MSc Science and Health Communication

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Science Communication Research Project

Unit code HSTM60022
Credit rating 60
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Centre for History of Science, Technology & Medicine (L5)
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This research project allows students to use skills developed across the taught component of the programme in working more independently, under supervision, on an original piece of research. The topic of the project will be from the field of science communication studies and can include topics related to mass media, digital media, social media, museums, science centres, science policy, or outreach.  Research will be undertaken using a variety of methods and techniques drawn from science communication studies including surveys, focus groups, textual analysis, cultivation analysis, interviews, archival research, and ethnography.

Aims

The unit aims to:

  • produce a piece of original research based on empirical data, firmly grounded in the primary and secondary literature of science commuincation
  • present this research clearly and effectively in the form of a research essay following disciplinary conventions on format and structure

Teaching and learning methods

The taught component of the programme includes classes with all the available supervisors and introduces the full range of potential topics, thus preparing students to identify areas of research interest and set up supervision arrangements.  At the same time, research skills classes prepare the groundwork for specilalist study and writing.

A list of potential project outlines (with assigned supervisors) will be made available to students near the end of Semester 1: students may choose a topic from this list or may devise their own project, in consultation with the supervisor.  Topics can come from anywhere within the field of science communication studies including mass media, digital media, social media, museums, science centres, science policy, or outreach.  Research will be undertaken using a variety of methods and techniques drawn from science communciation studies including surveys, foucus groups, textual analysis, cultivation analysis, interviews, archival research, and ethnography.

All students prepare a proposal early in Semester 2, and will present this orally to peers and staff at a formal session.  From then students will regularly meet with supervisors to discuss research strategies and directions, to review and critique draft material, and to ensure progress. 

Contact hours: Depending on the project, roughtly six contact hours with the supervisor.

The deadline for full-time students will occur at the end of Semester 2. The deadline for part-time students will occur at hte end of summer in year 1.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate extensive knowledge of science communication studies
  • Demonstrate understanding (beyond what is established in the taught component of the programme) of practical research skills in science communication studies, including the ability to identify and analyse research questions, devise research stratgies to explore these questions, conduct empirical research using standard methods, and to analyse and present results and conclusions

Intellectual skills

  • Understand how to identifiy and pursue research questions, and to critically analyse and present research results and conclusions
  • Identifiy and analyse problems
  • Critically interpret primary and secondary material relevant to the researhc project
  • Plan and organise an in-depth piece of original scholarly writing in science communication studies

Practical skills

  • Employ a high level of library and IT skills, including the ability to use a range of reference tools to search and retrieve information
  • Display a comprehensive set of skills in identifying, sourcing and using primary and secondary literature
  • Show an understanding of how to collect, manage and analyse empirical data in the field of science communciation studies
  • Write and reference according to appropriate scholarly conventions

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Display ability in analytical and critical thinking, information gathering and management, and the written and spoken communicaiton of facts and arguments

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 85%
Oral assessment/presentation 15%

Research project based on empirical data (8000 words)

Feedback methods

Oral presentation of project proposal: verbal comments during or after the presentation session, followed by a short written report as appropriate.

Project: detailed written report form primary assessor.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Project supervision 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 594

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Elizabeth Toon Unit coordinator

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