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The University of Southampton

NATS3005 Research Project in the Natural Sciences

Module Overview

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

Module Aims

The overall aim of this module is to provide students their first experience of undertaking a coherent piece of original research. This will equip our students with experimental skills that together with knowledge acquisition skills and critical thinking skills will enable them to undertake research across the whole range of the natural sciences. The students will join an established research group within the University to work on a pre-chosen multidisciplinary research problem. The projects, which will be multidisciplinary in nature, will be set by members of staff who are members of the Southampton Natural Sciences College – a group set up to promote a research environment suited to the training needs of the Natural Sciences students.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understanding a project brief
  • planning, conducting and writing up a critical review of prior work relevant to the project.
  • planning experimental work to fit with other course works and activities.
  • execution of practical work and real-time evaluation of, and reflection on, the outcomes of processes or procedures.
  • concise and precise reporting of experimental findings and observations.
  • developing robust methods of maintaining clear and complete records of activity
  • understanding risk assessments and safety evaluations of experimental work.


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

Independent Study230
Total study time300



MethodPercentage contribution
Report 60%
Viva voce 40%
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