Module DXX-4101:
M.Env. Science Dissertation

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

60 Credits or 30 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Prysor Williams

Overall aims and purpose

The purpose of the module is to enable students to carry out independent, original research on a subject of their choosing and communicate their findings in writing to a specialist readership.

Course content

The content of the dissertation will vary considerably between each project, but will obviously all relate to environmental science / management. It is an independent piece of work, on a topic chosen by the student, in conjunction with his/her supervisor.

Assessment Criteria

good

All of the above as described for 'threshold', but to a higher level on all fronts.

threshold

A dissertation that adds original information to an existing body of work. An introduction that states the objectives of the study and the hypotheses to be tested in it. A literature review that covers the fundamentals of the chosen topic. A clear description of the methods used to collect and analyse data / information. Clearly presented results. A discussion that shows understanding of the results and puts them into context. Satisfactory presentation: tables and figures correctly numbered and labelled; a complete set of references.

excellent

A dissertation that deals with a potentially difficult topic on which relatively little work has been done. An introduction that shows originality in the choice of topic, states the objectives of the study and the hypotheses to be tested in it. A literature review showing excellent understanding and knowledge of the chosen topic. A clear description of the methods used to collect and analyse data / information. Clearly presented results. A discussion that shows understanding, much original thought, and makes imaginative suggestions about the possible applications of the findings and further areas of research. Excellent presentation: well written; tables and figures correctly numbered and labelled; a comprehensive set of references.

Learning outcomes

  1. Comprehensive understanding of their area of research, including a practical understanding of the relevant research techniques.

  2. Self-direction, motivation and originality in pursuing a line of research.

  3. An ability to critically evaluate current research in the same area.

  4. An ability to draw valid conclusions from systematically-collected information and data, even if these are incomplete.

  5. An ability to communicate research findings clearly and comprehensively, in writing, to a specialist readership.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Presentation 10
Final Dissertation 90

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Individual Project

Independent project work under the supervision, and training, of a relevant academic member of staff. Students will be provided with a list of possible dissertation topics. A student may also suggest his / her own topic, but in that case s/he must obtain the agreement of a member of academic staff to act as his / her supervisor. A full dissertation outline and risk assessment must be submitted before work on the dissertation commences; they must be signed by the dissertation supervisor, who will give guidance and help with the writing of both documents. The student is responsible for completing and presenting the dissertation, but can expect support and guidance from his / her supervisor on the planning of experimental / survey work, data collection, data analysis and writing of the dissertation. The supervisor will provide such support in response to direct requests from the student, who should therefore take the initiative and contact the supervisor as required. There will be intermittent sessions with the module organiser along the year to discuss progress.

600

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
  • 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.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

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.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: