GVMSIL-Skills for Independent Learning

Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: GVMRP Research Project
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Elizabeth Shaw

Email: e.j.shaw@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Through seminars, tutorials and coursework, this module is designed to provide training in the skills required to study and research at postgraduate level. 


The module aims to make students aware of the academic standards and integrity expected at postgraduate level and to provide training in study skills required for independent in learning in taught and research project modules.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of this module the student will be able to:

-make appropriate use of databases and referencing tools to source and manage literature relevant to a given subject

-demonstrate good academic practice in use, citation and referencing of source material,

-constructively criticise the research of others,

-evaluate major issues, concepts and opinions at the forefront of subject area for identification of future research needs

Additional outcomes:

Students will develop an overview of academic support services for students at the University of Reading and develop self-reflection in the context of surface, deep and strategic approaches to learning

Outline content:

In the Autumn term, there will be seminars covering the following topics:

-introduction to postgraduate study

-surface, deep and strategic approaches to learning

-information retrieval for research, using the library, referencing and reference management

-writing and critiquing journal articles


In the Spring term the module will interface with the literature review component of the Research Project module (GVMRP).  There will be a seminar on ‘writing a literature review’ to prepare the students for the literature review that they will write on the topic of their research project and this will be linked to the production of a literature review plan for summative assessment.

Global context:

This module involves evaluation of issues and research in Environmental Science and Management that will frequently have a global dimension, for example, the grand challenges of food, water, soil and energy security in the face of global change. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The seminar sessions are interspersed throughout the Autumn and Spring terms.  Students will also carry out individual coursework and have individual discussions with personal tutor and dissertation supervisor. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 6 2
Project Supervision 2 2
Guided independent study 54 16 18
Total hours by term 60.00 20.00 20.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Set exercise 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Set exercise on information retrieval and referencing (30%)

2000-word article critique (50%)

Literature review plan (20%)

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:

50% overall 

Reassessment arrangements:

Re-submission of coursework 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 25 June 2018


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