IDM071-Research and study skills for independent learning

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: Admission onto module by GIIDAE
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr David Rose


Type of module:

Summary module description:

Identify the standards expected and develop the skills required to study and conduct research at postgraduate level. Through lectures, tutorials and coursework, learn how to demonstrate good academic practice in referencing source material; how to review academic literature; how to synthesise information and develop an argument; how to communicate information with clarity; how to select appropriate research methods and resources; and how to write academically in the context of coursework and dissertation research.

The aim of the module is to help students develop skills needed to produce good dissertations and coursework at postgraduate level.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate good academic practice in use, citation and referencing of source material
  • explain the meaning of "plagiarism" both as poor academic practice and as a disciplinary issue within higher education, and implement strategies to avoid it
  • use appropriate bibliographic sources and tools to identify literature relevant to a given topic
  • synthesise, compare and contrast the main lines of argument relating to specific assignments and their chosen dissertation topic
  • communicate their research clearly in writing and orally to academic staff and their peers.

Additional outcomes:

  • make effective use of academic and other support services for students at the University of Reading
  • engage in critical discussion of other people’s ideas and presentations.

Outline content:

  • lectures and discussion on:
- overview of academic support services at the University of Reading
- some key research methods and related resources
- searching, referencing, using the literature; strategies to avoid plagiarism
- approaches to writing a dissertation
- presenting your research to others
  • oral presentations by students to staff and peers
  • individual and/or group discussions with dissertation supervisor an d programme director

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures, group discussions, oral presentations, individual (desk) research, discussions with dissertation supervisor

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 18
Guided independent study: 22 60
Total hours by term 40 60
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
1. A seminar presentation based on the student’s dissertation research, to be delivered to a group of peers and academic staff in the Spring Term (30%).
2. A research briefing relevant to their dissertation topic, covering relevant literature and ideas for research, of up to 3000 words, and assessed by the dissertation supervisor, to be submitted on the Friday of the first week of the Summer Term (70%)
Relative percentage of coursework: 100%

Formative assessment methods:
A formative assignment will be given early in Term 1 to provide an opportunity for students to develop their understanding of writing and performance requirements before they submit their first course essay assignments for other modules at the end of the Term 1. This will be due by the third week of term and will be returned by the fifth week to ensure students receive feedback on performance. The assignment is compulsory (no credits will be earned without its completion) but failure to submit will result in a 20% reduction of the course mark.

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:

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50%.

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-submission of coursework.

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: 27 July 2020


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