Module code: ENGM173

Module Overview

All students on the MSc in Advanced Materials undertake this module.  It is presented in one week short course format.  The lectures and tutorials provide students with overviews of the key elements and associated skills required by postgraduates undertaking their first major piece of independent research. The practical, lab-based work has the students work in small teams to undertake a practical materials investigation.  At the end of the week the teams give oral presentations on their project work. 

Module provider

Mechanical Engineering Sciences

Module Leader

DOREY Robert (Mech Eng Sci)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 115

Lecture Hours: 15

Practical/Performance Hours: 20

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content


  • The Framework for Research

  • Getting to Grips with the Literature

  • Plagiarism and How to Avoid It

  • Oral Presentations

  • Posters

  • Written Communications

  • Project Management

  • Errors and Uncertainties

  • Commercialisation of Research Results

  • Ethics for Engineers


Laboratory Work

Group work (typically involving 3-4 people per team) involving the metallographic investigation of a component or number of components from a small piece of equipment, such as a stapler.



Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment PRACTICAL WORK AS PART OF GROUP TASK 35

Alternative Assessment

Not applicable.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate all of the key competences associated with planning, performing and reporting on an individual piece of research work.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         Practical Work as part of group task            [Learning Outcomes 3, 4, 5, 6]           {35%}

·         Individual Poster                                            [Learning Outcomes  5, 6]                  {15%}

·         Written communication Question                 [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7]   {25%}

·         Short Questions                                            [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7]   {25%}

Formative assessment and feedback

Students have opportunities to discuss their work and receive feedback during the tutorial sessions in the week and in the dedicated session in the week following the course.  They also have access to an academic ‘consultant’ during the practical work. Feedback is also provided following the presentations.

They are provided with written feedback on all elements of the summative assessment, with that on the mandatory and short answer questions being prior to the submission of the individual poster, to enable students to have feedback on many of the presentational issues that will need to be considered when producing the poster .

Module aims

  • an appreciation of the reasons for undertaking research, the principal stages involved in a research project and the framework in which research is conducted, including ethics
  • a understanding of the ways in which research findings are reported, communicated, protected and exploited
  • a knowledge of the methods used to present data, including the quantification of errors and uncertainties
  • practical experience of the benefits and drawbacks of group work
  • practical experience of basic metallography, scanning electron microscopy and hardness testing techniques
  • an opportunity to present work in a variety of formats.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Describe and explain the context of research, including issues associated with ethics and academic integrity. KC
2 List the purposes of studying the literature and construct a scheme to enable a literature search to be undertaken effectively. KC
3 Set SMART objectives and plan experiments using the scientific method. KC
4 Undertake simple laboratory work in the context of the group project. P
5 Present data appropriately and deal with errors (in a simple manner). C
6 Select, use and adapt the appropriate format and style to convey information and ideas to an appropriate standard and in such a way as to enhance understanding. T
7 Appreciate the requirements and opportunities for protecting and exploiting research. P

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to introduce students to various concepts and ideas via lectures then give them the opportunity to put these into practice, initially under supervision in via tutorial work and in the group practical exercise.  This is complemented by the opportunity to observe and reflect on the work of others via the viewing of posters and being part of the audience for the group presentations.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures

  • Tutorials with written exercises

  • Discussion groups

  • Observation of posters

  • Laboratory classes

  • Oral presentations by students

  • Consultancy as part of the group project

The teaching is delivered as a one-week intensive course.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENGM173

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.