Physical Science Research Investigation - PS700

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 3)
Autumn and Spring 7 15 (7.5) PROF M Smith checkmark-circle


Students will develop a number of skills related to the Investigation and planning of research. Students will learn how to search and retrieve information from a variety of locations (databases, websites, journals, proceedings etc). They will learn how to compile professionally-produced documents such as the report of their own investigation in a direction of their choice. In addition, students will subsequently provide an outline proposal for funding for future research activity.

Through two Colloquium Reports, students will learn to write high-impact articles with a critical analysis of research presented by others. They will exercise presentation skills and present critical reviews and referee's reports of the research of others.

The Research Project (60%)
Identification of a research area and the issues to tackle
Investigation of an unresolved issue comparing experiments and models, comparing approaches, assumptions and statistical methods.
Production of a dissertation
Proposal for future novel work as a short Case for Support for a PhD or research outside university environment
Project Management: Scheduling research programmes, Gantt, PERT charts.
Project Management: Costing of research, full economic cost, direct and indirect costs.
Poster presentation of the research

Research Review and Evaluation (40%)
Evaluation of Research: Colloquium attendance/viewing.
Science Communication: Preparation of two colloquium reports as a science magazine article with impact
Referee report on the colloquiums: strengths, weaknesses of both the speaker and the research quality.

Details of the work to be done will be announced by the convenor during the first two weeks of the academic year.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

10 hours of lectures, 4 hours of tutorial/workshop sessions with the convenor or with specialist supervisors, and an extended written exercise.


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

100% coursework. The coursework assesses students' familiarity with and ability to implement current research methods.

Indicative reading

    On writing proposals:
    Peer Review:

    See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

    Learning outcomes

    Engagement and familiarity with recent and current research methods, results and publications.
    An ability to identify relevant principles and laws when dealing with problems, and to make approximations necessary to obtain solutions.
    An ability to execute and analyse critically the results of an experiment or investigation and draw valid conclusions. To evaluate the level of uncertainty in these results and compare them with expected outcomes, theoretical predictions or with published data; thereby to evaluate the significance of their results in this context

  • Confidence in their ability to interpret complex technical information and to communicate it in a wide variety of professional situations.
  • Self-direction and originality in applying and adapting problem-solving skills to unfamiliar, complex and open-ended situations.
  • The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.
  • To establish advanced research skills needed at a postgraduate level or graduate level in other sectors.
  • The capacity to undertake advanced scientific investigations, advanced problem solving and data analysis in a research environment.
  • Ability to communicate scientific ideas through presentations and written reports.
  • To gain knowledge of how postgraduate research is structured and funded.
  • Time management and forward planning skills.


    1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
    2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
    3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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