LFKK10270U Research Planning

Volume 2014/2015
MSc Programme in Agriculture
MSc Programme in Sustainable Development in Agriculture (Agris Mundus)
MSc Programme in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management (SUFONAMA)
MSc Programme in Forest and Livelihoods Sustainable Tropical Forestry (SUTROFOR)

This course requires students to prepare a proposal for a research study, typically within natural resource management, and potentially for a dissertation. Working on the research proposal in pairs is possible. The proposal must incorporate a literature review, a clear statement of hypotheses or questions to be addressed, an outline of the methods to be used and an assessment of any risks and ethical issues involved. Identification and assessment of risk and ethical issues is an essential feature designed to ensure that projects are carried out safely and with due regard for others and the environment. The review is expected to contain a critical appraisal of the assembled material and to be produced to journal standard. The values of scholarship are addressed through evaluation of published scientific literature and student peer review of proposal drafts produced during the course. Students working on similar topics may be organised in thematic groups. Support from a disciplinary supervisor is an advantage, as is identification of a topic area prior to the course.

Learning Outcome

The aim of the course is to provide tools for, and experience with, systematic design of research projects. Presentations mainly use examples from research within natural and social science aspects of natural resources management, but the principles apply generally. An additional important aim is inculcation of the values of scholarship: inquiry, reflection, integrity, open mindedness, evidence-based thinking, and collegiality.

After completing the course the students should be able to:

Reflect on the quality of research design.

Argue cogently and think critically within the parameters of a particular academic discipline.

Apply principles for good research design, including critical discussion of literature and problem identification, development of hypotheses and research questions, determination of data requirements, and selection of appropriate methods.

Reflect on risks and ethical issues in relation to project implementation.

Demonstrate independent learning skills necessary for the foundation of lifelong learning.

Tackle scientific problems by collecting, analysing and evaluating appropriate qualitative and quantitative information and using it creatively.

Display the competencies, key skills, behaviour and attitudes in relation to individual and group work required in a professional working life.

General texts are included in the online course compendium. Each student will develop his/her own course literature list according to the subject chosen for investigation.

Blended learning combining e-learning and class-room activities. E-learning is centered around internet-based teaching modules integrating literature studies and exercises, including computer mediated conferencing designed to allow students to interact to construct new knowledge. Class-room sessions will: (i) introduce systematic research proposal writing through presentations and theoretical exercises, and (ii) provide space for critical discussion of student presentations and development of constructive comments.

Specific activities include: introduction to course; supervisor identification and consultations; presentation of research design principles; establishment of thematic groups; student presentation of draft parts of research design; review of peers' draft research design; student-led topical presentations, incl. critical review of selected published paper.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Colloquia
  • 20
  • E-Learning
  • 25
  • Exam
  • 5
  • Guidance
  • 2
  • Lectures
  • 15
  • Preparation
  • 45
  • Project work
  • 84
  • Theory exercises
  • 10
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Description of Examination: Students will be assessed based on (i) their completion of on-line exercises (e-tivities) throughout the course, (ii) their completion of student peer review activities during the course, and (iii) a written assignment to be submitted at the end of the course. The course mark is based on the individual marks and a general assessment.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
More than one internal examiner
The reexamination is a written essay.
Criteria for exam assesment

To obtain the mark 12 the student must demonstrate to have obtained the skills, knowledge and competencies described in the Learning Outcome