Module DXX-3701:
Honours project

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

30 Credits or 15 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Katherine Steele

Overall aims and purpose

The module aims to give students experience of:

1.Developing hypotheses and procedures and protocols to test them.

2.Conducting independent research on a topic relevant to their degree programme.

3.Collecting, analysing and interpreting results in the light of existing knowledge.

4.Preparing a research honours project to an agreed format.

Course content

The module allows students to undertake an extensive and original independent investigation of a topic of relevance to their degree programme. It may involve practical experimentation in the laboratory and/or field or a non-experimental study. It is conducted under the supervision of a member of academic staff. The module also provides opportunities for students to develop their own ideas, to show initiative, to work on their own and to follow an agreed plan, and for these attributes to be assessed. The project must be written up in the form of a research honours project, to a specified format. In addition, it may also be assessed by a poster presentation, oral presentation, or other method, that may vary according to the degree programme, but that will be specified at the start of the module.

Assessment Criteria

excellent

Grade A- and above The background justification for the project is clearly identified and experimental hypotheses are stated. The literature review is comprehensive, shows evidence of critical analysis and covers all relevant topics in a logical sequence. The methods and procedures used are appropriate, clearly justified and described. The approach to data analysis is correct. Important trends or effects are identified and tested. The findings are presented clearly and interpreted correctly. The discussion clearly relates the findings to current knowledge. It shows evidence of ability to collate information from a variety of sources to aid interpretation. Relevant conclusions are drawn and these are related to current practices and further experimentation as appropriate. The standard of presentation is very high.

threshold

Grade D- to D+ The dissertation is logically structured and includes a literature review, a description of the methods used, a description and analysis of the findings, a discussion and a list of references. The justification for the project is identified but the experimental hypotheses are not clearly stated. The literature review covers relevant topics but is largely descriptive and lacks focus. Procedural details are described but some minor important items are omitted or unclear. The approach to data analysis is generally correct but limited in scope. The findings are generally presented and interpreted correctly. The discussion is adequate but limited in scope and depth. Some correct conclusions are drawn from the study. The standard of presentation is acceptable.

good

Grade C- to B+ The honours project is logically structured and includes a literature review, a description of the methods used, a description and analysis of the findings, a discussion and a list of references. The justification for the project is clearly identified and experimental hypotheses are stated. The literature review shows some evidence of critical analysis and covers relevant topics in a logical sequence. The methods and procedures used are appropriate, justified and described. The approach to data analysis is correct. The findings are presented clearly and interpreted correctly. The discussion relates the findings to current knowledge. It shows evidence of ability to collate information from a variety of sources to aid interpretation. Relevant conclusions are drawn and these are related to current practices and further experimentation as appropriate. The standard of presentation is high.

Learning outcomes

  1. Collect, critically analyse and summarise information (Benchmark 4.4, 4.5).

  2. Devise, plan and undertake investigations in a safe and responsible manner (Benchmark 4.4, 4.5).

  3. Collect, prepare and process data using appropriate statistical and other procedures (Benchmark 4.5, 4.6, 4.8).

  4. Evaluate information and draw appropriate conclusions from it using existing knowledge, concepts and principles from relevant disciplines (Benchmark 4.4).

  5. Communicate accurately and effectively using appropriate methods (Benchmark 4.7).

  6. Work effectively as an individual to achieve targets and meet requirements (Benchmark 4.9).

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ORAL Project Presentation

A five minute presentation to supervisor and other supervises in the group. Marking criteria are: - Clear recap of aims & objectives - Clear summary of methods - Selective presentation and summary of results (absence of any results will be marked down) - Clear linkage of findings to literature - Relevant content - Presentation delivery - Student's engagement with audience and enthusiasm for the topic - Time management - Overall effectiveness

10
DISSERTATION Honours Project

Submit a written dissertation (project report) which will be assessed for: A. Project content B. Project structure and general relevance

90

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture

Introductory Lectures 5 x 1 hours

5
Tutorial

Tutorials with supervisor. The number and length may vary by project and should be largely initiated by the student

10
Seminar

Supervisory group seminars for individual presentations 2 x 2.5 hours

5
Individual Project

Independent work by student

280

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  • Conduct fieldwork and/or laboratory work competently with awareness of appropriate risk assessment and ethical considerations
  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Awareness of the concepts of spatial and temporal scale in understanding processes and relationships.
  • Appreciation of the reciprocal nature of human-environmental relationships.
  • Apply appropriate techniques for presenting spatial and/or temporal trends in data.
  • Employ appropriate social-survey methods.
  • Preparation of effective maps, diagrams and visualizations.
  • Engagement with current developments in the biosciences and their application.
  • Appreciation of the complexity and diversity of life processes through the study of organisms.
  • Undertake field and/or laboratory studies of living systems.
  • Undertake practical work to ensure competence in basic experimental skills.
  • Understand the provisional nature of information and appreciate competing and alternative explanations.
  • Recognize the moral, ethical and social issues relating to the subject.
  • Collect and record data generated by a diverse range of methods.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation

Resources

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: