One of the most important courses in the curriculum of the MSc Programme in Geology and Geophysics is the 10 cp MSc seminar “Conducting Scientific Research”, or CSR for short. CSR runs for the entire first spring term of MSc studies and brings together students from all four GEO^2 study tracks to learn about good research practice, scientific communication, and academic workflow.
During the course, geoscience students learn to design and plan research projects and how to draft successful research proposals based on their plans. The students also gain experience in communicating their ideas to their peers and learn to discuss, defend, and justify their viewpoints in front of a professional audience. This year the course is taught by university researcher Johanna Salminen and professor Tapani Rämö.
At the outset of the course, each student chooses a topic for their upcoming MSc thesis and the entire seminar program is planned to support the process of getting acquainted with the topic, its background materials and literature, and the methods to be used in the project.
During covid time, the CSR seminar naturally runs over Zoom and students meet twice each month with the group and the senior scientists running the course to discuss their reading and writing assignments.
One activity on this week’s lecture was to identify common issues when writing the course assignments or scientific text in general, and choosing the favorite sentence of the papers of their group. Observations were recorded jointly on Flinga and discussed during the lecture.
On the spring 2021 course, the students have so far been working with the statement of the problem and background-sections of their thesis proposals. They have also already gotten into peer reviewing each other’s works.
The final product of the course activities at the end of the first spring semester is a complete MSc thesis proposal, which lays the foundations for a successful thesis project to be realized during the second year of MSc studies. CSR is designed to offer the tools and a flying start for a smooth and successful geoscience thesis experience and also provides the students with a theoretical framework on how good geoscience is conducted.
Contributor: Johanna Salminen