Module FXX-3503:
Research Skills

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Lorrie Murphy

Overall aims and purpose

The module aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop and practice skills that underpin chemistry research methodology. The students will be able to reflect upon the nature of the scientific method, ethics and methods for dissemination of science to the public. The students will be able practice researching and preparing a short literature review on an advanced chemical topic. They will also develop their project management skills and use these to plan and monitor activities they will undertake as part of their 3rd year undergraduate studies. They will develop an awareness of current chemical research via précising School/RSC research colloquia.

Course content

The main topics covered are:-

  1. Identifying and retrieving chemical research information (from peer reviewed journals and academic databases)
  2. Organising, summarising and integrating the chemical literature
  3. Public understanding of science
  4. Project management tasks- focusing on project planning and monitoring.
  5. Understanding nature of the scientific method and ethics.
  6. Have an awareness of current chemistry research (RSC lectures)
  7. Participate in career/employability workshops.

Course Team: Dr R Davies (3 h), Dr M Lahmann (3 h), Dr H Tai (6 h), Dr L Murphy (6 h), Dr V Thoss (3 h), Employability (1 h) non credit bearing.

RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS ESSENTIAL READING 1. Study and Communication Skills for the Chemical Sciences Tina Overton, Stuart Johnson, and Jon Scott 2011 (OUP) RECOMMENDED READING none SPECIFIC RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS FOR STUDENTS It is expected that students will purchase or have ready access to the essential text books above

Assessment Criteria


Good (~60%). Knowledge base covers all essential aspects of subject matter dealt with in the programme and shows good evidence of enquiry beyond this. Conceptual understanding is good. Problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature are solved in a logical manner; solutions are generally correct and acceptable. Performance in transferable skills is sound and shows no significant deficiencies.


Excellent (>70%). Knowledge base is extensive and extends well beyond the work covered in the programme. Conceptual understanding is outstanding. Problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature are solved with efficiency and accuracy; problem-solving procedures are adjusted to the nature of the problem. Performance in transferable skills is generally very good.


Threshold (40%). Knowledge and understanding of the content covered in the course is basic; Problems of a routine nature are generally adequately solved; Transferable skills are at a basic level..

Learning outcomes

  1. Students will be able to prepare a planning and communication portfolio for their 3rd year studies ( Gantt Chart, poster and supplementary hand out)

  2. Students will be able to identify and organise a list of 5-10 research papers relevant to their 3rd year project area.

  3. Students will be able to summarise advanced chemistry research as presented within School/RSC colloquia

  4. Students will be able to demonstate the ability to promote and disseminate an understanding of chemistry to the wider community.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
GANTT chart, Poster and Handout Presention 60
Reference Library 15
Two RSC Precis 10
Public Understanding of Science 15

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study 73

RSC Lecture Series

Plus additional hours for Employability 1 hr and 2 hr Exam feedback session (for 2014/15 modules).

Workshop 21

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • 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

Subject specific skills

  • CC5 Skills in the generation, evaluation, interpretation andSynthesis ofChemical information and data
  • CC6 Skills inCommunicatingScientific material and arguments
  • CC7 information technology and data-processingSkills, relating toChemical information and data.
  • PS1 CommunicationSkills,Covering both written and oralCommunication with a variety of audiences
  • PS2 Skills in the employment ofCommonConventions andStandards inScientific writing, dataPresentation, and referencing literature
  • PS5 information location and retrievalSkills, in relation toPrimary andSecondary informationSources, and the ability to assess the quality of information accessed
  • PS6 information technologySkills whichSupport the location, management,Processing, analysis andPresentation ofScientific information
  • PS7 basic interpersonalSkills, relating to the ability to interact with otherPeople and to engage in teamworking
  • PS8 time management and organisationalSkills, as evidenced by the ability toPlan and implement efficient and effective ways of working
  • PS16 the ability to work in multi-disciplinary and multi-skilled teams
  • SK1 are fullyConversant with major aspects ofChemical terminology
  • SK6 develop an awareness of issues withinChemistry that overlap with other relatedSubjects
  • SK7 develop knowledge and understanding of ethics,Societal responsibilities, environmental impact andSustainability, in theContext ofChemistry
  • SK9 read and engage withScientific literature
  • PS10 other relevant professional skills such as business awareness

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module