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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE3790 Advanced Environmental Science Field and Research Skills

20 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Ruza Ivanovic

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is mutually exclusive with

SOEE3291Atmospheric Sci Field Skills
SOEE3801Fieldwork and tutorials 3
SOEE5090MAdvanced Environmental Science Field and Research Skills

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Through this module, we will train you in advanced practical environmental field skills and their expert application in research and industry. We will teach you to use state of the art techniques for building and installing field instrumentation, and primary data collection and analysis. You will join a residential field course run over several days, and will undertake further hands-on practical work in/around Leeds where you will test scientific hypothesis and draw original conclusions from your data. You will integrate your findings with current knowledge, and produce verbal and written reports on your work. The field and independent project work will be supported by a series of tutorials and workshops with world leading research staff from the University of Leeds and National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences. No pre-requisite knowledge is required.


On completion of this module, students will be familiar with research techniques used in environmental, atmospheric, ecological and climate sciences. Measurement techniques will have been practiced extensively in the field. A wide variety of in situ and remote sensing approaches will have been used to gather physical data. Data collected in the field will have been analysed using a variety of computer-based and analogue methods. Data will have been interpreted in order to draw conclusions concerning the natural structure of the atmosphere, local/regional meteorological and climatological features, and ecological diversity. The expert, in-field and practical-workshop training will culminate in one group and one independent research project. Existing literature will be interrogated to integrate project findings with current state of the art knowledge.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will be able to:
1. Apply expert practical skills and knowledge to measure environmental variables using research- and industry-standard instrumentation, and evaluate implicit error/uncertainty within those measurements
2. Interrogate primary data to draw robust conclusions and integrate findings with existing state of the art knowledge
3. Independently research, synthesise and critically analyse existing literature
4. Create clear oral and written presentations, including bespoke graphics, to communicate research findings

Skills outcomes
The module places considerable emphasis on:
- analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research;
- planning, conducting and reporting on investigations, including the use of secondary data;
- collecting, recording and analysing data using appropriate research- and industry-standard techniques in the field;
- undertaking field investigations in a responsible and safe manner, paying due attention to risk assessment, rights of access, relevant health and safety regulations, and sensitivity to the impact of investigations on the environment and stakeholders;
- appreciating issues of sample selection, accuracy, precision and uncertainty during collecting, recording and analysis of data in the field;
- preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and packages.
- collecting and integrating several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses;
- integrating current state of the art knowledge with conclusions drawn from primary data.

The module places moderate emphasis on:
- communicating appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical form;
- using the Internet critically as a source of information and access point for online atmospheric models;
- identifying individual and collective goals and responsibilities and performing in a manner appropriate to these roles;
- Managing a series of tasks as a team and working within a prescribed timeframe;
- recognising and respecting the views and opinions of other team members.

The module places some emphasis on:;
- recognising the moral and ethical issues of investigations and appreciating the need for professional codes of conduct;
- receiving and responding to a variety of information sources (eg textual numerical, verbal, graphical);
- solving numerical problems using computer and non-computer based techniques;
- recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles;
- developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work.


This module involves a residential field course and further field work, tutorials and workshops in the Leeds area.
Students will study a selection of atmospheric, environmental, and ecological science topics taken from:

1. Practical weather forecasting using synoptic charts and other data.
2. Profiling of the atmosphere using radiosondes and surface measurements to characterise the stability of the atmosphere, state of the boundary layer, and local meteorology.
3. Conducting in-situ and simulated experiments to examine energy balance processes.
4. Profiling local ecology and links to environmental stressors.

Interpretation and inter-connection of the above activities will be augmented through collection of supplementary data from networked archives and published literature.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Preparation Class11.001.00
Private study hours93.00
Total Contact hours107.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Literature review, including researching and synthesising relevant peer-reviewed literature and producing a literature review summarising the synthesis.
Independent research project, including researching and reading pertinent peer-reviewed literature, plotting primary data, interpreting the results and producing the report.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

There are many opportunities for learners to receive formative feedback, primarily through the time spent with instructors.
During the residential field trip, learners will undertake online research, critical thinking and data analysis activities within their teams, where learners will visualise and interpret their data to answer questions on the science topics in the syllabus. Field instructors, including activity leaders and support staff, will be on-hand throughout to actively mentor learners through their research and learning, check their understanding from their answers to the set questions, and feedback on their practical techniques. The field trip will culminate in learners undertaking a capstone research project under the guidance of the instructors, with the results to be presented orally and graphically in a mini-conference on the final day of the trip. Instructors and peers will ask questions of the presenters, and will issue summary feedback (orally and in writing) on performance.
In Leeds, a discursive seminar will give learners the opportunity to express ideas and quiz the instructors, while the instructors will also feedback their assessment of what is expressed in a two-way dialogue. They will attend two tutorials to exchange ideas and receive guidance on interesting literature review topics and how to approach the literature review. During the practical workshops and local field trip, instructors will guide learners through the practical steps, providing immediate feedback on technique so that learners develop their skills and have the opportunity to improve. In these sessions, learners will be quizzed informally through discussion on their understanding of the taught material in order to provide useful, immediate feedback for their reports. In these sessions and during the local field trip, instructors will provide the opportunity for learners to discuss their research plans for the independent research project and receive guidance/feedback on their ideas.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Literature ReviewUp to 1,000 words25.00
ReportFinal written report on individual project. Up to 2,500 words.75.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Same as the failed component.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 23/11/2022


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