Science project course: environmental science practical project
This module is the project module for the BSc (Honours) Environmental Science. You will undertake an independent practical investigation of a topic within the area of environmental science. You will design your investigation, collect data (this may be in the field, in a laboratory or at home), analyse it and produce a scientific report. The study materials provide a guide to planning and conducting project work; help with searching and using the literature; and writing a report, but ultimately this is a chance for you to plan and execute a piece of work for yourself.
What you will study
Early in the module you will be guided by the study materials and by your tutor to select a specific aspect of your chosen topic to investigate in depth. Topics can be from any suitable area of environmental science; examples include climate effects on phenology; tidal cycle/weather interactions and impact on seashore organisms; effects of pollution on abundance of freshwater organisms; and environmental control of plant growth and water use. Your project will involve the collection of primary data.
Unless you have access to an academic library, you may find that you have to spend up to two thirds of your time in the early part of the module online, identifying suitable material to inform your choice of project topic from the electronic journals available via The Open University Library.
In discussion with your tutor, you will define your individual investigation which must cover the following four aspects:
- interaction of the biotic and abiotic environment
- data collection and analysis
- risk assessment.
This is an OU level 3 module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from previous studies at OU levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject.
You should study this project module as the final module of the BSc (Hons) Environmental Sciences, as you will need to apply knowledge and skills from your prior studies. Normally you should have gained at least 60 credits of the OU level 3 requirements for your degree before starting your project module.
It is essential that you establish whether or not your background and experience give you a sound basis on which to tackle the module, since students who are appropriately prepared have the best chance of completing their studies successfully. The Science Faculty has produced a booklet Are You Ready For your Science Level 3 Project Course? to help you to decide whether you already have the recommended background knowledge or experience to start the module or whether you need a little extra preparation.
If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.
You might find the following book useful for information on devising and carrying out practical project work – OU project guide: Fieldwork and statistics for ecological projects (1989) (2nd ed.) by Neil Chalmers and Phil Parker, ISBN 1851538099, published by the Field Studies Council.