GV2RTS-Research Training for Geography and Environmental Science

Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Alison Macleod

Email: alison.macleod@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module enables the development of a wide range of professional skills, including research training, project management, career awareness and employability. The main focus of the module is a team based research project, in which students work closely with an academic mentor to carry out a piece of carefully planned and highly professional research. Students will act as consultants, designing, executing and reporting on a research project that meets the original project brief. Students will also be asked to tailor their CV to a subject-relevant job advert for which they should be qualified to apply for. They will also produce a supporting covering letter. This element will be supported by the Careers Service. Students will encounter more advanced-level research skills training. They will also gain experience of the University of Reading Research Ethics and Health and Safety processes as they prepare for their project. 


The aims of this module are:

1. To allow students to experience an authentic, professional research experience;

2. To introduce students to the Careers Service and give them experience of accessing support from a Careers Adviser and online support materials;

3. To give students experience of an authentic recruitment and selection process;

4. To give students experience of the problems and opportunities associated with working in a small team;

5. To develop research project management skills, including working to a project brief and meeting deadlines;

6. To prepare students for their Part 3 dissertation or other independent research project. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

The career learning element of this module has the following assessable learning outcomes:

1. Ensure students understand how to research employer requirements and have a knowledge of the typical range of skills employers expect graduates to be able to offer; 

2. Develop students understanding of what makes an effective CV, covering letter and application form with a view to enabling students to create targeted applications to their employer of choice

3. Ensure students recognise the purpose and process of all selection procedures including interviews and assessment centres and support students in preparing their own strategies for effective self-presentation at interview

The research project element of this module has the following assessable learning outcomes:

4. Ensure students can design, execute and report on a research project that meets a specific brief

5. Develop students ability to select appropriate research methods and ensure they can justify these choices

6. Check students are able to navigate the University of Reading Research Ethics and Health and Safety processes 

Additional outcomes:

The career learning element of this module has the following additional outcomes:

1. It will enable students to identify and reflect on their own strengths and preferences, interests, motivations and personality and understand how these relate to different career options and further study;

2. It will ensure students engage in explicit personal development reflection in relation to their career preferences with the purpose of motivating them to develop employability skills, gain relevant work experience and gain other experiences that will increase their chances of gaining graduate level work;

3. It will provide students with a broad awareness of the typical graduate careers and postgraduate study options open to their degree discipline and outline the research skills and techniques they could use to identify other career options they might want to pursue.

This module also aims to develop a wide range of key skills through a programme of self-directed study. These skills include collecting, analysing, and presenting data. Students will work as a participant or leader of a group, and contribute effectively to the achievement of group objectives. This experience will also enhance students' skills of time management. Following this, they will be in a position to reflect on the process of learning, and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses. 

Outline content:

In the Autumn Term, students encounter a range of careers and professional skills development activities relating to their project. This includes engaging with alumni and employers from their programme in a 'Meet the Professionals' event and an introduction to the support available from the Careers Service. In the second half of Autumn Term, students will undertake research training relevant to their degree programme through a series of methods workshops. In Spring Term, students will work in small groups to undertake an authentic and highly professional research project. This will include advanced-level research skills and project management training. Students will then work under an academic mentor, who they will meet regularly to design their research project, carry out a short but carefully planned piece of research, and report on this in a professional way.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Students will encounter a wide range of T&L methods on this module, including seminars and lectures, small group tutorials and peer based learning. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 4 4
Project Supervision 2 16
Practicals classes and workshops 14 0
Fieldwork 20
Guided independent study 80 60
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 20
Report 50
Oral assessment and presentation 20
Class test administered by School 10

Summative assessment- Examinations:
No examination.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

In the Autumn Term, students will produce a job application, comprising a covering letter and CV directed towards one of several advertised person specification for a research project (20% of the total mark). In the Autumn Term, students will produce a short Screencast that provides an overview of their research project progress (20% of the total mark). During the Christmas break, students will complete an online Geographic skills test in order to assess their understanding and ability to apply the information they were taught in the skills training sessions (10% of the mark). Students will write a technical report reporting on their research project and will include a personal performance review (50% of the mark).

Formative assessment methods:

Students will have the opportunity to discuss their CV and covering letter at a workshop, which will include peer review. Students will also be given feedback on their project and report by their supervisor. 

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
An overall module mark of 40%

Reassessment arrangements:
Resubmission of coursework as specified by the Department

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: 26 September 2018


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