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Unit information: Research Methods in Palaeobiology in 2016/17

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Research Methods in Palaeobiology
Unit code EASCM0038
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Mike Benton
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

EASCM0034 Literature Review

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description

The aim of this 30-credit point unit is to provide students with focused training in the practical aspects of their planned thesis project. Each student will design a ‘proof of concept’ study, forming a portion of the ultimate thesis, in which a sample data set will be gathered, and all appropriate analyses completed. The project supervisors will provide close advice and assistance in gathering data and in advising on appropriate numerical treatments. Students will present a written and oral summary of their work so far, and an indication of the next steps in order to move to the Thesis unit (EASCM1016).

Unit aims:

  • to develop students’ ability to source, handle and manage data
  • to familiarise students with a suite of tools and techniques for analysis, including statistical methods, as appropriate for their research
  • to equip them with an understanding of how to contextualise specialist research findings
  • to provide a skills platform for independent research
  • to understand the extent of the materials (specimens, data) available, their strengths and weaknesses
  • to extend abilities in planning and executing research to a high standard

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit students will be able to:

  • Design and plan a research project, determining the materials, methods and resources (including time and money) required for effective completion of an analytical research project
  • Demonstrate adequate understanding of issues of experimental design and necessary statistical and other numerical protocols
  • Communicate (orally and in written reports) the nature of the project, and why it is important.
  • Demonstrate practical and analytical skills relevant to the project
  • Deliver prescribed research outcomes (agreed with supervisor) in an oral and a written report

Teaching details

Discussions with project supervisors; laboratory or field supervision (as appropriate); one-to-one practical assistance in laboratory and computing methods

Assessment Details

Each student will produce a written report, or technical note, presenting the Materials & methods and Results of this sample case study. They will then present a seminar to the relevant research group and will be questioned to assess their understanding and progress.

Reading and References

Various, relating to subject of research project.

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