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The University of Southampton

FEEG6020 Individual Research Review

Module Overview

This module provides you with the generic skills necessary to create an independent research review that facilitates you in embarking on a program of independent reading, which will help prepare you for your PhD project in the second and subsequent years of the program. This module is offered in association with the iPhD, Engd(s) and Centres for Doctoral Training run by the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment. The 15-credit assessment is coursework-only: a single 2500-word report written in the style of a conference paper. You are advised against including a practical component in your work as the scope of a 15-credit module makes this difficult to achieve. The research reports will therefore typically be in the form of literature reviews. You should read this document in conjunction with the related module outlines: Individual Research Project (15ECTS/30CATS) and Individual Research Exercise (2.5ECTS/5CATS) to ensure that you have selected the most appropriate module for your needs. Important milestones for the module: There are three major milestones: submitting a project brief, submitting a draft report, and submitting the final report. You should agree these submission dates with your supervisor and the module coordinator at the outset. You can register for this module in EITHER Semester 1 or Semester 2

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Fundamental writing 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.
  • 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.
  • Analyse and summarise the work of others in a relevant context.
  • Apply standard techniques to achieve satisfactory performance in writing within an engineering and scientific community
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an improved awareness of how to communicate the context of research.
  • Display an improved ability to communicate research findings to internal and external audience
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Précis the work of others.
  • Study and learn independently, solve problems systematically.


To allow you to develop and demonstrate mastery of an advanced aspect of research relevant to your research, including critical evaluation of current research and research methods, and an awareness of the current limits of knowledge in this aspect of the discipline. You will be assigned at least one supervisor, based on your declared interests. Together you must agree on a research area that is relevant to your PhD and of appropriate scale and scope, and decide on a set of materials to draw upon. These materials should include significant articles relevant to the chosen topic and may also include attending classes taught as part of relevant modules that are being delivered concurrently, where the agreement of the module leader(s) has been obtained. Between them, these materials should provide a representative background to the chosen research area, allowing you to carry out a critical review of it. In many cases this research exercise will allow you to explore and familiarise yourself with a new domain and/or new set of relevant methods. Your research should be written up in the style of a self-contained conference type review paper indicating the background to the problem, the approaches that have been taken and the methods that have been applied, and an evaluation of these approaches and methods, indicating any outstanding unsolved issues and problems. Additional materials that cannot be included in the body of the "journal paper" (e.g., extended literature review, additional figures, extended discussions, technical appendices) may be included in one or more appendices that do not count towards the word count. You are recommended to follow the following structure, or similar, for your research project report: • Articulation of research question/problem area • Context/literature review • Research methodology • Results from the literature • Critical appraisal and evaluation • References • Appendices as required Including a practical element (e.g., a piece of simulation modelling work or experimental techniques) should in most cases be avoided given the time constraints associated with a 15-credit module.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Coursework is used to provide formative and summative assessment. Learning activities include directed reading, case studies, student directed problem solving, peer-to-peer learning networks to facilitate cohort cohesion.

Project supervision6
Follow-up work8
Wider reading or practice104
Preparation for scheduled sessions12
Completion of assessment task20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Melanie Mitchell (2009). Complexity: A Guided Tour. 

Research Methodology:. Please note that we have supporting on-line materials (e.g. Epigeum) on thissubject 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/ Artsand Humanities


Assessment Strategy

Attendance and contribution: It is expected that your success will be influenced by your attendance at supervisory meetings and your contribution to the debate.


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  ( words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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