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MODULE CODE: ME7761

TITLE:

LEVEL: 7

CREDITS: 30

Individual Project

PRE-REQUISITES: None
CO-REQUISITES: ME7711 - Research Techniques and Entrepreneurship for Engineers

MODULE SUMMARY
This is a core module for all MSc students in the School of Mechanical and Automotive
Engineering, and it forms a capstone experience for the MSc courses running in the School.
It allows the students to research and study an Engineering topic which is of personal
interest, thus allowing them to demonstrate their mastery of their subject and develop their
ability to analyse and evaluate relevant subject areas that may not have been previously
covered in-depth in the course.
The vigorous structure of the module provides the student with the opportunity to identify an
industry based (or research focused) project area, establish a feasible hypothesis, find
creditable solutions, analyse results and offer recommendations. The module will enable the
student to acquire and appraise complex new knowledge related to the project and show
their willingness to apply individual judgement to new often complex problems such as
product design, simulation analysis, mechanical and/or electronic rapid prototyping and
testing, using cutting edge technology tools and equipment such as logistics in
manufacturing, prevention of shop floor bottlenecks, optimisation of production operations
via simulation, identification of project risks and their remedies in engineering projects etc. It
also provides them with a platform to apply their creativity and show a high level of
intellectual input when dealing with complex situations which are likely to have significant
elements of unpredictability and/or gaps within the students knowledge base.
Professionally this module allows the students to show high levels of responsibility and
organisational capability as well as demonstrating effective communication with others
including the supervisor, wider research community and other stake holders. Furthermore
the module encourages the students to recognise, question and deal with the ethical
dilemmas that are likely to occur in Engineering professional practice and research.
The project applications can be individually tailored to support the students career plan and
the ethos of problem solving experience so gained during the project module will prepare the
graduates to tackle real industrial problems with maturity and rational approach in the world
of work. As a result, their employability can also be further enhanced.
AIMS (DEFINITIVE)

To develop students understanding of the essential elements and the skill set
required in handling a complex project and how to break it down into smaller tasks for
timely delivery.

To develop research skills and gain specialisation in a specific engineering field such
as manufacturing logistics, optimisation techniques, operation simulation, design for
manufacture, application of operational management methodologies, etc.

To carry out relevant experimentation, research and literature review in order to


recommend feasible solutions to specific industrial problems.

To allow students to develop the ability to identify risks associated with a project, and
how to achieve set targets within the constraints in resources.

To enable students to learn how to present and publish their project data through
formal reporting, oral presentation and the preparation of a scientific conference
paper.

LEARNING OUTCOMES
On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
1. Formulate a research problem, clearly stating the objectives of the proposed
research and by developing and expounding a valid hypothesis
2. Carry out a thorough literature search in order to develop a comprehensive and
sufficiently deep appreciation of the selected research field
3. Demonstrate the ability to devise a sound methodology to proceed the project in a
systematic manner
4. Demonstrate the ability to apply the research results to relevant industries and
problems
5. Demonstrate powers of critical analysis consistent with work at a Masters level and
express hypotheses, analyses and deductions in a clear, concise and objective
manner
6. Acquire the ability to present the project findings in a concise, coherent and
structured manner.
CURRICULUM CONTENT (INDICATIVE)
Research Methodologies
Formulation of a research problem/hypothesis
Identification of the objectives of the proposed research
Identification of sources of information and literature
Identification of type of data required to support research
Identification of the risks and resource constraints associated with the project
Construct a logical methodology and a thorough project plan
Identification and use of computational, practical, experimental, external sources, and
other facilities, relevant to individual project topic, to generate results.
Development of critical thinking and creativity
Analysis and interpretation of acquired data
Assess and evaluate relevant industrial applications of the project findings
Make specific recommendations for given industrial scenarios
Formal presentation of the project findings through dissertation and oral presentation
Conclusion of research findings
TEACHING AND LEARNING STRATEGY
A carefully selected project can provide an excellent means of integrating the course modules,
provide an intellectually demanding task, and can further self-education and the development of
skills relevant to the world of work.
An individual project supervisor will provide close advice and academic guidance throughout
the period of the project. Students will be provided with additional advice from the wider
academic community to ensure that project applications can be tailored to suit their career plan.
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A separate Project Guide which covers a wider topic about project management. Relevant
seminars will also be organised to demonstrate how to manage an industrially based/allocated
project and how to communicate with project stake holders. Engagements with PhD
researchers in the school will also be encouraged.
The learning outcomes will be achieved through a combination of: formal discussions with
the supervisor, company visits (when appropriate), electronic learning tools and independent
study. Typically 600 hours of learning time is allocated to this module of which up to 20
hours formal contact time will be available.

BREAKDOWN OF TEACHING AND LEARNING HOURS


DEFINITIVE KIS CATEGORY
Scheduled learning and teaching
Guided independent study

INDICATIVE DESCRIPTION
Project supervision
Research, design, programme,
build, test etc.
Total

HOURS
20
580
600

ASSESSMENT STRATEGY
Summative assessment is based on 100% coursework and is achieved through a portfolio of
work made up of the following elements:
Preparation of a viable project plan to be agreed by the supervisor, followed by submission
of an interim report, and the logbook, identifying project deliverables.
An oral presentation seminar and a conference styled research paper
Final dissertation (normally between 15,000 to 18,000 words excluding graphs, diagrams and
appendices)
Project log book, maintained and updated regularly throughout the project period. The logbook
will be assessed with the Interim report, and again with the final dissertation.
Formative assessment opportunities will be provided through the regular meetings and
discussions with the project supervisor. Submission of early drafts of sections of the
dissertation, presentation etc. will provide opportunities for the supervisor to give regular
detailed feedback and feed-forward to the key summative points. It is envisaged that these
on-going discussions will encourage the student in developing strategies for improvement
and enhancement.

MAPPING OF LEARNING OUTCOMES TO ASSESSMENT STRATEGY (INDICATIVE)


LEARNING OUTCOME
On completion of the module, students will be able to:
1. Formulate a research problem, clearly stating the
objectives of the proposed research and by developing
and expounding a valid hypothesis
2. Carry out a thorough literature search in order to
develop a comprehensive and sufficiently deep
appreciation of the selected research field
3. Demonstrate the ability to devise a sound methodology
to proceed the project in a systematic manner
4. Demonstrate the ability to apply the research results to
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ASSESSMENT STRATEGY
Interim report & logbook

Interim report, dissertation &


logbook
Interim report, dissertation &
logbook

Dissertation

relevant industries and problems


5. Demonstrate powers of critical analysis consistent with
work at a Masters level and express hypotheses,
analyses and deductions in a clear, concise and
objective manner
6. Acquire the ability to present the project findings in a
concise, coherent and structured manner

Dissertation & research paper

Dissertation, presentation seminar


& research paper

BREAKDOWN OF MAJOR CATEGORIES OF ASSESSMENT


DEFINITIVE KIS CATEGORY

Coursework

INDICATIVE DESCRIPTION
Individual Initial logbook

PERCENTAGE
15%

Seminar & research paper

15%

Final dissertation &logbook, assessed


by the Supervisor and a Second
Reader. Overall moderation provided
by a Project Moderation Committee

70%

Total

100%

ACHIEVING A PASS
It IS a requirement that the major category of assessment is passed in order to achieve an
overall pass for the module
BIBLIOGRAPHY (INDICATIVE):
Core Text(s):
Sharp, J.A., Peters J and Howard, K., The Management of A Student Research Project,
Third [kindle edition], Gower publishing, 2012
Recommended Reading:
Judith Bell, Doing your research project: a guide for first time researchers in education and
social science, 3rd Ed, Open University Press
Kathleen McMillan, Jonathan Weyers; How to Write Dissertations & Project Reports, 2nd
edition, Dec 2011. Pearson Education, ISBN13: 9781447916369
Rowena Murray, How to Write a Thesis, Open Press University; 3rd edition (2011)
ISBN-13: 978-0335244287
A range of reading resources specific to the project topic will be identified during initial
supervisory meetings.
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