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ACE8099 : Earth and Environmental Science Research Project

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Simon Peacock
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 30
Semester 2 Credit Value: 30
ECTS Credits: 30.0


To give students the opportunity to undertake a research investigation equivalent to a short scientific research investigation or consultancy project. Projects will involve the need to clearly define aims and objectives that enable the objectives to be met, analyse the data and/or information collected and prepare a report of the investigation which should include a critical review of the relevant literature.

Outline Of Syllabus

Students have the opportunity to carry out a research investigation on a topic of their choice relevant to environmental science. They will work together with a member of academic staff to carry out an investigation equivalent to a short scientific research investigation or consultancy project. Students will select project titles and identify an appropriate supervisor at the end of Semester 2, Stage 3.
During Semesters 1 & 2, students work individually with the support of their supervisors on the projects. However, there are also regular group tutorials to consolidate library and information literacy skills - as well as to discuss the process of project research throughout Semesters 1 and 2.
The thesis is submitted at the end of the Spring Term and oral presentations are given to the whole group in the second week after Easter.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials51:005:00Online lecture materials
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Preparing and writing project progress report
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion13:003:00Preparing and writing oral presentation
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1120:00120:00Preparing and writing final dissertation report
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading175:0075:00Recommended reading texts around project
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities51:005:00non-synchronous skills practice
Guided Independent StudySkills practice55:0025:00Skills practice
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00PiP - Tutorials
Guided Independent StudyProject work1250:00250:00Student led research eg fieldwork, lab work, survey
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion51:005:00Project discussion
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity55:0025:00Reflective learning
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00PiP - Drop in sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision51:005:00PiP - project supervision
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study124:0024:00Independent study
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion51:005:00Online discussion with project supervisor
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00PiP - Module talk
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Tutorials early in Semester 1 will consolidate academic library skills, including searching of databases and referencing. Library staff will support this process and attend at least one tutorial to provide guidance to the students. Tutorials continue throughout Semester 1 and 2 to provide a forum for discussion of general project issues.

The majority of the project work is done individually with the support of a member of academic staff as supervisor. Interpersonal skills will be developed during this phase and the students will take responsibility for the development and running of their own project, with support from the supervisor. Meetings with supervisors provide an opportunity to receive guidance and require the student to reflect on progress achieved and to plan the next phase of work.

Seminars at the end of the projects, where students summarise the key elements of their project in an oral presentation, also attended by the Stage 3 students provide students with an opportunity to share ideas and experiences.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation202M5Due 2nd week after Easter vacation
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Dissertation2M65Dissertation, usually no more than 9000 words but maybe permitted to 11000 words. As draft scientific paper or consultancy report.
Report2M20Literature review and project progress report, including draft intro and methods, together with future work plan. Up to 5000 words
Report2M10Supervisor's report on project process at submission
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students are required to submit a literature review and project progress report. This provides an opportunity for direct feedback on the underpinning literature review, guidance on early sections of the report and evaluation of the work plan for the second semester. The progress reports are marked by the module leader; an overview of the issues raised will be used to allow general learning points to be explored in the project tutorials.

The supervisor provides an assessment of the student's capacity to plan and carry out the project work and then draw together the findings into a coherent academic report. Students will be expected to have demonstrated these capabilities during meetings throughout the project with their supervisor.

The thesis (presented as either a draft scientific paper or consultancy report for a client) is assessed independently by two markers to determine the extent to which the student has
i) clearly defined aims and objectives, with reference to a testable hypothesis where appropriate
ii) designed experiments or surveys that enable the objectives to be met,
iii) analysed and interpreted the data and/or information collected
iv) prepared a report of the investigation which includes evaluation in the light of a critical review of the relevant literature.
The ability to communicate clearly and unambiguously will be considered.

The oral presentation to other students in the seminar assesses the ability of the students to summarise a large volume of material, identify the key points and present approaches, data and conclusions in a succinct manner understandable to the non-expert. It takes place before the final hand in so peer feedback can be used to inform the discussion /conclusions.

Reading Lists