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NES8800 : Research Skills and Development

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Simon Doherty
  • Lecturer: Dr Hanno Kossen, Dr Julian Knight, Dr Lee Higham
  • Other Staff: Dr Tom McAllister, Dr Celine Cano, Professor Akane Kawamura, Dr Michael Carroll, Mrs Julia Robinson, Dr David Coles, Dr Ian Hardcastle, Dr James Knight, Professor Mike Waring, Dr Roly Armstrong, Dr Agnieszka Bronowska, Dr Matt Hopkinson
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


To provide students with skills in research necessary for their project. Specifically:
To provide skills in scientific information retrieval and curation from a variety of sources.
To provide skills in attributing source materials and constructing accurate references in the RSC style, employing good academic practice and referencing principles to avoid plagiarism.
To provide skills in searching for chemical, biochemical and biophysical data from databases.
To develop key literacy and communication skills.
To research the literature and produce a short presentation on a topic related to their project.
To use spectroscopic data for structure determination of organic molecules.
To recognize 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-n, Scopus, Web of Science, EMBASE and others relevant to the research task.
Scientific writing skills.
Preparation of visual material for presentation and reports, including data and molecular structures. Presentation skills.
Analytical techniques (1H, 13C NMR, MS, IR, chromatography).
Structure determination using spectroscopic data
A dry 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 Canvas.
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
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion114:0014:00Drylab report
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion125:0025:00Reaxys exercise
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture91:009:00Lectures covering, presentation & graphics, scientific literature and associated skills, scientific databases and referencing
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials53:0015:00Pre-recorded: graphics, sci databases/ref, spectr/exper data and reference management software.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion105:0050:00Preparation of the literature presentation
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading125:0060:00Research and literature presentation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Research seminars from visiting speakers (online and PiP)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops32:006:00Computer workshops covering molecular graphics and NMR analysis
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops32:006:00Workshops covering NMR spectroscopy
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00Computer dry labs
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision21:002:00Meetings with project supervisor to discuss the content and preparation of the project presentation.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide necessary information and tools for the academic preparation with workshops consolidating the work through practical applications of taught material. Meetings between the student and project supervisor will provide guidance for the preparation of the presentation. Independent study for literature research and background reading are required for the completion of all assessed components. Students will develop and demonstrate their digital and information literacies at postgraduate level, in readiness for further research or future employment. They will learn strategies for finding, evaluating and managing information in line with their current needs, and how they might adapt these to future research tasks.
The extensive set of REAXYS practise exercises illustrates all of the main database features and search strategies and enables students to gain competence at their own pace

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation1M30Prepare and deliver a 10 min presentation on a literature topic related to their project
Written exercise2M50Summary Laboratory Report on an allocated experiment and NMR interpretation
Written exercise1M20Chemical database searching - Reaxys Exercise
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MPractice NMR exercise
Written exercise1MPractice searching, collating and summarizing information from the primary literature
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The project presentation will provide the students with a detailed knowledge of their CHY8002 project or a related topic and an opportunity to develop their presentation skills.
The Research Seminar Report contextualises the wider research activity in a critical fashion.
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 presentation skills (project presentation and Database exercises) and theoretical laboratory (laboratory report).
Each component assesses a different area of skills and knowledge so different assessments are required

Reading Lists