SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 40.00
ECTS Credit Points 20.00
Module Code MHH624352
Module Leader Alan Nesbitt
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Mechanical Engineering
  • A (September start)-B (January start)
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)
  • B (January start)-C (May start)
  • C (May start)-A (September start)
  • S-C (May start)-A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Completion of all Modules in Level 3

Summary of Content

The aim of this module is: To allow the student to develop skills in planning, decision making, data collection and analysis by selecting a project and progressing to a conclusion. The project should have a significant research dimension based on an appropriate topic from within the student's programme of study and which reflects the student's own interests. The project should comprise: Development of a proposal identifying the project aims and activity, a survey of literature relevant to the problem being tackled, critical analysis and evaluation of theory and experimental approaches, a detailed plan for the identified activity (Gantt chart) , clear description of the activity that has been carried out, log book, analysis of data gathered during experimental activity, a reflective evaluation of the project results and the approach taken, and an oral presentation / poster presentation of the overall project work.


The module includes a series of lectures covering research methods, including: the structure of a research project, writing a research proposal, performing a literature search/writing a literature review, experimental methodology and study design, data gathering and analysis, research ethics, writing a research progress report, oral presentation of research projects - aims, activity and findings. Specific topics covered in the project activity are unusual to the particular student and their project. Topic-specific guidance and feedback are provided during project supervision sessions. Indicative assessment: Project proposal 0% CW1: Final thesis 70% CW2 : Interim/progress report and literature review 15% CW3: Oral / Poster presentation 15%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:1). Critically analyse and evaluate technical and non-technical information from a variety of high quality information sources.2). Synthesise new ideas/knowledge through critical analysis and evaluation of the literature in the context of the project subject area.3). Demonstrate deep knowledge of theories, techniques, technologies and tools appropriate to the chosen topic area.4). Design and develop systems/technology/experiments with the aim of addressing the stated aims of the research project. Demonstrate communication and presentation skills through presentation and discussion of the project findings.5). Working independently, design, plan and carry out an in-depth research based study.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The University 'Strategy for Learning' documentation has formed the learning and teaching strategy for this module. The Honours project provides a key opportunity for engaged learning via the use of project-based, co-designed, personalised learning activity. The project work draws on a variety of student skills and knowledge. Project work is based on real-world problems, and engages students in analysis, research and discussion of contemporary issues, including consideration of professional ethics. Divergent thinking is key, as the project activity is open-ended and problem-based, and the student must draw upon a wide variety of contexts and discipline areas to construct a coherent argument, frame the project aims, and generate possible solutions. There is focus on personalised learning, as the student designs, dictates and drives the nature and pace of their learning throughout the duration of the module. Flexible learning is facilitated through use of a variety of learning support approaches. Formal lectures on research methods are complimented with provision of learning materials made available through the University VLE, a timetable of one-to-one meetings with assigned academic supervisors, workshops on study skills and ethical issues. Detailed, individual feedback on assessments is provided in timely manner, with focus on constructive guidance on continued development and improvement of the student's understanding of expectations and assessment processes.

Indicative Reading

Kumar R (2010) Research Methodology: A Step by Step Guide for Beginners (3 rd Ed), Sage Publishing. ISBN: 978-1849203012 Creswell J W (2002) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Method Approaches (2nd Ed), Sage Publishing. ISBN: 978-0761924425 Sharp J A, Peter J, and Howard K (2002) The Management of a Student Research Project (3rd Ed), Gower Publishing. ISBN: 978-0566084904 Project Management, H.Maylor, Prentice Hall, 2003. Pocket Guide to Technical Writing, Wiffeiffer, Prentice Hall, 2001.

Transferrable Skills

Critical thinking and problem solving. Critical analysis. Specialist Knowledge and application. Communication skills, written and oral. Presentation skills. Effective information retrieval and research skills. Awareness of strengths and weaknesses. Ability to prioritise tasks and time management. Creativity, innovation and independent thinking.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (FT) 370.00
Lectures (FT) 6.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 70.00 n/a Dissertation / Thesis
Coursework 2 n/a 15.00 n/a Interim Report
Coursework 3 n/a 15.00 n/a Poster Presentation