CEM18A-Engineering Research and Dissertation

Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: CEM10A Research skills CEM10B Research dissertation CEM19A Energy Research Skills CEM19B Energy Research Dissertation
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Runming Yao

Email: R.Yao@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

The module will introduce students to the basic skills for carrying out their dissertation research including sourcing literatures; critical reviewing literatures; identifying knowledge gaps; choosing a research topic and writing research proposal for the dissertation.


The module will introduce students to the basic skills for carrying out research, including the ability to develop a clear research question and subsequent research proposal; critically assessing relevant literature; identifying appropriate methods to address the posed question; and robust analysis of results. These elements of research will be introduced in lectures, before the students embark on their projects.

  • To provide students with experience of undertaking a major, MSc level research project;

  • To provide students with experience of presenting their work to a professional audience in a formal setting;

  • To provide students the opportunity to experience and become familiar with specialist skills in an area of energy efficient building design, environmental system design, energy management, building performance assessment and relevant area which interest them and for which expertise exists within the University.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, it is expected that the student will be able to demonstrate ability in the following areas:

• Understand some key research issues in their area of specialism;

• Understand the research process;

• Identify a suitable topic for academic research and formulate appropriate and rigorous research questions, aims and objectives for that topic;

• Plan and conduct a search for literature relevant to the research question; evaluate and critically review that literature; cite references correctly;

• Avoid plagiarism in their writing;

• Develop a research strategy, using an appropriate sample set, source of data and analysis approach for investigating their research question;

• Acquire the relevant knowledge, awareness and appreciation of ethical issues and ensure their own research is ethical;

• Develop a dissertation proposal;

• Plan a project;

• Assemble a body of information on a particular topic;

• Develop editorial skills in the organisation and synthesis relevant material;

• Design and develop appropriate data collection and analysis strategies;

• Undertake analysis and evaluation of data.

Additional outcomes:

On completion of this module students will have had the opportunity to develop:

  • Transferable skills in interpersonal communication, written communication, critical thinking, problem solving and time management.

  • Competence in written and verbal communication through the preparation of assignments.

  • Practical training in time management and independent learning.

  • Presentation skills

Outline content:

The module is designed to develop understanding and knowledge through a structured and developmental series of topics.

  • Library skills

  • Research philosophy

  • Research design and research ethics

  • Critical literature review and research positioning

  • Specific research methods

  • Data analysis methods

  • Dissertation

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures, practical exercises and group work.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Project Supervision 4
Practicals classes and workshops 6
Guided independent study 170
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 15
Set exercise 15

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One dissertation research proposal - approximately 3,500 words;

One presentation during the module teaching week- see the brief on the Black Board.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:

Re- submission of failed elements. Students are required to contact the School to confirm reassessment arrangements.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 5 October 2018


Things to do now