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Module OSX-4405:
Research Project Investigation

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

60 Credits or 30 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Sarah Zylinski

Overall aims and purpose

The module will provide students with training and practise in the acquisition of information and data from experimental, observational and computational research, and the effective communication of their results in oral and poster presentations. Students will be embedded in research teams and will benefit from contact with graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, while under the overall supervision of a staff member. Students will take part in mini research conferences part-way through second semester where they will produce a presentation of their interim project results via a poster, and then give a final presentation of their research. These presentations will be made to academic staff, post-doctoral researchers, PhD students and their peers. Submission of the final project work at the end of the year will be via a scientific journal paper format where students will demonstrate their skills in integrating the results from literature searching, experimental, computational and observational scientific research.

Course content

A large part of the module will be self-study (with few lectures) and the activities undertaken by the student will vary depending on the type of research project taken to include laboratory, ship-based and/or field work studies. The process of acquiring information will lead to the production of a written plan and risk assessment. Students will integrate the various stages of their literature, experimental, computational and observational research into a scientific paper, poster and oral presentations.

Assessment Criteria


Be able to keep an adequate record of experimental work. Provide a structured report at an adequate level of presentation. Show an adequate understanding of the methodology and its limitations. Draw unambiguous conclusions from analysis of research results and discuss the conclusions at a rudimentary level. Show basic understanding of reviewer’s comments, and make some changes in accordance with those comments. Communicate the basics of the project orally using visual aids


Be able to keep a good record of experimental work. Provide a structured report at a good level of presentation. Show a detailed understanding of the methodology and its limitations. Draw unambiguous conclusions from analysis of research results and discuss the conclusions in context. Show good understanding of reviewer’s comments, and make all necessary changes in accordance with these comments. Communicate the detail of the project orally with effective visual aids.


Be able to keep an excellent record of experimental work. Provide a structured report at a high level of presentation. Show a comprehensive understanding of the methodology and its limitations. Draw unambiguous conclusions from analysis of research results and effectively discuss the conclusions with a complete overview of the topic. Show full understanding of reviewer’s comments, giving full and explanatory responses to each, making changes and improvements in all areas suggested. Effectively communicate the detail and the importance of the project orally with effective visual aids.

Learning outcomes

  1. Be efficient in organising time spent planning and implementing research plan.

  2. Be able to plan, organise and complete a series of experiments to test specific hypotheses.

  3. Show competence in using and appraising research-relevant literature to inform independent research.

  4. Keep accurate and informative records of progress, including experimental data and supervisor discussions.

  5. Communicate information about the research outcomes using written reports, verbal presentations and supervisor/ peer discussion.

  6. Demonstrate the ability to adapt plans and modify work in response to progress meetings/tutorials, peer feedback, and reviewer’s comments.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Written assignment, including essay Written response to reviewer's comments 10
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Poster presentations 10
DISSERTATION Research project paper 60
LOGBOOK OR PORTFOLIO Research Journal 10

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

Weekly submissions to individual Research Journals to document progress and engagement.


Lectures spread across both semesters to cover upcoming content, including project planning, producing and presenting a scientific poster, and responding to reviewer's comments.

Study group

A weekly session to discuss progress with peers and module organiser will be timetabled in weeks where no other teaching for the module occurs.


Students will attend poster conference and presentations of their peers. Engagement with the research of others is a vital part of becoming an independent researcher.

Individual Project

Everything to do with planning and carrying out the independent research project, which may include training for using specialist equipment, online tutorials for specific software, fieldwork, lab work. Includes implementing planned research, data analysis, writing research paper, creating poster and presentation, submitting and responding to feedback on draft work etc.

One-to-one supervision

5 x 1 hour formal tutorials with project supervisors to aid progress.

1 x 3 hour drop-in session for for advice on any aspects of writing up and data analysis.


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.
  • 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

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
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Engagement with current developments in the biosciences and their application.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation


Resource implications for students


Courses including this module