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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 2

Organiser: Dr Sarah Zylinski

Overall aims and purpose

The module will provide students with training and practice 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. Oral presentation skills will be acquired through the delivery of a progress and preliminary results talk at the end of the 1st semester, to convey the progress of project work to staff and peers. Students will then take part in mini research conferences part-way through 2nd semester where they will produce a presentation of their interim project results via a poster and then a final oral presentation. 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. Plan, organise and complete a series of experiments to test specific hypotheses relating to their project.

  2. Research relevant literature to be able to plan and execute research project.

  3. Keep accurate and informative records of experimental data.

  4. Efficiently organise the time spent planning and in the laboratory/field.

  5. Present information about the research using written, oral communication and IT skills according to specific guidelines.

  6. Make changes to work in accordance with progress meetings/tutorials, reviewer’s comments and criticisms.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Written response to reviewer's comments 10
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Progress presentation 5
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Poster presentations 10
COURSEWORK Research project paper 60
COURSEWORK Lab notebooks 5
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Final oral presentation 10

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Lecture about responding to reviewers comments (1 hour)


Lecture on oral presentations (1 hour)


Lecture on reporting results (1 hour)


Lecture on poster presentation (1 hour)


Introductory lecture - explaining the module, importance of planning, note keeping and to explain the schedule for the year.

Individual Project

Everything to do with planning and carrying out the individual project, including 2 oral presentation days (1 x progress and 1 x final) and 1 half day poster conference.


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

2 x 2 hour drop-in tutorial style sessions for students to come in the 1st and 2nd semester to get 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