The planning, execution, recording and reporting of original scientific research are core skills in science. This module, which spans two semesters, provides an educational environment in which students can hone their experimental and reporting skills while working on a well-defined scientific problem or question.
Aims and Objectives
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- execution of practical work and real-time evaluation of, and reflection on, the outcomes of processes or procedures.
- planning, conducting and writing up a critical review of prior work relevant to the project.
- Understanding a project brief
- concise and precise reporting of experimental findings and observations.
- planning experimental work to fit with other course works and activities.
- understanding risk assessments and safety evaluations of experimental work.
- developing robust methods of maintaining clear and complete records of activity
The philosophy underlying this module is to empower students to take charge of their own learning in the conduct of experimental scientific research. As a consequence the module will make extensive use of directed self-learning methods. The course will be delivered in the context of answering a specific scientific question, or of testing a hypothesis, or of a discovery process.
The module will cover:
1.achieving a clear project brief
2.preparing a project plan, including identifying specific objectives, milestone and the use of GANTT and PERT charts as appropriate
3.use of a range of resources (including on line resources) to find and retrieve relevant literature
4.writing regular project progress updates
5.conducting risk assessments and safety evaluations of experimental work.
6.using specialist equipment and facilities effectively and safely.
7.execution of practical work and real-time evaluation of, and reflection on, the outcomes of processes or procedures.
8.applying the conceptual skills acquired during the first two years of the programme to the analysis and interpretation of data/results.
9.reporting of experimental findings and observations in the form of a draft scientific research paper aimed for publication in a peer-reviewed journal
10.maintaining clear and complete records of activity
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
During the module the student will joint the research group of a member of staff whose project the student has chosen, and who will be the project supervisor. The emphasis will be on self-learning, supported by the more senior members of the group as well as by the supervisor. Informal formative feedback will be given frequently and as appropriate. Towards the end of the project students will have the opportunity to have a mock viva voce examination on their project work. Formal formative feedback will be given based on interim progress reports.
|Total study time||300|
Resources & Reading list
A comprehensive resource pack is provided on Blackboard at the beginning of the course..
Assessments & assessment criteria: The project will be assessed on the basis of your project plan (PP), a final project report (PR) and an oral (OE) examination Project Plan (PP): This will comprise a numbered list of tasks together with associated GANTT and PERT charts, a project risk register, and any additional information deemed relevant. The PP will be assessed by the project supervisor and will count for 5% of the final project mark. The PP assessment criteria are: - Evidence of appropriate breakdown of project into coherent tasks
- Identification of milestones, deliverables, and project reviews as appropriate
- Appropriate GANTT and PERT charts
- Adequate project risk register
Research Paper (RP): This assessment will be in the form of a draft research paper (a ‘scientific report’) prepared following the Instructions to Authors of Scientific Reports (see Annex I: Style Guide for Scientific Reports). The RP will be assessed independently by two Project Examiners who have not had any significant association with the project work and who will agree a joint mark. The Project Supervisor will prepare a brief “specialist review” on the RP, which will be considered by two examiners when assessing the RP. The research paper will count for 65% of the final project mark (the joint examiners’ mark will contribute 70% to the RP mark, while the specialist review will contribute 35%). The RP assessment criteria are:
- Compliance with style requirements (layout, font size, line spacing, referencing style)
- Significance in terms of originality and contribution to the field of study
- Quality and quantity of data/results
- Quality of interpretation of results and conclusions
Oral exam (OE): The oral will be conducted by the two Project Examiners and should last no more than 45 minutes. It will count for 25% of the final project mark. It is your responsibility to find a mutually convenient time and place for the OE. At this exam you should bring along a copy of your research paper. The OE assessment criteria are:
- Good understanding of context of the project (prior work, relevant science/technology)
- Ability to defend choice of methods, interpretation of data or conclusions
- Concise and appropriate responses to questions
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
Repeat type: Internal & External