways of looking at data, presents some case studies of data usage in an attempt to illustrate the types of data you might encounter in your research and give you some tips or tricks that will help you in your own discipline. In addition, you will be required to complete an online Ethics Quiz to evidence a basic understanding that you can build upon during your studies. Attendance will be logged as evidence of completion. Additional Compulsory Activities for EngD/SIS C5 Constructing a Literature Review Individual guidance will be given on literature research, analysis and presentation of work. You will undertake both directed and self-directed literature research and reading. Guided by your tutor, you will develop your ability to distil the essence of at least three academic papers and summarise the content for an academic audience (1250 words). The aim is to help support and provide formal guidance in producing a scientific literature review on your topic of interest. This will be further developed at subsequent progression milestones, e.g. production of upgrade thesis and final thesis. C6: Participating in a Research Community The Graduate School has high expectations of its research students. You are ambassadors of the University and are expected to participate in and enhance your community. Regular attendance at an appropriate technical seminar series is required. Participation in a minimum of 6 technical seminars in year one will be expected, together with appropriate attendance and participation in courses offered by the Doctoral College. You will be expected to prepare a short report for submission to the Module Co-ordinator. The work will take the form of a personal reflection of your progress over the first year of study (c1250 words), including information on your development needs discussed at your initial academic needs analysis. You will be able to log the professional and research skills courses that you attended and finally provide a short review of your achievements, learning and development. C7: EngD/SIS Conference Participation You will be expected to actively participate in the annual student conference for EngD/SIS students. Participation may include, for example, planning the event (when it is staged at Southampton); organising travel (when held elsewhere); preparing a presentation or poster; assisting on the day of the conference as required. Additional Compulsory Activities for ESA C8 Understanding the role of computation in industry Visitors and representatives from industrial and other NGCM partners will present computational challenges in the context of their organisation, and introduce topics for the NGCM summer project. Presentations are scheduled in semester 1, with normally two presentations per week. You will be expected to participate in writing and contribution to an online blog. C9 Preparation of the Summer Project After the allocation of summer projects, you will use Semester 2 to start to familiarise yourself with the topic. Following an introductory meeting with your summer project supervisor, you will create a brief literature and background review to contextualise your upcoming project work in the research field and discuss the constraints affecting the project. You will produce a written report (~1250)to summarise the summer project topic.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods will include lectures, tutorial and problem solving classes. Learning activities include directed reading, case studies, student directed problem solving and presentations, peer-to-peer learning networks to facilitate cohort cohesion.

TypeHours
Teaching63
Independent Study87
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

For resources which are required or considered useful for the module: key texts, text books, data books, software, web sites, other sources of related information.. https://sharepoint.soton.ac.uk/sites/hr/Online/360%20feedback/Communicators%20Pbk.pdf https://sharepoint.soton.ac.uk/sites/hr/Online/360%20feedback/Networking%20Pbk.pdf https://sharepoint.soton.ac.uk/sites/hr/Online/360%20feedback/Presentations%20Pbk.pdf https://sharepoint.soton.ac.uk/sites/hr/Online/360%20feedback/Storytelling%20Pbk.pdf https://sharepoint.soton.ac.uk/sites/hr/Online/360%20feedback/Writing%20Skills%20Pbk.pdf https://sharepoint.soton.ac.uk/sites/hr/Online/360%20feedback/Impact%20and%20Presence%20Pbk.pdf https://sharepoint.soton.ac.uk/sites/hr/Online/360%20feedback/NLP%20Pbk.pdf

Research Methodology. Please note that we have supporting on-line materials (e.g. Epigeum) on this subject that is accessed via Blackboard which you may find helpful. Please go to Blackboard, open 'Research Skills for Postgraduate Researchers', click on 'Training Materials' on the left hand side, then 'Managing Your Research' and you will find 'Research Methods in the Sciences/ Social Sciences/ Arts and Humanities'

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Contribution 40%
Coursework  ( words) 30%
Coursework  ( words) 30%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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