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Research Project

  • Module code: GG6400
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 6
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

The module is core to students on the geographical and environmental courses. It provides experience in the design, execution and preparation of an independent but approved programme of research. Furthermore, through the Personal Tutorial System (PTS) it encourages students to employ reflective learning techniques and to develop a variety of level-appropriate employability skills by engaging with their research project as a piece of academic research with commercial, policy or political value which requires effective dissemination and communication to a range of suitable audiences. Employability skills developments are integral to the Research Project module. The specific nature of the research project chosen allows the students to target specific skills they wish to develop in their learning pathway and the PTS will work closely with the students to identify and articulate these skills through the associated module assessments.

Aims

  • Identify and analyse a significant research problem.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of relevant arguments and present a coherent critique of the available research literature and materials.
  • Select and execute a rigorous research methodology appropriate to the research problem and demonstrate competencies in data manipulation, analysis and interpretation.
  • Demonstrate independence of thought and judgement.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Identify and formulate research questions within an appropriate academic subject;
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop a detailed, coherent and logical argument;
  • Develop and implement an appropriate research methodology, including evaluation of safety and ethical considerations relevant to the proposed project;
  • Demonstrate skills in the collection, analysis, interpretation and communication of geographical and/or environmental data;
  • Show an ability to organise a work programme effectively and independently, with support from a supervisor;
  • Reflect on the variety of employability skills applied and further developed through their research project as a foundation for the consideration of further study and their professional/work place development.

Curriculum content

  • Each student identifies a research topic and formulates a project: including the formulation of aims and objectives, feasibility considerations (including ethical concerns), designing the work schedule, the collection and analysis and interpretation of data, and the preparation of a report.
  • The research normally involves primary data collection, although other forms of analytical scholarship may form acceptable research themes.
  • Students will reflect on their learning and articulate their learning gains and how these gains may feedforward to their employability.

Teaching and learning strategy

This module is an independent research project module. However, each student is assigned a project supervisor who will provide regular guidance in research design, practice and progress. Regular meetings are held to monitor student progress and performance. There are also four hours of scheduled lectures to consolidate students understanding of the key elements of research projects; including time management, the application of ethical principles and project preparation. The PTS will provide support for the students on their learning pathway at Level 6 and will challenge the students to reflect on the knowledge and skills acquired through the development of their research project. The PTS will emphasise the identification of employability skills and support the students to value and to articulate these skills in their transition from Level 6 to the workplace and/or further study. The specific nature of these employability skills will be dependent on the nature of the chosen research topic and the personal tutor and Research Project supervisor will work closely with the students to identify the specific skills they wish to develop at the early stated of their research design.

Canvas VLE will be used to support all aspects of learning and teaching, providing a platform for articulating the module syllabus, assessment and feedback, archiving module-related resources (eg. specific reading materials) and a digital discussion platform.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lecture 16
Scheduled learning and teaching Tutorial 10
Guided independent study 274
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment is through: 

(A) a research report (80%, 8000 words). The chosen research topic will be reflective of the subject pathway and will build upon the developmental process in GG5400 Design and Management of Projects.

(B) interim stage oral presentation (10%, 10 minutes plus questions). This is to consolidate progress and offer constructive guidance on the completion of the project. Feedback is provided by staff (including the project supervisor) and peers.

(C) Reflective essay (10%, 1000 words). Towards the end of their project students will be expected to reflect on the variety of employability skills applied and further developed through their research project as a foundation for the consideration of further study and their professional/work place development.

Formative assessment includes:

A range of formative assessment will be adopted. On-going discussions via the project supervisor will assist the student in the development of strategies for the improvement and enhancement of the project. This regular and detailed feedback will also provide the student with a measure of the rate and level of progress of their project.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) identify and formulate research questions within an appropriate academic subject (B) Interim Oral Presentation and (A) Final Written Project
2) demonstrate the ability to develop a detailed and logical argument; (B) Interim Oral Presentation and (A) Final Written Project
3) develop and implement an appropriate research methodology, including evaluation of safety and ethical considerations relevant to the proposed project; (B) Interim Oral Presentation and (A) Final Written Project
4) demonstrate skills in the analysis and interpretation of geographical data; (B) Interim Oral Presentation and (A) Final Written Project
5) show an ability to organise a work programme effectively and independently, with support from a supervisor. (B) Interim Oral Presentation and (A) Final Written Project
6) Reflect on the variety of employability skills applied and further developed through their research project as a foundation for the consideration of further study and their professional/work place development. (C) Reflective Essay

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Interim Oral Presentation Practical exam 10
Final report Coursework 80
Reflective essay Coursework 10
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major element of assessment is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module.

Bibliography core texts

Kneale PE (2011) Study Skills for Geography, Earth and Environmental Students - A Practical Guide (3rd edition), London: Arnold.

Bibliography recommended reading

Bryman A (2016) Social research methods, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

DeLyser D (eds) (2010) The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Geography, SAGE, London.

Clifford N, French S and Valentine, G (eds) (2010) Key Methods in Geography. Sage, London.

Flowerdew R (2005) Methods in Human Geography: a Guide for Students Doing a Research Project (2nd edition). Routledge, London.

Hay I (2010) Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography, Oxford University Press, Oxford/

Hunt EF (2016) Social Science: an Introduction to the Study of Society. Routledge, London.

Hurst CE (2017) Social Inequality: Forms, Causes, and Consequences. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London.

Montello DR (2006) An Introduction to Scientific Research Methods in Geography, Thousand Oaks, SAGE Publications, London.

Parsons A and Knight PG (2015) How to do Your Dissertation in Geography and Related Disciplnes (3rd edition). Routledge, London.

Peters KA (2016) Your Human Geography Dissertation: Designing, Doing and Delivering, SAGE, London.

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