AP1A30-Agricultural Research Skills

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Only available to BSc Agriculture
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2022/3

Module Convenor: Dr Gillian Rose
Email: g.rose@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Sustainable farming practices are based on the application of scientific research. You will be introduced to a range of research topics and methods currently used within the agriculture industry.  You will plan, conduct and analyse a group research project working alongside a member of our research staff.  After critically analysing your results, you will present your research in the form of a scientific paper to your peers and the wider School staff. 


This module introduces students to the professional research environment and gives practical research experience.

Assessable learning outcomes:

Intended learning outcomes:

  • To introduce students to the research process and provide experience of working in a professional research environment

  • To develop professional skills relevant to scientific research, including practical skills relevant to the research topic

  • To develop skills in gathering information from multiple sources and critically analysing peer reviewed literature

  • Collecting, analysing and presenting research data

  • Communicating the findings and implications of research

  • To develop independent study skills including time management

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of this module it is expected that students will be able to:

  • Critically analyse, summarise and present information from a range of sources

  • Correctly acknowledge sources using the Harvard reference system

  • Formulate a relevant research question and related hypotheses

  • Execute a collaborative research project

  • Accurately collect and record information, store, manipulate and analyse research data

  • Demonstrate the ability to write scientifically

  • Confidently present research findings and answer questions

  • Understand the importance of academic integrity

  • Show an awareness of ethical considerations, data protection procedures and relevant health and safety issues in planning research

  • Manage, evaluate and reflect on skills development, identify where more training/support is required and demonstrate a clear plan to develop skills

Additional outcomes:

This module develops a range of transferrable and employability skills including teamwork, communication, project management, critical analysis, numeracy, leadership, decision making, networking, time management, organisational and develops a reflective approach to learning and skills development.

Outline content:

Autumn Term

Students will be introduced to university-level agricultural research through a series of taught sessions.  Students will be allocated a research topic and will work in a team alongside a member of staff to create a research question and hypotheses.  A detailed review of literature will provide the background to the research topic and a Gantt chart will enable effective time management.  A range of essential skills will be introduced including teamwork, scientific writing, reading peer reviewed papers and citing/referencing using the Harvard style.

Spring Term

Students will conduct their group research project with support from a member of staff.  Results will be presented in a scientific poster presentation session with an accompanying verbal presentation.

Global context:

Students will research their allocated subject in the context of global research.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This module will be taught using a series of lectures and seminars and students should attend a minimum of 3 research seminars that are regularly organised by the research groups (crops, animal science, agri-environment).  A practical experiment will be conducted in groups giving valuable research experience.  

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 3 2
Seminars 3
Project Supervision 1 4
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 20 20
    Preparation of practical report 10
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 2
    Carry-out research project 20
    Essay preparation 10
    Reflection 5
Total hours by term 44 56 0
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 20
Report 30
Project output other than dissertation 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

There are 3 summative components:

  1. A written literature review of the research topic to include the research question, hypotheses and Gantt chart showing the activity timeline (30%, submitted spring term)

  2. Group scientific poster presentation, presenting the group research project (50%, spring term)

  3. A reflective account of skills development and training plan

Formative assessment methods:

Literature review and Gantt chart formative feedback Autumn term

Teamwork and poster presentation formative feedback spring term

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that 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: https://www.reading.ac.uk/cqsd/-/media/project/functions/cqsd/documents/cqsd-old-site-documents/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
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.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 40% overall

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment of the failed element.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

  1. Required text books: None

  2. Specialist equipment or materials: None

  3. Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: None

  4. Printing and binding: Poster printing – 9 sheets of A4 paper.

  5. Computers and devices with a particular specification: None

  6. Travel, accommodation and subsistence: None

Last updated: 22 September 2022


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