Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Introduction to Research
Code PGSC003
Coordinator Professor G Sedghi
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 7 FHEQ Whole Session 30

Pre-requisites before taking this module (or general academic requirements):



The aim of this module is to give students the necessary background and research skills to be able to undertake a chemical research project.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) After completion of this module students will have developed sufficient experimental skills to be able to work in a research laboratory in the chemical sciences.

(LO2) Students will have sufficient background knowledge to be able to complete a successful chemical sciences research project.

(LO3) Students will be able to access and critically review scientific literature.

(LO4) Students will have gained knowledge of and the ability to access relevant information on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

(LO5) Students will have improved their ability to plan, evaluate and reflect on their knowledge and skills in the chemical sciences, including assessing safety aspects.

(S1) Students will have developed chemistry-related cognitive abilities and skills as identified in the QAA chemistry benchmark statement including:- the skills to undertake a research project.- the ability to assimilate, evaluate and present research results objectively (note particularly in relation to results of others, rather than self)

(S2) Students will have developed chemistry-related practical skills as identified in the QAA chemistry benchmark statement including:- improved competence in the planning and design of experiments- skills required to work independently and be self-critical in the evaluation of risks and experimental procedures- improved skills in the ability to select appropriate techniques and procedures.

(S3) Students will have developed generic skills as identified in the QAA chemistry benchmark statement including:- the demonstration of self-direction.- the ability to exercise initiative and personal responsibility.- independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

(S4) Personal attributes and qualities - Integrity

Teaching and Learning Strategies

At the start of their MSc programme students will assess - in collaboration with their supervisor - what skills they personally need to develop to be able to complete a successful research project in their chosen pathway.

Students will then be given a series of research related activities to develop these necessary skills. Skills to be developed could include basic practical techniques; field work, computing skills, mathematical skills, additional background knowledge etc. It is expected that these skills will be pathway specific. Development of these skills is expected to take on the order of 70 hours and may include research group meetings, training in specific synthetic methods, equipment/software training, initial hands-on experience in a research lab, etc. Students will be expected to keep a reflective log of their activities and demonstrate that they have achieved the required levels of expertise.

The 70 hours skills training will take place in the supervisorȁ 9;s research lab, including general labs with specialised equipment that will be used in the project, as well as access to a computer for data analysis and/or theoretical projects etc.

These practical activities will be complemented by a literature survey in their area of interest to provide the relevant background and to ensure that students can use their time constructively in their main research project.

The exact nature of the module will vary depending on a student’s background and chosen research field.

Students also will attend online Generic Research Skills lectures and workshops on Health & Safety, Information Retrieval and Intellectual Property Rights, as well as optional lectures on employment.

Practical: approx. 70 hr
Lectures (generic skills): up to 7 hr
Tutorial (generic skills): 2 hr



The specific topics studied and the methods used will depend on the research area of the project and the existing skills of the student.

The only formal topics within the syllabus are connected with generic skills (Information retrieval and IPR) and safety which will involve a small number of lectures, a workshop and Vital-based on-line material.

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours     2



Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 221


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Skills Acquisition Plan, Marked by Supervisor    10       
Final report/Literature survey (marked by co-assessor and supervisor - weighting: 75% co-assessor & 25% supervisor) Length dependent on project - specific skills and knowledge    50       
Generic Research Skills report Marked by Supervisor    10       
Portfolio (marked by supervisor)    30