Introductory Field and Research Skills


This module develops students’ skills in Earth Science fieldwork and research methods. The tutorial and campus based components of the module develop students’ ability to research scientific literature and write a scientific report, around the framework of researching a topic relevant to the fieldwork they undertake during the semester. The field component of the module includes campus based field training and a residential field course, helping students develop high quality field skills.

These relate to the field identification of rock types; the distinction and recognition of adjacent rock units and their relationships; the quantitative measurement of bedding structures, and understanding the significance of their relationships; sedimentary and structural logging methods; an introduction to 1:10,000 geological and geomorphological mapping.

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Research Earth Sciences topics, find relevant journal papers using a variety of methods, including elibrary and online databases such as Web of Science;
  • Understand the concept and definition of a scientific hypotheses and how to form them;
  • Critically evaluate sources of information and structure a reasoned argument;
  • Complete a critical review in written (essay) form;
  • To recognise and identify a variety of common rocks;
  • To recognise and interpret various kinds of geological contact;
  • To systematically record geological data in the field, using both notes and field sketches;
  • To work effectively in the field, with your own safety and that of your colleagues in mind;
  • To produce high quality field notes and reports based on personal observations and their interpretation;
  • To appreciate aspects of the applied geology of an area.


2000 word tutorial essay (60%);
Post-field trip reports (2 pages in total; 40%).