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MST3204 : Advanced Research Skills

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Benjamin Wigham
  • Lecturer: Dr Heather Sugden, Dr Gary Caldwell, Professor Pip Moore, Dr Sarah Coulthard, Professor Clare Fitzsimmons, Dr Theresa Rueger
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Mixed Location
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Advanced Research Skills

Outline Of Syllabus

For the field course:?

Residential field course involving a range of?laboratory, shore based and on-board vessel tasks. The exact location of the course may vary from year to year. Students will be assessed on their ability to work in teams and independently on project-related tasks. Lectures, discussion seminars and workshops will provide grounding in the ecology of the?location, and?provide opportunities for building team skills. Following their return, tutorials will provide opportunities for reflection on learning outcomes, data analysis training and report writing briefing.?
Skills development workshops:?

To support them in their research?project modules, students will undertake training via a series of non-synchronous guided learning activities and workshops on?research-focussed analytical skills such multivariate statistics,?GIS?and bioinformatics.?

Research vessel practicals:

Culmination of a stage-by-stage progression in the students’ use of the vessel for undertaking data collections. These sessions will introduce students to working offshore on a research vessel with activities targeted specifically around the local fishery and associated littoral habitats. They will gain a wider appreciation and experience of sing new sampling methodologies to address key ecological and practical management questions.

Seminar Series:??

Invited speakers from the UK and?overseas, will share their research experiences, and illuminate global marine science issues. Students will be encouraged to use these seminars as a starting point for extended reading on current topical areas of global marine science research.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Field course scientific paper report
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Field course briefings
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities81:008:00Pre-skills workshop online non-synchronous preparatory work
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Research seminar series
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching41:004:00Post-field course clinics
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops43:0012:00Skills workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork18:008:00Research Vessel offshore practical
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork180:0080:00Residential fieldcourse
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study136:0036:00Independent study around subject and revision for S2 exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time41:004:00Online research seminar series
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Non-synchronous online material will?present?the background to new analytical techniques?to be demonstrated and?practiced in workshops.?

Lectures will provide briefings to?inform students of the format of their?field course and their final field course?project report.? ?

The workshops will introduce students to more advanced analysis?techniques and software such as PRIMER,?ArcGIS?BLAST and CLUSTAL?to provide them with training in using these tools, which may be appropriate for them to apply to their independent research project data.?

The residential field course provides training in and experience of field work, new biogeographic regions and research project skills.?Clinics?will be held following the field course to inform students of the format of their project?report, and?provide one-to-one support with data analysis and report writing.??

The research vessel practical will build upon the skills and knowledge gained at stage 1 (MST1205) and stage 2 (MST2205) of their programme and allow them to marry this with the introduction and experience of new sampling methodologies to conduct assessments of marine habitats and fauna in an offshore North Sea setting.

The seminar series, both in person and via online synchronous sessions, and extended reading encourages the students to consider the integration of their programme of study to the wider field of marine sciences and to be able to draw on a range of information sources delivered in a wide range of styles.?

Assessment preparation and completion will allow students to fully prepare?for their summative assessments. Through this and independent study students will have the opportunity to consolidate and build upon knowledge gained?throughout their degree programmes.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A40N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M60Field course project report-3000 word equivalent project report in style of scientific paper
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessed?field course?report?will be in the form of a scientific paper manuscript, which will examine the student’s ability to?design, execute and write-up components of a research study, including presentation and interpretation of appropriate statistical techniques and discussion of the key findings using the primary literature. It will also highlight their ability to clearly plan, execute and succinctly describe their research undertaken the field.?(this builds substantially on key training at stage 2; MST2205 and MST2204)

The exam will be a general paper with questions focussed on the big issues and challenges in marine science allowing students to draw upon their collective knowledge obtained throughout the programme alongside their wider studies, attendance at research seminars, and general knowledge.

Reading Lists