EEEN40710 Engineering Research Skills & Pedagogy

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module is to serve as an induction for graduate research students in their first year within the UCD School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering.

The purpose of the module to equip students to thrive in their new role as researchers within the School. The module content will cover research skills, navigating academic life, and will introduce and instruct students in their role as Teaching Assistants.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

The learning outcomes are:

Articulate a full understanding of the practicalities and logistics of navigating a structured PhD programme in UCD

Demonstrate a firm understanding of how to effectively deliver in the Teaching Assistant role, and an ability to anticipate as well as to react to students' problems in lab settings;
Demonstrate an awareness of University, College and School policies and procedures that impact on their role as a Teaching Assistant;
Understand how to use tools such as Brightspace for grading purposes.

Show a full awareness of research integrity and ethics, and be able to articulate the relevance of this for this own programme of research;
Demonstrate a proper awareness of the consequences for academic misconduct

Exhibit productive research skills;
Understand the workflow and lifecycle for writing up research as an academic paper

Understand academic culture and norms

Indicative Module Content:

The outline module content can be clustered into five main topics, with indicative sub-topics as outlined below:

1/ Navigating the practicalities of the UCD Structured PhD programme. This includes: the role of the Research Studies Panel; differences between stage 1 and stage 2; expectations for the transfer assessment; recommended schedule of Research Studies Panel meetings; writing a Research and Professional Development plan; identifying relevant credit-bearing modules within UCD; process for Recognition of Prior Learning; general understanding of the institutional structure of UCD; understanding institutional supports available; dispute resolution procedures; PhD examination process; UCD Academic Regulations; bound versus traditional thesis; familiarity with previous successful PhD theses from the School; maternity leaves / leaves of absence etc;

2/ Mastering the role of Teaching Assistant with the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. This includes: the practicalities of laboratory demonstrating, including the adminstrative procedures for payment and progression; preparation for relevant laboratory work and laboratory safety; introduction to relevant theoretical works in the teaching and learning literature (both generic and discipline-specific); how to assess/critique their teaching based on feedback gained from their peers and/or their students; grading and rubrics; using Brightspace effectively

3/ Understanding research integrity and ethics. This includes: appreciating the scientific importance of open and accessible data; using repositories; full awareness of forbidden behaviours: plagiarism, data manipulation, authorship fraud, salami slicing; predatory publishers; the replication crisis; false colloboration cabals / citation rings / journal capture; concerns about for-profit publishers generally; confidentially and ethics in peer review.

4/ Maturing into a productive and effective engineering researcher. This includes: intentionallity in choosing software tools and workflows; mastering LaTeX and Overleaf; "recipes" for structuring manuscripts; fundamental of data visualisation e.g deliberate dimensioning of figures to e.g 8.89cm; implementing quality-control checklists, taking a systematic approach to proof-reading, LaTeX tips and tricks (book-tabs tables etc.); limitations of Word and Excel; software requirements for smooth colloboration; the need for repeatability and use of scripting (seperation of production and analysis of data); how to critically and intelligently explore the extant literature; BibTex and citation managers, Grammarly etc.; signposting classic books and resources on academic writing; phrasebanks; systematically saving e.g MATLAB and Python workspace variables; producing response-to-reviewers documents; workflows for revising manuscripts; LaTeX diffing tools

5/ Understanding academic culture and norms. This includes: how conferences and journals work; navigating prestige; Scopus, impacts factor and the limitations of bibliometrics; predatory and dubious publishers; books, invited chapters etc; how to network effectively at conferences; how funding works; how to present well; how to make a good research poster; the pros and cons of pre-print servers; navigating academic Twitter and LinkedIn; competitions, awards etc; how post-docs work; the backroom mechanics of peer review; how editorships work; the random, unfair and frustrating nature of peer review; building a good academic CV; invited talks; Research Management Systems; recommended reviewers; Procurement processes within UCD, and in general; Intellectual property management and its relation to entrepreneurship (student rights; ownership; public disclosure; assignment; licencing; start-ups; patent process, requirements, and funding)

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The main approach to teaching will be interactive F2F workshop sessions. This will facilitate peer learning and will help to instil a sense of collegiality and group identity amongst each incoming cohort of graduate research students. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Group Project: "Peer observation and feedback"

In pairs, students observe each others work as teaching assistance and provide observations, feedback and reflections to each other.
Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Attendance: Students must physically attend the timetabled workshop sessions, and pro-actively engage in the various in-class discussions and exercises Throughout the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No


Assignment: Evidence of engagement with RSP panel, and pro-active analysis of suitable credit-bearing modules Throughout the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No


Assignment: Students must demonstrate that they have engaged with and passed the designated online research integrity training, as well as the School safety induction.

Throughout the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale Yes


Assignment: Creation of a polished slide deck or poster, succinctly exploring some aspect of academic life Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Exercise to demonstrate a fluent workflow in technical computing for research purposes, including creation of graphics for integration within LaTeX documents Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Small Group Offering 1 Week(s) - 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Tues 09:00 - 10:50