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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE5309M MGeol Research Project

50 creditsClass Size: 15

Module manager: Dr Andrew McCaig

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

Successful completion of year 3.

This module is not approved as an Elective


This module aims to give a thorough training both in generic research methods, and in methods appropriate to a particular field of Geological Sciences chosen by the student. The student will plan a project, undertake data collection and analysis, make oral presentations, interact with a research group as a member for the year, and write a substantial thesis.
It is expected that the work should in many cases be publishable.

On completion of the module the student should be able to:

- Show knowledge and understanding of the scientific process, the communication of scientific results, laboratory/field or computational methods, and data management and analysis.
- Practice and develop skills in problem solving, scientific reasoning, critical thinking and effective enquiry
-Demonstrate discipline-specific skills in designing a tractable research project, independently conducting research, analysing and synthesising data, and communicating research findings both in writing and orally

Learning outcomes
Students should:

(1) be able to deal with complex issues systematically and creatively, make sound judgments in the absence of complete data, and communicate conclusions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;
(2) be able to demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level;
(3) have advanced their knowledge and understanding, and developed new skills to a high level;
(4) have gained confidence in oral presentation of scientific ideas in both informal and formal settings; and
(5) have an opportunity to further refine thier presentation skills.

Skills outcomes
Specific skills will depend on the chosen project


- Planning a research project and erecting hypotheses
- Critically analysing scientific literature
- Collecting and analysing data including keeping a careful record of data acquisition and analysis in an electronic laboratory book. Selecting appropriate methods of data analysis and presentation
- Join and interact with an active research group, including informal presentation of preliminary results
- Use of Endnote and other software depending on topic
- Evaluation of results in the light of pre-existing literature
- Formal oral presentation of final results to peers and academic staff members in a conference-style session
-Production of a well presented bound thesis.


1) Choice of topic from a list before the start of the final year
2) Preparation of a project work plan and table of contents (assessed)
3) Regular individual tutorials with a member of staff
4) Keeping of an electronic lab book detailing data collection, and tutorial discussions with annexes
5) Presentation to research group to test progress early in semester 2
6) 12,000 word dissertation (assessed)

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours487.00
Total Contact hours13.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)500.00

Private study

Private study time will be spent collecting and analysing data (approx 100 hours), reading literature, preparing presentations, writing a 12,000 word dissertation, and attending relevant research seminars.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

A formative informal presentation will be made to a research group early in sem 2 & other formative feedback provided by supervisors at various stages.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or DissertationDissertation (12,000 words plus electronic lab book/log)90.00
Oral PresentationConference style presentation to peers and staff. Note that a formative informal presentation will be made to a research group early in sem 25.00
Research ProposalProject Proposal5.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resit is only possible by re-submitting the Dissertation.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 30/06/2021 16:25:49


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