Module Catalogue 2023/24

NES8002 : Research Dissertation Project

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Martin Edwards
  • Other Staff: Dr Toni Carruthers, Dr James Knight, Dr Roy Sanderson, Dr Hannah Davis
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 5
Semester 3 Credit Value: 55
ECTS Credits: 30.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The aim of this module is for the student to complete an independent research project in an area directly related to their degree. These projects will enable students to undertake an in depth research project where the student can show their research, analytical, interpretive, critical and design skills. Some projects may be group project where a team of students will work together on different aspects a single problem. In these cases, the students will work together to gather information, but each report must be unique and be focused on an individual’s own data. Data from other students may be used to inform the wider aspects of the research but must not be central to the submitting student’s work.

Outline Of Syllabus

The student will either select a project from a list of titles provided by the Degree Programme Director (DPD) or they will work with their DPD or a nominated project coordinator during semester 1 to develop an appropriate project for their discipline. In each case the project will enable students to undertake an in depth research project where the student can show their research, analytical, interpretive, critical and design skills.
The students will write a Project Inception Report (PIR) that will be the design spec for their project.
In semester 3 (and earlier if needed and student workload allows) the student will undertake an individual research project under the supervision of the project supervisor (or appropriate deputy). This project will answer a specific research question and test the student’s ability to advance their knowledge and research skills in this subject.
The student will produce a research paper based on their research in the format of a high quality journal appropriate for their research.
In addition students will deliver a 10 minute research presentation to an audience of students and academics that demonstrates their ability to explain the evolution of the PIR into their research project, providing results and drawing conclusions where appropriate. Students should be able to answer general and specific questions relating to their research topic and field.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

On completion of this module the students will have undertaken a significant piece of individual research in their subject specialism. They will have gained significant expertise in their field of research through literature review, experimental design, scientific investigation and data analysis. They will have synthesised this information in to research paper in the format most appropriate to a named high quality journal in their field.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Hypothesis design, experimental design, experimental analysis, field work (where appropriate), team work (where appropriate), data analysis, critical appraisal of data, health and safety, scientific writing, presentation skills

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Oral presentation (including preparation)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1120:00120:00Dissertation writing
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Literature review/ESM components
Guided Independent StudyProject work1262:00262:00Research leading to dissertation
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1170:00170:00Includes background reading and reading notes for a full understanding of material.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision121:0012:00Synchronous PiP or online meetings with supervisory team and client student led/organised
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Synchronous online introduction to module/reminder
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The students practise and develop their discipline related skills and knowledge, and their generic skills, through independent study of an individual research project. They gain the skills and knowledge delivered by the module by “learning through doing” as they undertake the project. They are supported by one or more academic supervisors who advise on experimental methodology and result interpretation.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation153A1010 minute presentation on the dissertation followed by 5 minutes of questions
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Dissertation3M80Approx. 7000 words, to be written in the style of the most appropriate high quality journal for the subject
Report2M10Project plan and design, risk assessment, and COSHH, ethical assessment and timeline. Approx 2000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The aim of the assessment is to test the student’s ability to design a research project (Project Inception Report) to answer a specific research question, to undertake and report that investigation and to present the information both to an audience in the form of an oral presentation and a journal paper.

Dissertation 1 - “The dissertation mark includes a report from the primary supervisor on the overall attitude, motivation, input, independence, technical ability and professionalism of the student during their research project. The supervisor’s report contributes 10% of the Dissertation mark”


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.