The University of Southampton

HUMA5004 Research Project

Module Overview

This module will allow students to independently undertake a piece of research that relates to their future Masters programme. Through applying the skills learnt on other Pre-Masters modules and taking full advantage of weekly 30-minute tutorials, this module will encourage students to formulate their own methodologies, conduct their own research and deliver a clearly structured 3500-4000 word essay. This module will provide a strong preparation for further research at Masters level.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Allow students to undertake a piece of original, independent research into a contemporary issue under the supervision of a tutor • Help students formulate a clear and effective research argument • Guide students to the successful completion of a deeply-researched and well-reasoned long essay (3500-4000 words) • Encourage students to effectively manage their time and draw up their own timetable for completion • Encourage students to implement skills learnt on other Pre-Masters (MIPS) modules (essay writing, critical thinking, independent study) and to identify connections between modules

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Demonstrate deep knowledge and understanding of one issue/case study related to your future Masters programme
  • Understand the characteristics of an effective project plan
  • Identify appropriate methodologies for conducting your research
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Evaluate your own work and identify effective research strategies that can be taken forward to Masters level
  • Access, and assess the value of, multiple sources of information
  • Provide a clear and comprehensive project plan/outline and compile an effective annotated bibliography that provides evaluation of a range of appropriate texts
  • Write at length on a complex issue by delivering a long, detailed and carefully-structured essay
  • Work efficiently as an independent learner, managing your time effectively to meet deadlines
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Engage with and critically implement a range of concepts, theories and discourses surrounding your chosen topic
  • Synthesise and critically evaluate a range of appropriate academic texts (books, journal articles) and non-academic materials (reports, web resources) related to your topic
  • Formulate a clear, well-structured argument in a long essay


This module asks students to investigate in detail a topic relating to their Masters programme. The module is focused on independent research and as such emphasises careful planning and time management, and is supported by regular contact with a supervisor. In the first few weeks of the module, students will attend one introductory lecture and a small number of group tutorials. These tutorials will cover the following: ? - Choosing a research topic and narrowing down your focus ? - Devising a title for your project ? - Tips on how to get started with research and how to search for relevant material ? - How to structure a project plan/outline and compile an annotated bibliography ? - How to manage your time and devise a timetable for completion Following these group tutorials, students will work individually on their project, meeting with their tutor once a week for advice and feedback. In their first individual tutorial, students will devise a timetable for completion in agreement with their tutor, setting a series of milestones that will be in place for the duration of the semester. Between each supervision session, students will be expected to work independently, manage their time effectively and work towards completing each pre-arranged milestone. The assessment on this module is spread across three assignments. The Project Outline and Annotated Bibliography will be completed midway through the semester and will assess students' abilities to communicate a clear thesis statement, appropriate research methodology and indicative essay outline, as well as a discussion of provisional sources. Students will be able to discuss feedback on their Project Outline with their supervisor and implement any suggested alterations in preparation for the completion of the Essay. The Essay will be submitted at the end of the semester and will examine students' abilities in synthesising and critically evaluating the material they have found, presenting their ideas and arguments in a clear and logical fashion, and demonstrating a thorough understanding of the issues at hand. The third assignment, a Reflective Log, asks students to evaluate their projects and to consider the effectiveness of their research.

Special Features

Because there are no weekly classes for this module, students are encouraged to think carefully about, and to put into practice, the skills they have learnt elsewhere on the MIPS programme (English language, critical thinking, study skills/independent learning). There is also the possibility for elements of this module to cross over to other parts of the MIPS programme. For example, students may use their research as the basis for oral presentations in the English language component (HUMA5007).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include ? - One introductory lecture (Week 1) ? - Group tutorials (Weeks 2-4) ? - Weekly one-on-one tutorials (approximately 30 minutes per session) Learning methods include ? - Attending tutorials and discussing your research with your supervisor ? - Engaging with your classmates' ideas in group tutorials ? - Independent study

Independent Study142
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Stella Cottrell (2014). Dissertations and Project Reports: A Step-by-Step Guide. 

Stella Cottrell (2013). The Study Skills Handbook (. 

Kate Williams (2014). Planning Your Dissertation. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay/report  (3500 words) 60%
Project plan  (1000 words) 30%
Reflective log  ( words) 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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