Individual Research Project

Module aims

  • In this module you will undertake a specific piece of independent research in the form of a critical review, laboratory- or field-based experimental investigation, modelling/numerical analysis project, or a design-related project. You will learn to formulate a research question, demonstrate technical understanding of the field of engineering around this question and apply research methods appropriate for the research objective.  Furthermore, you will demonstrate your ability to communicate the results to a wider audience by means of a written paper, oral presentation and poster. ans of a written paper, oral presentation and visual poster.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the individual research project you will have demonstrated the ability to: 

  • Contribute in an original and unique manner to an area of civil and/or environmental engineering interest
  • Develop a research plan that encourages the application of originality/creativity, critical analysis, and investigation skills to a chosen research topic area
  • Carry out a piece of independent research in an area set out in the project brief within a defined timeframe and within available resources
  • Interpret state-of-the-art technical and scientific publications related to the topic, and demonstrate a critical attitude towards results of others as well as your own
  • Draw justified conclusions from the research data collected and communicate these findings effectively in written, poster and oral presentation formats
  • Produce a written output, a Research Paper, in the style of a technical/scientific peer-reviewed journal publication.
  • Produce a poster in a style that communicates the rationale for, and the findings of, the research undertaken, that can be understood by an audience without specialist knowledge of the area of research
  • Deliver an oral presentation on your research and defend your research findings when questioned by a panel of assessors or audience

Module syllabus

Students may either propose their own topic for research or choose from a list of topics provided by staff. Research projects will differ in their area of focus, but their role is to challenge the student to complete an independent piece of research under the direct supervision of a member of academic staff, and may involve supervision from external parties where fieldwork is involved.  

Students will be required to work full-time on their Individual Research Project during the spring and summer terms, normally commencing in Week 5 of the spring term to the end of Week 6 of the summer term.  A detailed timeframe and intermediate milestones will be communicated via Blackboard.  

As part of the Induction programme for the Individual Research Project students will receive training in (i) Health and Safety and (ii) Research Information Skills including: interpretation of the literature, database searching, referencing and practical tools for database searching and Refworks, and the use of Turnitin.

Teaching methods

The module will be delivered through a suite of introductory lectures on research methods and related material of importance to undertaking a research project, with students spending the remainder of the time working independently (under staff supervision, with possible support from PDRA and PhD researchers) on their projects to meet the research aims and objectives. Where appropriate students will be trained in experimental methods, use of analytical techniques, specialist software and computational tools.


Assessment information will be provided separately. As a guide, the components for formal assessment include the Research Paper and the Oral and Poster presentations.

Module leaders

Professor Sue Grimes