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NES8005 : MRes Research Dissertation Project

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Julia Cooper
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 50
Semester 3 Credit Value: 60
ECTS Credits: 60.0


In this module we aim to provide the student with an opportunity to carry out an independent piece of
research work which involves; the identification of an appropriate topic; project and experimental
design; defining the scope of the study; assessment of resource requirements; analysis and
interpretation of data; preparation of a thesis giving a comprehensive report of the study and a critical
evaluation of the findings. This module will benefit students who are wishing to go on to undertake a
PhD, as it will build their independent learning skills to complete a more research intensive project across multiple disciplines.

Outline Of Syllabus

The student will develop a research project that will involves;
•       Identification of research topic
•       Review of literature (at the outset and continuing until completion of the thesis)
•       Formulation of hypothesis
•       Timetabling of activities and achieving set milestones
•       Preparation of budgets and justification of resources
•       Relevant ethical considerations
•       Experimental design; data collection; data analysis and interpretation
The research project introduces the student to research work under the close supervision of a
member of staff and requires that the student learns to think and work independently. Their critical analysis and interpretation and discussion of the results will be the student’s individual responsibility. Students will develop a research project in semester 1 within the scope of the research interests of the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences and potential project supervisors.

The students will refine and deliver a 15-minute presentation/pitch of the project idea developed in semester 1.

The students will develop their project proposal early in semester 2 with a detailed GANTT chart and project timeline that will determine the timetable for their research. In semester 2 and 3 the student will undertake their individual research project under the supervision of the project supervisor, or supervisory team for group projects. 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 article appropriate for their research.

The student will then deliver a 15-minute presentation at the end of their research to an audience of students and academics that demonstrates their ability to explain their research and its conclusions to an audience and to answer questions based upon their research.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Project proposal writing
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Project GANTT and plan writing
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Final assessed individual presentation (including preparation)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1160:00160:00Dissertation writing
Guided Independent StudyProject work1620:00620:00Research leading to dissertation
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study120:0020:00Semester 1 exploration of the research topic and development of hypotheses
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study130:0030:00Includes background reading and reading notes for a full understanding of material.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision202:0040:00Meetings with Supervisory team
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1260:00260:00Includes background reading and reading notes for a full understanding of material.
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.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation103M510 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
Research proposal2M5Risk assessment, and COSHH, ethical assessment and GANTT timeline.
Research proposal1M10Project proposal Approx 2500 words in the style of an abridged RCUK Case for Support and Justification of Resources
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

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

Reading Lists