Skip to main content


CEG2609 : Research Methods in Environmental Pollution

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Shannon Flynn
  • Lecturer: Dr Simon Peacock, Dr Martin Cooke
  • 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 and to provide a training in the use of modern instrumental techniques (such as ICP-OES, ICP-MS, Ion-Chromatography and Gas Chromatography) for the geochemical analysis of water, soil and sediment samples.

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, Ion-Chromatography and Gas Chromatography are explained, along with the shortcomings of each approach. A field trip and practical classes allow students to collect and analyse a set of samples from a local site and thus to put what has been learned into practise. Data interpretation and data quality are considered during the seminars.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion23:006:00Preparation for and completion of 2 in class tests
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Write up of lab work Completion and write up of lab work
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture161:0016:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical73:0021:00Geochemical extraction and analysis
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops23:006:00Computer workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork18:008:00Nenthead or other suitable location.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study179:0079:00Includes background reading and reading lecture notes for full understanding of material.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study124:0024:00Follow up to lectures and workshops
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 field and laboratory practical classes, supported by computer workshops. 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 the field and laboratory practical classes. Key skills are practised during the planning and implementation of an environmental pollution study, 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
Practical/lab report1M80Approx 4000 word report on water chemistry of waters impacted by mining in Nenthead region or other suitable location.
Written exercise1M202 in class open book tests (each 50 minutes and worth 10%)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

In class tests 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 reports.
The specialist skills, knowledge and understanding imparted during this module will then be assessed in a cumulative essay 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 report on this work.
The report tests the students' ability to analyse, interpret and present data appropriately for a technical report.

Reading Lists