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CHY8812 : Research Skills and Development

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ian Hardcastle
  • Lecturer: Dr Julian Knight, Dr Lee Higham, Dr Hanno Kossen
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To provide students with skills in research necessary for their project. Specifically to:
To provide skills in scientific information retrieval and curation from a variety of sources.
To provide skills in searching for chemical, biochemical and biophysical data from public databases.
To develop key literacy and communication skills.
To research and produce a critical literature mini-review on a topic related to the project.
To provide key skills in chemical risk assessment.
To use spectroscopic data for structure determination of organic molecules. To recognise practical constraints in the design of synthetic procedures.
To develop skills in key experimental techniques, including chromatography

Outline Of Syllabus

Lectures and Workshops will cover the following topics:
Research seminars: a selection of invited speakers presenting current research topics Scientific literature: searching, curating and citing the scientific literature.
Scientific databases: Reaxys, SciFinder, ChemBL, pubchem, pdb.
Scientific writing skills, including reports and reviews.
Preparation of visual material for presentation and reports, including data and molecular structures. Presentation skills.
Safety and preparation of risk assessments.
Analytical techniques (1H, 13C NMR, MS, IR, chromatography).
Structure determination using spectroscopic data
Laboratory course on experimental techniques and multi-step syntheses.
A schedule of the delivery of the different workshops will be provided at the beginning of the course on Blackboard.
Up to date details on times and locations of the research seminars can be found on

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture71:007:00Lectures covering lit review, safety, presentation & graphics, scientific databases and referencing
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials101:0010:00Pre-recorded: lit review, safety, presentation & graphics, sci databases/ref, spectr/exper data
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion72:0014:00Formative online coursework
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion24:008:00Safety and reaxys exercises
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Reaxys exercise
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Drylab report
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion105:0050:00Preparation of literature review
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading135:0065:00Reading for literature review
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Research seminars from visiting speakers (online and PiP)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00Workshops covering NMR spectroscopy
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00Computer workshops covering molecular graphics and NMR analysis
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00Computer dry labs
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision51:005:00Meetings with project supervisor to discuss literature review
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Online lectures provide necessary information and tools for the academic preparation with workshops consolidating the work through practical applications of taught material. Supervision meetings provide guidance for literature report writing. Independent study for literature research and background reading are required for the completion of all assessed components.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M30Literature Review (4 Pages)
Written exercise2M10Safety exercise (COSHH form and online assessment)
Written exercise2M40Laboratory Report (covering 4 individual experiments) approx. 12 pages including appendices
Written exercise2M20Chemical database searching - Reaxys Exercise
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MPresentation slides
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The Literature Review will give students a detailed knowledge of the literature related to their project topic and an opportunity to practise written skills.
The Research Seminar Report contextualises the wider research activity in a critical fashion.
The Safety exercise prepares the students for the safety aspects of their project.
The Lab Report test the student’s ability to accurately record data and observations and to make reasoned structural assignments based on data.
Formative assessments are provided to reinforce taught material and give an opportunity for practice and feedback

Coursework assessments cover research and writing skills (Literature review and Reaxys exercise) and theoretical laboratory and safety skills (laboratory report and Safety exercise)."
Each component assesses a different area of skills and knowledge so different assessments are required

Reading Lists