Independent Research Exercise


The Independent Research Exercise (IRE) provides an opportunity for students to undertake an independent investigation of a topic of their choice, which is relevant to Environmental Science and must address an original research question.

The IRE may involve the collection of original data through field and/or laboratory research, or may apply novel analyses to secondary data.

The results of the student’s IRE are presented in a 10,000 word written IRE report, which should include:

  • The aims and objectives of the research
  • The relevance of the research question
  • The methodology to be applied to the acquisition and analysis of primary and secondary data including the availability and sustainability of any secondary data sources
  • Results of the data collection and subsequent data analyses
  • Discussion of the results and findings
  • Conclusions in the context of the project aims and objectives


The majority of the module involves independent work by the student, guided by meetings with their supervisor.

Timetabled sessions comprise 1 hour introductory lecture, and 3x2 hour optional workshops.

Dissertation tutorials (number determined by supervisor and students)Dissertation office hours/additional meetings at supervisees’ request


  • One 10,000-word Independent Research Exercise report (100%)

Key skills

  • Data collection and data analysis skills
  • Critical review and evaluation of previous research
  • Presentation of research results in report format