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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: ENGM173 Module Title: RESEARCH METHODS
Module Provider: Mechanical, Medical & Aero Engineering Short Name: ENGM173
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: YEOMANS JA Prof (M, M & A Eng)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability

Semester 1

Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)


Practical Work as part of group task




Individual poster




Post short course assessment package comprising:



Mandatory question




Choice of short answer questions




Qualifying Condition(s) 


An overall mark of 50% is required to pass the module



Module Overview

This module provides an overview of the key skills and knowledge needed by postgraduates undertaking their first major piece of independent research.

Normal entry requirements for a level M degree programme.
Module Aims

This course aims to provide students with:



  • 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

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:




  • describe and explain the context of research, including issues associated with ethics and academic misconduct



  • list the purposes of studying the literature and construct a scheme to enable a literature search to be undertaken



  • set objectives and plan experiments using the scientific method



  • undertake simple laboratory work in the context of the group project



  • present data appropriately and deal with errors (in a simple manner)



  • differentiate between the requirements for reporting research in a variety of formats and produce practical examples of such formats (writing reports, presentations and posters)

  • appreciate the requirements and opportunities for protecting and exploiting research
Module Content



The Framework for Research


Getting to Grips with the Literature


Plagiarism and How to Avoid It


Oral Presentations




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.



Methods of Teaching/Learning

Intensive five day teaching period spilt into lectures and tutorials in the mornings and group laboratory work in the afternoons, followed by assessment package of a nominal 120 hours work, to be submitted within six months (part-time) or six weeks (full-time) of the end of the course week.


Total student learning time 150 hours.
Selected Texts/Journals

Required reading





Recommended background reading


‘How to get a PhD’


E M Phillips and D S Pugh


Open University Press, Maidenhead, , 2005 (fourth edition)


[Note – fifth edition is due to be published soon]




‘Experimental Methods – an introduction to the analysis and presentation of data’


L Kirkup


John Wiley & Sons, Milton, , 1995 (paperback)




Total student learning time 150 hours.
Last Updated

09 May 2011