BI3PROC-Research Project - Ecology and Evolution 20 Credit (C)

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Pre-requisites: Part 2 Ecology, Zoology or Biological Sciences
Modules excluded: BI3PROA Research Project - Ecology and Evolution 40 Credit (A) and BI3PROB Research Project - Biomolecular 40 Credit (B) and BI3PROD Research Project - Biomolecular 20 Credit (D)
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Phil Baker


Summary module description:

This module aims to provide students with the experience of biological research through the design and execution of a literature-based individual project. Theoretical and literature based studies do not involve any type of primary data collection. These studies will make exclusive use of knowledge, data and ideas that already exist in written documents. Such literature based studies may follow a 'systematic literature review' methodology and aim to answer a specific research question. Alternatively, they may have a more analytical approach, where datasets already gathered are re-analysed or combined to address a particular research question.

It provides experience in the use of library and computer based search facilities, in the selection of material, in the writing of an extended essay, in the use of English for scientific writing and in the presentation of a piece of work according to a given set of requirements.

Assessable learning outcomes:
The assessment is by way of a 5,000 word literature review, on a topic of the student's choice (subject to the approval of the supervisor). The learning outcomes that are assessed include:

- The formulation and critical assessment of a scientific argument based on the collection and analysis of information and/or data.

- The ability to search for relevant literature from a wide range of sources.

- The ability to select appropriate key literature.

- The ability to write using good scientific writing and presentation skills according to a specified set of requirements.

- The ability to assess critically the methods, results and conclusions reported by other researchers.

- The knowledge and understainding acquired of the chosen topic.

- If the project involves the collection of data, the student should be able to accurately analyse, report and interpret their data set.

Additional outcomes:
Development of time management skills.

Outline content:
The topic to be selected by the student in consultation with staff and should be one that the student finds worthwhile and interesting. Students are required to meet a number of deadlines at the planning stage, commencing in the latter part of Term 6. Full guidance will be provided in Term 6. The Phase 1 assessment (15%) will be set at the initial meeting with the supervisor and may vary depending on the project. The final project dissertation (75%) will be written in the form of a scientific paper. Students will also be assessed on their performance across the project as a whole (10%). The research will normally be carried out for 200 hours over 10-15 weeks. The Literature Review is to be presented as a report in the form of a scientific paper with a total word limit not exceeding 5,000 words.

Global context:
The topic chosen for review can be of a global or international nature.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Guidelines are issued to students at the commencement of the module in Term 6. Each student should have a Project Advisor. However, the student will be required to complete the module independently putting into practice research expertise acquired in previous modules.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Project Supervision 10 10
Guided independent study 180
Total hours by term 190.00 10.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 15
Report 10
Dissertation 75

Other information on summative assessment:
Phase 1 - 15%; Performance mark - 10%; Dissertation - 75%

Formative assessment methods:
Students will have regular contact and discussions with their supervisor and they will be required to maintain a logbook which will be commented upon at regular intervals by the supervisor.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-submission of a project report, together with other work, not earlier than September.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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