Module Information

Module Identifier
EAM1120
Module Title
Advanced Research Skills 1: science communication and data analysis
Academic Year
2018/2019
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 1
External Examiners
  • Dr Catherine Delaney (Senior Lecturer - Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • Dr Robert Bingham (Reader - University of Edinburgh)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

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

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Report 1  Communicating science: students i) prepare a press release on a selected topic; and ii) critically evaluate current media coverage of a science topic, analysing the frames and devices used. 1000 words  20%
Semester Assessment Report 2  Numerical data handling and statistical skills: scientific data report. 2000 words.  40%
Semester Assessment Report 3  Draft MSc dissertation proposal including research context, rationale, methods, and risk assessment. 2000 words.  40%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of Report 1  Resubmit failed elements of coursework.  Communicating science: students i) prepare a press release on a selected topic; and ii) critically evaluate current media coverage of a science topic, analysing the frames and devices used. 1000 words  20%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of Report 2  Numerical data handling and statistical skills: scientific data report. 2000 words.  40%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of Report 3  Draft MSc dissertation proposal including research context, rationale, methods, and risk assessment. 2000 words.  40%

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.

Content

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 and communication with the public (e.g. media techniques, press releases, interview skills). These provide vital skills sets required when putting research into practice, and communicating in non-academic contexts.

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

Session 2: Communicating Science II: Writing effectively

Session 3: ‘Surgery session’ based around the assignment

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

Session 4: Computer-based skills: Data presentation and managing data sets. Numerical data handling I: Data analysis

Session 5: Numerical data handling II: Statistical analyses and interpretation

Session 6: Surgery session’ based around the assignment

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

Session 7: Defining aims and objectives

Session 8: Ethics, risk assessments and sampling strategies

Session 9: ‘Surgery sessions’ based around the assignment, typically involving individual MSc cohorts meeting with relevant teaching staff to discuss dissertation project ideas

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 programme, but specifically in the 'research design' sessions.
Research skills This module specifically addresses the development of research and information literacy throughout the sessions and assignments.
Subject Specific Skills Wherever possible, in-class 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 N/A

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 7