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Syllabus for

Academic year
PPU215 - Research skills for engineering projects  
Forskningsmetodik i produktionsprojekt
Syllabus adopted 2021-05-18 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPPEN
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Pass with distinction (5), Pass with credit (4), Pass (3), Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Main field of study: Automation and Mechatronics Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Management, Mechanical Engineering

Teaching language: English
Application code: 34113
Open for exchange students: No
Block schedule: A

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0114 Project 7,5 c Grading: TH   7,5 c    

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Mélanie Despeisse

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MTS 7,5 hec


General entry requirements for Master's level (second cycle)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Specific entry requirements

English 6 (or by other approved means with the equivalent proficiency level)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Course specific prerequisites

Same as for Chalmers Master's Programmes in Production Engineering and Materials Engineering.


The purpose of this course is to enable the students to independently and from different perspectives (including ethical) critically and constructively discuss:

- the characteristics of scientific and engineering knowledge

- how science and engineering knowledge should be produced

The aim is that the student should be able to apply a number of theoretical frameworks and methods for generating decision support, in a critical reflection on engineering methodology. A further objective is the ability to formulate and respond to critique in an academic seminar, both orally and in writing. The intention is to make the students aware of Theory of Science and how the standpoints and moral values of individual engineers affect the selected approach as well as the obtained results. Furthermore, the course aims to increase their intellectual skills, especially critical reflection capacity about their impact on society regarding all aspects of sustainability. The course will provide the students with the possibility to train their communication skills, in the form of well-prepared oral as well as written presentations of project results.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

1. Use a structured project methodology to apply knowledge and skills gained in the university education.
 2. Assess the need for scientific information, search for that information and critically evaluate its relevance. 

 3. Write a project proposal to define and scope open-ended research questions. 

 4. Select appropriate research methods to fulfil the project objectives, and critically evaluate the methods used with consideration to both scientific trustworthiness and ethical aspects. 

 5.  Write a project report in the form of a scientific article conforming to academic standard of quality.

 6. Perform a clear oral presentation of the project results that is well-suited to its intended audience. 

 7. Collaborate professionally in accordance with a project group's needs of structured management and task distribution. 

 8. Give constructive feedback to group members and other groups on their work, and respond to feedback on your own group work. 

 9. Reflect on ethical aspects of engineering work, academic research and corporate codes of conduct, at different system levels. 


Conducting scientific production engineering research

  • Professional conduct in group collaborations
  • Deductive and inductive approaches
  • Qualitative and quantitative methods
  • Modelling based on measurements and observations
  • Design of experiments

Theory of Science

  • What is knowledge (epistemology) and reality (ontology)? 
  • Research strategy, Methodology, Methods, Techniques
  • Science versus technology
  • Concepts: hypothesis, experiment, causality, correlation

Engineering ethics

  • How can we define ethics? 
  • Morals, codes of conduct, the concept of ethics
  • Socio-political influences on science and engineering
  • Examples from research and business
  • Academic honesty: plagiarism, copying and referencing
  • Ethical considerations when designing and carrying out research

Reflective Practice
  • Reflection individually and in groups 
  • The importance of reflection for ethical decisions
  • Reflection as an evaluation tool 

Communication skills

  • Report writing
  • Presentation skills 
  • Visualisations
  • Feedback to colleagues
  • Opponent guidelines


The course includes a series of lectures, exercises and seminars aiming to give the students general knowledge about engineering-related research methodology, theory of science, engineering ethics and communication skills. 

Project groups are formed at the beginning of the course.

Compulsory activities are found in the Course schedule.

Each group can call for meeting with a supervisor at the university to get guidance through their projects and assistance to meet the learning objectives.


 Scientific papers 

 Book excerpts 

 Lecture presentations

Examination including compulsory elements

  • Participation in mandatory course activities (or a relevant compensation assignment in agreement with the examiner) is a prerequisite for passing the course. 
  • Relevant and respectful feedback to group members is considered a mandatory course activity. 
  • Project group work (consisting of a completed project report, stand-alone information materials and an oral presentation) constitute the group component of the final grade. 
  • An individually formulated reflection portfolio constitutes the individual part of the final grade. 
All course activities are evaluated according to quality criteria given in the course and project PMs. The quality of presentations, stand-alone information material and opponent feedback, as well as the individual feedback from project group members, can influence each individual student¿s grade (as assessed by the course teaching staff). 

The examiner gives the final judgement of the individual grade level based on accumulated credits for each activity and with regard to the individual's performance assessment from the project group.

The course examiner may assess individual students in other ways than what is stated above if there are special reasons for doing so, for example if a student has a decision from Chalmers on educational support due to disability.

Page manager Published: Thu 03 Nov 2022.