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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geosciences

Undergraduate Course: Project Design and Literature Analysis (GESC11001)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 5 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course comprises a key part of the MEarthSci/MEarthPhys Integrated Masters programme. The programme as a whole, aims to develop in students an understanding of how research is carried out and provide an opportunity for students to undertake a piece of independent research work alongside researchers within the School of GeoSciences. Students will be involved in the design of a programme of research, executable in the available time, using library and other search facilities, and referencing previous work. They will draw on skills acquired in courses on Project Design and Literature Analysis, and either Research Methods and Transferable Skills (MEarthSci students) or Scientific computing skills (MEarthPhys students) to ensure that the project is well designed and achievable.
The literature review, project written proposal and oral proposal presentation are key components of the overall assessment towards the masters project, however they are assessed within the framework of this 20-credit Project Design and Literature Analysis (PDLA) course.

Course description This course will allow students to reflect on a subject area of their choice, become familiar with the important and current literature on the subject, and design a research project on the topic of their choice. Students will be introduced to on-line scientific databases used for researching scientific literature and the skills required to identify potential areas for research. Students will use these skills to formulate their independent masters research project. Students will present their research project proposals to each other (and other members of the School) at a final seminar day, as well as write a detailed project proposal, in the form of a NERC research proposal.

The course will comprise short introductory talks on different topics by the staff, but thereafter will be discussion based where staff-student, and student-student discussion will make up the majority of the class time. To benefit from the course, student should attend these classes (either online or in person as appropriate given the pandemic circumstances). Course material will be available online.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements While there are no pre-requisites for this course, only students who are accepted onto the MEarthSci programme can enrol in it.
Additional Costs None.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 100, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 84 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment Details
Written Exam: 0%, Course Work: 100 %, Practical Exam: 0%.
1. Literature Review (30% of the PDLA = 6 credits): Due Friday Week 6, 12:00 noon, (submit online via Turnitin)
2. Proposal Presentation (20% of the PDLA = 4 credits): Monday, Week 11, Seminar day (submit presentation online by 9am)
3. Research Project Proposal (50% of the PDLA = 10 credits): Friday Week 11, 12:00 noon, (submit online via Turnitin)
The assessment is entirely based on project work (Course work) progressively done by each student during the semester: Literature review (30%), Proposal presentation (20%), Research project proposal (50%). Assignments will be submitted electronically.
Students are expected to contact their supervisors at the beginning of the semester and to keep regular contact with them. In particular, students need to engage with their supervisors in preparing their literature review and the project proposal. Supervisors are expected to mark literature review and project proposal of the students they supervise, and to attend their project presentation at the end of the semester.
Literature Review: An outline of the proposed area of research, which describes the main debates and controversies, and contains a reference list of approximately 30 to 40 recent relevant publications. The literature review does not have to include a detailed description of methods that will be used in the project, but should explain briefly how your work will fit into the context of previous work. Maximum 8 x A4-pages of text (including references, but excluding figures and tables).

Project Proposal and Presentation: The project proposal will describe the background to the students independent research project, work to be conducted as part of the project, and how this work will be performed (scientific methodology). Students will be given guidance on how to plan their individual research projects, structure their proposals and will present their research plans (including research background and available scientific literature) to each other and their supervisors at a planned seminar day at the end of the semester. This will provide students with an opportunity to critically assess each others research topics, as well as gain some appreciation for the breadth of scientific research conducted in the Earth Sciences. Maximum 8 x A4-pages of text (including references, figures and tables).

Assessment Deadlines
Literature Review: Due Friday Week 6, 12:00 noon, (submit online via Turnitin)
Proposal Presentation: Monday, Week 11, Seminar day (submit presentation online by 9am)
Research Project Proposal: Friday Week 11, 12:00 noon, (submit online via Turnitin)
Feedback This course comprises group meetings that will be hosted around the discussion of research-related topics. There will be the opportunity for feedback throughout the semester through direct discussion with course organiser. Formal written feedback will be provided on the literature reviews, research proposals and on the proposal and final project presentations.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students will be able to design a research project with testable hypotheses and achievable goals.
  2. Students will be able to interrogate and critically assess existing scientific literature for work still to be done.
  3. Students will be able to set their research in the broader context of work in their field of interest.
  4. Students will have a detailed, thorough and up-to-date understanding of one particular area of research in the geosciences, as well as an appreciation of the range of research conducted in modern geoscience.
Reading List
Students are expected to read widely on their selected topic area. Additional generic papers in how to conduct research or write proposals etc will be provided throughout the semester.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Eliza Calder
Tel: (0131 6)50 4910
Course secretaryMr Johan De Klerk
Tel: (0131 6)50 7010
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