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BIO8196 : Research Project

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Mark Whittingham
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 60
ECTS Credits: 30.0


To develop experience in executing a research project. Students should develop both general (e.g. literature review and synthesis and report writing) and specialist research skills. To develop students' confidence to undertake an individual investigation and report their findings and interpretations to others. The project should be an original scientific investigation, undertaken by the student with guidance from a specialist supervisor.

Outline Of Syllabus

The objective of the module is to give students exposure to research. Students will undertake a Masters level research project, based on research within the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. The research project introduces the student to biological research work under the close supervision of a member of staff and requires that the student learn to think and work independently both in the laboratory and in the writing up of the results in the style described in the project guide.
Each project will vary in how it is undertaken and the student and supervisor should work together to decide upon an appropriate plan of action. Each project will contain elements of: literature review and synthesis, data collection or collation, time management, health and safety assessment, data management, analysing data, presentation of results. Due to the nature of some subject areas, some projects may require data gathering during the vacation preceding stage 4 and this will be organised in consultation with the supervisor. Students will be required to take responsibility for the project including organising equipment and time management. An introductory session will outline the module and the principles of constructing a project proposal, followed by initial consultations about a thesis topic with the Degree Programme Director. Students will be expected to arrange a regular programme of meetings with their supervisor.

Students write up the results of their project in a project dissertation and make a poster presentation of their work at the end of the module. They are also assessed on their professionalism and competence with respect to their project work

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1132:00132:00Includes 120hrs for 10,000word report, 12hrs poster (1hr) prep.
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials41:004:00Module Leader meetings to check project progress, difficulties incurred/project write up questions
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1430:00430:00PiP - Practical Work
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision221:0022:00Online synchronous weekly supervision meetings
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study121:0012:00Seminar attendance and training sessions.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Independent execution of a project is achieved through directed work, via regular meeting with the supervisor. Students will be required to take responsibility for the project including organising equipment, travel, health and safety aspects and time management. Students will divide their time between practical work (in the laboratory, field or computer-based), reading relevant literature, data analysis and writing, in consultation with their project supervisor.
Reading relevant literature develops information literacy skills and knowledge and understanding of background literature relating to research topic.
Writing project dissertation and poster presentation develops competence in presentation of scientific information in written format in both scientific writing and summary formats.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Dissertation2M85Dissertation (10,000 words)
Prof skill assessmnt2M15Poster presentation (15 min)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The final report should be written in the style of a peer reviewed scientific article. This report assesses knowledge and understanding of the background literature relating to the research topic, written communication of scientific information, numeracy, knowledge and understanding of research approaches and techniques, computer literacy and the ability to devise and test hypotheses. More specifically, the written dissertation evaluates the ability to analyse and interpret data in the light of a knowledge of the subject.

The poster presentation assesses the presentation skills of the students in a format that is often used in the professional environment.

Reading Lists