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CEG2609 : Research Methods in Environmental Pollution

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Shannon Flynn
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module will introduce the theoretical and practical aspects of environmental pollution analysis. The aim is to enable students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the principles and theory of environmental pollution analysis, the selection of approapreate instrumental (such as ICP-OES, ICP-MS, Ion-Chromatography) and to provide a training on assessing data quality and interpretation.

Outline Of Syllabus

The lectures in this module introduce the theoretical and practical aspects of the sampling of environmental media such as water, soil and sediment. A review of basic chemistry, both organic and inorganic, is taught at the start of the module to ensure that all students have sufficient chemical knowledge to complete the module. Basic analytical concepts are covered, with particular emphasis on the monitoring and interpretation of data quality. Lastly, the operation of analytical techniques such as ICP-OES, ICP-MS, and Ion-Chromatography are explained, along with the shortcomings of each approach. Field sampling of soils, along with step by step walk throughs of sample preparation and analysis, interactive discussion and data analysis practicals will allow students to understand the principles of environmental monitoring from sample collection to data analysis and preparing them for their dissertation and potential careers in which either environmental sampling or data analysis is required. Data interpretation and data quality will be the focus of the synchronous computer practicals.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Data analysis and poster preparation all semester and on going
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials181:0018:00Online - A combination of short recordings of lecture material and guided reading
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion16:006:00take home problem sets
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical43:0012:00PiP - Data analysis Practicals class
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Chemistry and Factor Labelling Workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00PiP - Pollution and me, Map activity
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops13:003:00PiP - Standard preparation and sample dilutions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork14:004:00PiP fieldtrip to local water body to practice water sampling techniques
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork14:004:00PIP Lab tours/instrument demonstrations
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity182:0036:00lecture, workshop and practical review and follow-up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study171:0071:00Includes background reading and reading lecture notes for full understanding of material.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Specialist knowledge and understanding are primarily imparted via lecture classes, supported by computer-hosted reference materials. Subject specific skills are taught through video tutorial soil sampling techniques, guided step-by-step sample preparation demonstrations, and synchronous data analysis practicals. Students are encouraged and expected to learn through independent reading and subsequent reflection. They are supported in this by the provision of a module specific reading list. Practical skills are learnt by active participation in synchronous data analysis practicals. Key skills are practiced during soil sampling and data quality and analysis practicals, and in the communication of the results of the study.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Poster1M80Poster presenting analysis of 5 soil samples
Written exercise1M20problem set
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The problem set will examine the progress of the students in developing the skill to calculate solution concentrations, prepare standards, calculate alkalinity, and determine the quality of data before applying it to their posters.
The specialist skills, knowledge and understanding imparted during this module will then be assessed in a poster based on the data collected throughout the term. Data are collected and analysed by groups during the field trip and throughout the term in lab and then assessed by an individual poster on this work.
The poster tests the students' ability to analyse, interpret and present data appropriately.

Reading Lists