MST2205 : Research and Employability Skills (Inactive)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To introduce and practice the development of hypotheses based on observations or prior knowledge and to emphasise and discuss the importance of robust experimental design linked to appropriate data analysis and interpretation to allow students to complete the scientific cycle. To explore different types of data and introduce and practice the appropriate statistical analyses. To provide guidance and practice in the interpretation of the outcomes of analysis and reporting scientific data in a suitable format. To develop student confidence in using statistical analyses and an awareness of the relevance and importance of appropriate techniques in Marine Science research to prepare students for their final year Research Projects.
To further develop literature skills, including critical evaluation of the literature.
To offer students the opportunity to undertake subject-specific work-related learning in a professional work environment. Students will liaise with potential employers to proactively develop their employability skills and contribute to the ethos of the host organisation. The ability of students to critically reflect on their personal skills development and apply this to other learning activities will be enhanced. Their capacity to evaluate their role within the organisation and responses to work-related issues will also be developed.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will build upon the fundamental scientific research skills developed in NES1204 and introduce students to more advanced techniques to prepare them for their final year Research Project. The module will use a series of lectures, practical workshops and tutorials to deliver material in a cohesive way. Key topics to be covered included:
•       Experimental design and data handling; statistical analyses including investigating differences in frequency (chi-square test), comparing averages (t-test, Mann-Whitney U-test, Analysis of Variance, Kruskal-Wallis), testing for relationships (Pearson’s and Spearman Rank correlation coefficients and regression), and investigating ecological diversity (diversity indices)
•       Library Project including using scientific databases; evaluating sources; critically reviewing literature
•       Placement preparation and completion, including writing CVs and covering letters, interview techniques, using social media for employability, reflective thinking, using ePortfolio, Marine Science graduate destinations
•       General academic skills such as engaging with marking criteria, planning Stage 3 Research Projects

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion118:0018:00Completing field course reports
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion35:0015:00Completing summative assessments (laboratory & field reports)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture91:009:00Introductory lectures to practicals & tutorials on data analysis
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading61:006:00Lecture follow up: ReCap
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:303:30Laboratory practical
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical43:0012:00Laboratory practicals
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical28:0016:00Research vessel practicals
Guided Independent StudySkills practice72:0014:00Completing formative assessments
Guided Independent StudySkills practice150:307:30Completing laboratory/field notebook
Guided Independent StudySkills practice111:0011:00Preparation for practical sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops33:009:00Computer based modelling workshop
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork39:0027:00Field practicals
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork148:0048:00Residential Field Course
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork14:004:00Computer based data analysis workshop
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures and practicals are designed to introduce the students to the theory behind the experimental protocol, discuss and analyse the data collected during the experiments and the techniques and skills used. Additional sessions on-board the research vessel will give students experience of conducting scientific data collection in a marine setting.

These sessions will provide students with a solid foundation and understanding of:
• Practical and field methods in field marine biology, zoology and oceanography
• Proposing, testing and challenging hypotheses
• Data handling and processing
• Concepts in marine community dynamics
• Oceanographic survey methods

The residential field course will extend students experience and knowledge of field based survey methodology and provide the opportunity for fundamental scientific skills to be developed.

Directed research and reading will support the information received through formal practicals by guided independent study using primary literature and key texts. Students will be encouraged to become more independent in their learning at this stage in their programmes to develop key skills such as Active Learning, Goal Setting and Action
Planning, Decision Making, and Initiative, which they will require at Levels 6.

Assessment preparation and completion will allow students to fully prepare for their formative and summative coursework. Students will have the opportunity to consolidate and build upon knowledge gained in the taught sessions

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt2M25Biodiversity test
Written exercise1M30Four field course worksheets, each 500 word equivalent
Poster1M15Approx. 1000 words
Report1M15Field report (Approx. 1000 words)
Practical/lab report1M15Laboratory report (Approx. 1000 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises1MResearch vessel worksheet
Prob solv exercises2MResearch vessel worksheet
Prob solv exercises1MField Practical worksheet
Prob solv exercises2MField Practical worksheet
Prob solv exercises2MLaboratory practical worksheet
Prob solv exercises2MData analysis worksheet
Prob solv exercises2MComputer modelling worksheet
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formative laboratory, field and research vessel assessments are designed to test the breadth of knowledge of important concepts related to designing and conducting scientific experiments and surveys using appropriate techniques and equipment.

Assessment of laboratory and field classes will be summatively assessed through the completion of practical reports and presentation of a group poster. These are designed to examine the student’s ability to present scientific information and data in a concise way while following a specific presentation format. Presenting a group poster will assess the student’s ability to work as part of a team and demonstrate time management skills to complete a task for a specific deadline.

The residential field course will be assessed through a biodiversity test and four field course exercise worksheets designed to examine their ability to synthesise practical knowledge and apply it to new marine environments. Students will be expected to work in teams to collect scientific data, which they will present clearly with justification for their findings.

Students will be expected to present notes of their practical work in their laboratory notebooks and use these notes to complete the summative and formative exercises.

Reading Lists