Module Identifier EAM1120  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Professor Alex Maltman  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Dr Poul Christoffersen, Dr Richard M Lucas  
Course delivery Other   30 Hours Ten x 3 hour classroom sessions, with follow-up project work to total 200 hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Information searching/data handling/computer-based skills: report on an assigned project, indicating sources, and utilizing various methods to manipulate data drawn from a topic relevant to the M.Sc. scheme being pursued.70%
Semester Assessment Research design, planning and execution Critically assess an existing (hypothetical) funding application and prepare a brief funding proposal on an assigned hypothetical project, relevant to the M.Sc. scheme being pursued. 15%
Semester Assessment Communicating Science Students critically evaluate immediately current media coverage of science topics, analyzing the devices used, and prepare a press release on a selected topic. 15%
Supplementary Assessment Not available (module must be re-taken) 

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Seek, locate, abstract, synthesise and handle existing scientific information

2. Manipulate numerical data and apply relevant statistical techniques

3. Operate relevant computer-based methods

4. Critically judge and evaluate previous work; focus on new research that is needed, to meet commercial needs or to set agendas in work; plan and execute new programmes of research and testing

5. Communicate effectively the research and its results, via various relevant media


The content is grouped into the following themes

Information searching, abstracting, indexing and citing
On-line databases (Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, Geobase, Georef, Web of Knowledge, etc.), on-line catalogues (e.g. COPAC), accessing on-line publications (Science Direct, Ingenta, Wiley Interscience, etc.), abstracting principles, indexing and citation protocols (e.g. Endnote).

Numerical, data handling and statistical skills
Advanced mathematical and statistical techniques, including multivaraint analysis, relevant to working in the physical environment.

Computer-based skills
Progressing from the above skills: sourcing and manipulation of data from the WWW; access databases; design and construction of presentation packages and WWW pages; simple programming using Visual Basic.

Research and experiment design, planning and execution
The design and conducting of research projects, whether independent or team efforts, in commercial or academic contexts. Includes preparation of funding applications, consideration of research protocols, ethics, and QA aspects.
Experiment design builds on the numerical skills developed in preceding sessions.

Communicating Science
Writing technical English, report design and execution, preparation for successful publication, effective oral presentation skills, communication with the public (e.g. media techniques, press releases, interview skills).

Brief description

Instruction and practice in a range of generic skills appropriate to conducting postgraduate research and professional activities in physical earth and environmental sciences.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Peck, J. & Coyle, M. (1999) The Student's Guide to Writing Macmillan
Coombes, H. (2001) Research using IT Palgrave Press
White, S., Evans, P., Mihill, C. & Tysoe (1993) Hitting the Headlines: a practical guide to science in the media. BPS Books.
Wisker, G., (2001) The Postgraduate Research Handbook Palgrave Press.
Jefferies, J (2001) Beginning statistics. Sage Press
Johnson, R.J (1980) Multivariate Statistical Analysis in Geography. Longman
Van Emden, J. (2001) Effective communication for Science and Technology. Palgrave Press

Web Page/Sites
** Recommended Consultation


This module is at CQFW Level 7