CHEM 3540 - Research Methods in Chemistry III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

This course will consider the application of a number of principles as applied to chemical research. This will be achieved by placing students in active research groups in the Discipline of Chemistry and providing them with the opportunity to carry out research activities. Lecture material will be provided that supplements the research placements, providing students with the opportunity to develop skills in verbal and visual communication.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code CHEM 3540
    Course Research Methods in Chemistry III
    Coordinating Unit School of Chemistry & Physics
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 9 hours per week
    Prerequisites CHEM 2510 & CHEM 2520
    Corequisites CHEM 3111
    Incompatible CHEM 3542
    Course Description This course will consider the application of a number of principles as applied to chemical research. This will be achieved by placing students in active research groups in the Discipline of Chemistry and providing them with the opportunity to carry out research activities. Lecture material will be provided that supplements the research placements, providing students with the opportunity to develop skills in verbal and visual communication.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor David Huang

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Design, conduct, analyse and interpret results of an experiment, and effectively communicate
    these in written reports/
    2 Develop interdisciplinary solutions to a variety of chemical problems.
    3 Critically analyse and evaluate quantitative & qualitative chemical information.
    4 Obtain and evaluate information from a variety of sources.
    5 Communicate effectively in a variety of forms.
    6 Use terminology appropriate to the field of study correctly and contextually.
    7 Extend knowledge and understanding of a variety of chemical concepts in a range of contexts.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-4, 7
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1, 3, 4
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1, 2, 7
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 1, 5, 6
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1, 4, 7
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-5, 7
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1, 2, 7
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1-4, 7
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There is no prescribed text for this course.
    Recommended Resources
    • 'Pushing Electrons’ (Weeks, 3rd Edition, Harcourt College Publishers, 1998).
    • 'Organic Chemistry’ (Bruice, 5th Edition, Pearson Education, 2007)
    • 'Organic Chemistry’ (Clayden, Greeves, Warren and Wothers, Oxford University Press, 2001)
    • 'Inorganic Chemistry’ (Shriver & Atkins, 5th Edition, Oxford University Press, 2010)
    • 'Physical Chemistry’ (Atkins, 8th Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006)
    • 'A Guide to Lasers in Chemistry’ (Van Hecke & Karukstis, Jones & Bartlett, 1998)
    • 'Spectrometric Identification of Organic Compounds' (Silverstein, 7th Edition, Wiley Press, 2005)
    • 'SI Chemical Data' (Aylward, 6th Edition, Wiley Press, 2007)
    • 'Modern Physical Organic Chemistry’ (Ansyln and Dougherty, University Science Books)
    • 'Molecular Spectroscopy’ (Banwell, 4th Ed., McGraw Hill, 1994) out of print
    Online Learning

    MyUni: Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website (

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    • Lectures: 5 x 2-hour sessions with one session per week (including 2 presentation sessions)
    • Practicals: 10 x 6-hour sessions with one session per week (lab placement component)
    • Tutorials: 2 x 50-minute sessions with one session per week

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).

    Learning Activities Summary

    The course content includes the following:

    Lecture material will be focused on topics relating to the conduct of research. Depending on availability of lecturers, this may include advanced topics in current research strengths of the discipline, material relevant to doing research (i.e. library skills, presentation skills, use of specialised software relevant to the discipline) as well as critical discussion of current literature.

    Research Placements
    All practical work will be conducted by lab placements in Research labs of the Chemistry academics. Two cycles of 30 hours will be conducted during the semester during the practicals. Each placement will be followed by either an assessed 2000 word essay-style report on the research project or a 10 minute verbal presentation of the research topic. The report will be submitted in week 7 at the end of cycle 1 and the presentation will be presented in weeks 12 and 13 at the end of cycle 2 (students will present once but will be required to attend both presentation sessions).

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment task Type of assessment Percentage of total assessment for grading purposes # Hurdle
    Yes or No #
    Outcomes being assessed/achieved
    Library Skills Test Summative 10% No 3,4,6,7
    Laboratory Placement Report Summative 40% No 1 – 7
    Abstract and Presentation Summative 50% No 1 – 7
    Assessment Related Requirements

    Practical work is compulsory – This includes attendance, conduct of required experimental work, attendance at demonstrator interviews (as required) and submission of laboratory reports.

    Assessment Detail

    Library skills
    The library skills component involves a summative quiz which will comprise 10% of the overall mark.

    Laboratory Placement Report
    Each student will complete two cycles of laboratory placements. After Cycle 1, students will submit an essay-style report based upon their Cycle 1 Lab Placement. The report will be 2,000 words (maximum) and worth 40% of the overall mark.

    Abstract and Presentation
    Students will give a 10 minute (plus 3 minutes for questions) verbal presentation based upon their Cycle 2 Lab Placement. In addition there will be a 200 word abstract submitted prior to the presentation. The presentation is worth 40% and the abstract 10% of the overall mark



    Submission of Assigned Work
    Coversheets must be completed and attached to all submitted work. Coversheets can be obtained from the School Office (room G33 Physics) or from MyUNI. Work should be submitted via the assignment drop box at the School Office.

    Extensions for Assessment Tasks
    Extensions of deadlines for assessment tasks may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a supplementary examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Students are required to apply for an extension to the Course Coordinator before the assessment task is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time. The assessment extension application form can be obtained from: 

    Late submission of assessments
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days or more late without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the mark.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.