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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE3801 Fieldwork and Tutorials 3

10 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Paul Glover

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications


Module replaces

SOEE3710 Frontiers in Environmental Research This used to be the other core L3 module in Env Sci, but it was furloughed due to COVID this year and is not returning.

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module will train students in advanced practical environmental field skills and their expert application in research and industry. It involves both a residential field course and a component of independent research that allows the students to examine the observations made in the field in further depth, critically valuate their findings from an ethical perspective. The residential field course will take place over nine days and will conclude with a capstone team research project. Out of the field, students will attend a series of lectures and discussion sessions lead by staff from the Inter Disciplinary Applied Ethics Centre to support their assessment, which aims to combine evidence from in-situ field experiences with published literature in order assess the ethical implications of environmental and economic practice at the field location.


On completion of this module, students will be familiar with research techniques used in meteorology, atmospheric physics, chemistry, biodiversity and ecology. 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, chemical and ecological 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, both chemically and physically, and ecological diversity. The expert, in-field training will be followed by a series of lectures and discussion sessions aimed at identifying the ethical implications of activities and economic practices observed throughout the field course, which will be underpinned by an essay assessment informed by both their own experiences and information from published literature.

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

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;
- recognising the moral and ethical issues of investigations and appreciating the need for professional codes of conduct;

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:;
- 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 (with a further 2 days travelling). Students will study a selection of atmospheric and ecological science topics taken from:

1. Practical weather forecasting using synoptic charts and other data.
2. Investigation of atmospheric stability, flow profiles, energy profiles, energy balance and turbulence in the surface layer.
3. Profiling of the atmosphere using radiosondes and surface measurements.
4. Examining energy balance processes and the carbon cycle
5. Profiling local ecology and links to environmental stressors

Interpretation and inter-connection of the above activities will be achieved through collection of synoptic meteorological and ecological data from the internet.
The field course will be followed up with a lecture and seminar series aimed at investigating and critically evaluating the ethical implications of the environmental and economic practices witnessed in the field.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours34.00
Total Contact hours66.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

34 hours of self-directed study, background reading and writing an individual essay.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The in-field and in-class instruction during the residential fieldtrip, ongoing assessments and follow-on seminars will be used to gauge progress and will provide students with feedback useful for subsequent exercises. Detailed feedback on all assessed work will be provided by the team of instructors during the residential fieldtrip (including on the formatively assessed group oral presentation, assessment 1, with direct relevance for the subsequent summative assessment), and for the summative assessment (individual essay, assessments 2). Students will also have the chance to give and receive peer-to-peer feedback on their research plans, oral presentations and ongoing work during the lectures and seminars. Attendance will be monitored to ensure engagement by students.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayEthics essay 2000 words100.00
Group ProjectGroup presentation in the field0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/07/2022


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