Module M.SUFONAMA.4: Research Planning

Learning Outcomes & Core Skills

The aim of the course is to provide tools for, and experience with, systematic design of research projects related with natural and social science aspects of natural resources management. An additional important aim is inculcation of the values of scholarship: inquiry, reflection, integrity, open mindedness, evidence-based thinking, and collegiality. Teaching and learning methods: The course is organised as a combination of lectures 

from different research groups, theoretical exercises, discussions and review of course paper drafts focusing on 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; 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. 

After an overview of research activities of selected research groups, students will prepare a plan for a research study within natural resources management, e.g. a thesis. The plan 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 to others and the environment. The review is expected to contain a critical appraisal of the assembled material and to be produced to journal standard. 


Term paper (max. 10 pages, 50%) and Portfolio (50%)

Examination requirements:
Understanding of the quality parameters of research design. Ability to:

  1. argue cogently and to think critically within the parameters of a particular academic discipline; 
  2. 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; and 
  3. reflect on risks and ethical issues in relation to project implementation. 

Students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate independent leraning skills necessary for the foundation of lifelong learning; 
  2. tackle scientific problems by collecting, analysing and evaluating appropriate qualitative and quantitative information and using it creatively; and
  3. display the competencies, key skills, behaviour and attitudes in relation to individual and group work required in a professional working life. 


6 C
Attendance time: 42 h
Self-study-time: 138 h

General Information

Language: English
Person responsible for module: Prof. Dr. Carola Paul
Course Frequency: each winter semester
Duration: 1 semester