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 Independent Research Project
Code ENVS306
Coordinator Dr N Mieszkowska
Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 6 FHEQ Whole Session 30


The aims of this module are:
1. Students work with an academic staff member to design, execute and report on a complete research project provided by staff members.
2. Skills and knowledge developed by the students in their degree programme are brought together and further developed in the research project. These can include laboratory, field, numerical modelling and statistics.
3. Students will gain practical experience in a range of skills relevant not only to further research but to nearly all careers, since skills in project management, critical thinking and communication are essential in the workplace.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Evaluate, synthesise and critique relevant literature to understand knowledge gaps and opportunities for novel research.

(LO2) Plan and design a research project around specific aims, hypotheses, objectives and/or questions.

(LO3) Collect and/or analyse and interpret relevant data and/or model outputs in pursuit of the research project aims.

(LO4) Use professional scientific record keeping to manage projects to relevant timescales.

(LO5) Communicate research project design, progress and outputs using means appropriate to a scientific audience.



The project involves two semesters of field, data analysis or modelling work. Each project is supervised formally by a member of academic staff, although day to day supervision and advice may be provided by a member of research/technical staff, or a postgraduate research student. Projects will cover Marine Biology, Ecology and/or Oceanography, depending on the degree programme for each student and the project that they are allocated. Online talks by staff at the beginning of the project provide training and information about project management and safety. These are recorded and can be accessed throughout the module for reference by the students. Early in Semester 1, students will review the relevant literature and submit a preliminary report that includes the literature review, the aims and objectives of the project, including hypotheses as appropriate, and a timetable and plan of work. Students should then do research relevant to their project and have regular meetings with their s upervisor to evaluate progress and plan future work. A final report is submitted and an oral presentation given at the end of Semester 2. A project report book should be kept and will be regularly checked by the supervision, being marked at the end of Semester 1 and Semester 2.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1
Description: introductory e-lectures
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 2
Description: Supervision meetings (online or on campus, as arranged by supervisor and supervisee)
Attendance recorded: Yes

Teaching method 3: Supervised research
Description: Fieldwork, laboratory work or desk-based projects.

Teaching Method 4
Description: Student Presentation on campus.

The module specification contains the minimum hours required to complete the project. Depending on the nature of the project, additional teaching methods may be involved, including self-directed teaching. Individual projects may involve fieldwork, laboratory work, desk-based work, or a combination of these three elements.

Teaching Schedule

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


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 286


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
A digital record of the development of the first half of the project, both from a theoretical and practical viewpoint. To be marked using a quantitative marking form. Specific guidance will also requi    10       
A structured report in five sections (300 words per section) covering (i) research project motivation (ii) knowledge gaps to be addressed (iii) aims, hypotheses, objectives or questions (iv) workplan     20       
A conference-style presentation to peers, communicating the findings of the study in appropriate language and using appropriate supporting materials (e.g. slides). Has a duration of 12 minutes with an    10       
A document that communicates the research project to a scientific audience, written in the style of a scientific paper with an advisory length of 5000 words. To be marked using the School generic rubr    50       
A digital record of the development of the second half of the project, both from a theoretical and practical viewpoint. To be marked using a quantitative marking form. Specific guidance will also requ    10       

Recommended Texts

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