Research and Academic Development Skills

The details
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Foundation/Year Zero: Level 3
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
11 March 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC CR00 Biochemistry (Including Foundation Year),
BSC CD00 Biological Sciences (Including Foundation Year),
BSC BD00 Biomedical Science (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C521 Ecology and Environmental Biology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC CK00 Genetics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C161 Marine Biology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C611 Sports and Exercise Science (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C614 Sports Performance and Coaching (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C111 Biotechnology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C220 Human Biology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C511 Global Sustainability (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C556 Microbiology (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module is designed to support students in their academic subject disciplines and to strengthen their confidence in key skills areas such as academic writing, research, academic integrity, and collaborative and reflective practices.

The students are supported through the use of subject-specific materials tailored to their chosen degrees with the alignment of assessments between academic subject modules and the skills module.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To develop students’ ability to operate effectively, in both written and spoken language, in a range of academic settings.

  • To develop students’ basic research skills, encouraging a critical approach to source materials and appropriate use of sources as supporting evidence.

  • To encourage independent learning strategies and develop students’ confidence to make judgments and be evaluative.

  • To equip students with appropriate and effective language and study skills applicable to their various disciplines.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Produce academic writing which is well-structured, relevant and clearly reasoned.

  2. Communicate ideas, information and arguments with clarity, both orally and in written form, which demonstrates the ability to integrate students’ own ideas with those of others.

  3. Deliver effective presentations using an appropriate range of visual aids.

  4. Comprehend texts on a range of subjects identifying main points from listening and reading material, and demonstrating critical reading skills to assess the usefulness of the information.

  5. Make full use of academic libraries and a range of appropriate electronic media for independent research purposes.

  6. Demonstrate knowledge and appropriate use of academic register and referencing conventions.

  7. Develop time management strategies, employ self-directed learning and show an ability to reflect on one’s own goals and progress.

Skills for your professional life (Transferable Skills)

By the end of the module, students will have practised the following transferable skills:

  1. The ability to reflect on one's own performance to identify, set and work towards measurable personal, academic and professional objectives.

  2. The ability to communicate effectively in a variety of formats including small-group discussions and formal presentations.

  3. The ability to use a variety of search tools and strategies to investigate effectively new topics of professional or scientific interest.

  4. The ability to think independently and critically is developed through classroom discussions and the development of an individual assignment on the student's own choice of topic.

Module information


  • Identify text types and their relevance/appropriateness

  • Develop basic research techniques

  • Reading and note-taking skills development

  • Writing skills development

  • Editing and redrafting skills

  • Referencing and how to avoid plagiarism

  • Listening skills development

  • Listening and note-taking

  • Develop further research skills

  • Summary writing and working with lecture notes

  • Presentation skills including the effective use of visuals

  • Graphs and statistical information

  • Revision and exam strategies

  • The reflective process

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered through a range of seminars, open access support sessions, and tutorials:

  • AU and SU Terms: 2 x 2-hour seminars
  • SP Term: 1 x 2-hour seminar and 1 x 2-hour tutorial

Teaching and learning on Essex Pathways modules offers students the ability to develop the foundation knowledge, skills, and competencies to study at the undergraduate level, through a curriculum that is purposely designed to provide an exceptional learning experience.

All teaching, learning and assessment materials will be available via Moodle in a consistent and user-friendly manner.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Academic Integrity Moodle Quiz - 13/11/2023    5% 
Coursework   In-person, open book (restricted) test - 13/12/2023    20% 
Coursework   Reflective Presentation - weeks 30/31    30% 
Coursework   Scientific Writing Assignment Plan    15% 
Coursework   Scientific Writing Assignment    30% 

Additional coursework information

Formative assessment

  • Students will submit a piece of writing ('Journey to Essex') and Baseline Skills self-assessment questionnaire via Faser.

Summative assessment

  • Academic Integrity, Referencing and Sources Quiz is a Moodle-based quiz which tests students' awareness and basic knowledge in the relevant areas.
  • In-person, open book (restricted) test (2 hours, 20%). The test asks students to complete two discrete, self-contained writing tasks. The first involves selecting relevant information from a short text in a spoken style and transforming this into the style of a Methods section. The second involves describing some data in style of a Results section, including writing figure legends, labelling axes of provided graphs or other display items.
  • Scientific Writing Assignment Plan (250 words) develops the ability to identify a current scientific question, locate relevant academic sources, and plan an assignment based on this library research.
  • Scientific Writing Assignment (750 words) to be submitted in the Spring term. The assignment will develop the students’ ability to produce an extended piece of writing in the most relevant genre for their pathway.
  • Reflective Presentation (7-10 mins) to take place in the Summer Term. Presentations are delivered individually but include an element of reporting on collaborative group or peer reflective exercises. The presentation aims to develop student's oral communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively in both offline and online modes and become more reflective learners.

Reassessment strategy

  • Failed coursework - Resubmit a piece of coursework (1,000 words) which will be marked as 100% of the new module mark. The reassessment task will enable the relevant learning outcomes to be met. If the presentation has failed or has not been attempted, students will also be required to submit a 500-word presentation in notes/slides format. The weighting will be divided equally between the assignment and the 500-word presentation.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Maurice Abbott, email: mdabbott@essex.ac.uk.
Maurice Abbott
Helen Hearn (hhearn@essex.ac.uk or 01206 872842)



External examiner

Mr Gerald Dampier
University of Surrey
Teaching Fellow in Learning Development
Available via Moodle
Of 704 hours, 673 (95.6%) hours available to students:
31 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Pathways

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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