Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Advanced Research Skills 1: science communication and data analysis
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 6 x 3 Hour Lectures
Practical 3 x 3 Hour Practicals


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Report  REPORT: Communicating science: students critically evaluate current media coverage of science topics, analysing the devices used, and prepare press releases on a selected topic. 1000 words  20%
Semester Assessment Report  REPORT: Numerical data handling and statistical skills: scientific data report. 2000 words.  40%
Semester Assessment Draft proposal  Draft MSc dissertation proposal including research context, rational and a risk assessment. 2000 words.  40%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit failed elements of coursework.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Locate, summarise, synthesise and critique existing scientific information.

Communicate effectively published research and its results via various relevant media.

Manipulate numerical data and apply relevant statistical techniques.

Operate relevant computer-based methods.

Assess ethical issues and risk in the design of a Master’s level research project.

Design a scientifically robust Master’s research project with a clearly identified aim, achievable objectives and an appropriate sampling strategy.

Brief description

The module introduces and develops a series of generic skills required at the postgraduate level. Although the main purpose is to introduce and develop advanced research skills, certain skills that will have been introduced in typical undergraduate programmes - such as written English, basic numerical and statistical methods, and computer techniques - remain so fundamental that further practice is warranted. All are relevant to the more specialised DGES MSc schemes. Material from those more specialised streams will be utilised in the practical aspects of this module. The module builds on the recommendations by the UK Research Councils (in particular NERC) to develop a robust program of research skills useful in both the taught and research aspects of the MSc, and to enhance employability.


To introduce and develop a series of generic communication, numeracy and research design skills required at the postgraduate level


This module comprises a series of lectures and computer practical sessions. It is divided into three sections covering science communication, numerical skills and research design. There are three course-work assignments; one for each section.

Science Communication:
Developing knowledge about how scientific information is communicated using a wide range of formats including effective oral presentation skills, communication with the public (e.g. media techniques, press releases, interview skills).The more qualitative skills sets of discourse analysis and policy interpretation provides vital skills sets required when putting research into practice.

Lecture 1: Introduction to Advanced Research Skills and Communicating Science I: Effective oral and visual communication

Lecture 2: Communicating Science II: Writing effectively

Lecture 3: Understanding communication: discourse and policy analysis

Numerical Skills:
Advanced mathematical and statistical techniques, including data base management, relevant to working with large environmental data sets.

Practical 4: Computer-based skills: Data presentation and managing data sets.

Practical 5: Numerical data handling I: Data analysis.

Practical 6: Numerical data handling II: Statistical analyses and interpretation

Research Design:
Preparing for and designing a Master’s level research dissertation project.

Lecture 7: Defining aims and objectives

Lecture 8: Ethics, risk assessments and sampling strategies

Lecture 9: Subject-specific surgery sessions

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will obtain, present and interpret numerical data where appropriate through the module
Communication Written communication skills are assessed as part of the various module assignments.
Improving own Learning and Performance A large amount of independent study is required for this module.
Information Technology Students will refine and develop their IT skills through use of both commonly available software packages for the presentation and analysis of data.
Personal Development and Career planning Students receive an insight into a range of potential career opportunities, both within and outside academia, through the various sessions of this module and their associated exercises.
Problem solving Problem solving skills are developed throughout the module, but specifically in the 'Research design’ sessions.
Research skills This module specifically addresses the development of advanced research skills throughout the sessions and exercises.
Subject Specific Skills Wherever possible, project work will utilise material drawn from topics relevant to whichever of the MSc schemes is being pursued by the individual student, gaining subject-specific skills relevant to that particular MSc Scheme.
Team work no


This module is at CQFW Level 7