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Module ICE-3002:
Research Methods

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Overall aims and purpose

To equip students with:

  • requisite skills to conduct a review of available literature.
  • an understanding of the range of sources and their relative worth to scientific endeavour.
  • an appreciation of and methods to evaluate wider societal impacts of their work.
  • a practical understanding of how projects/experiments should be reported within a scientific field.

Additionally; this module will deliver several employability sessions, including creating CVs, completing application forms, interview techniques, and providing information on potential career pathways.

Course content

Indicative content includes:

  • Research theory basics: paradigms, domains and approaches.
  • Contextualisation of Research Methods in relation to MSc project scope.
  • Research process: design, planning, and implementation.
  • Coping with information overload, selection of secondary sources, their critical evaluation and role in independent research. Structuring literature review to inform theoretical framework and justify selection of methodology.
  • Research rationale; setting research objectives and developing hypotheses.
  • Primary data collection methods.
  • Statistical principles of data analysis.
  • Summarising results and arriving to meaningful conclusions.
  • Preparing research proposals.
  • Professional, legal, social, cultural and ethical issues related to computing and an awareness of societal and environmental impact of research projects.

Assessment Criteria


Equivalent to 40%. Uses key areas of theory or knowledge to meet the Learning Outcomes of the module. Is able to formulate an appropriate solution to accurately solve tasks and questions. Can identify individual aspects, but lacks an awareness of links between them and the wider contexts. Outputs can be understood, but lack structure and/or coherence.


Equivalent to the range 60%-69%. Is able to analyse a task or problem to decide which aspects of theory and knowledge to apply. Solutions are of a workable quality, demonstrating understanding of underlying principles. Major themes can be linked appropriately but may not be able to extend this to individual aspects. Outputs are readily understood, with an appropriate structure but may lack sophistication.


Equivalent to the range 70%+. Assemble critically evaluated, relevent areas of knowledge and theory to constuct professional-level solutions to tasks and questions presented. Is able to cross-link themes and aspects to draw considered conclusions. Presents outputs in a cohesive, accurate, and efficient manner.

Learning outcomes

  1. Recognise and employ all appropriate techniques, rules and conventions to communicate with a scientifically literate audience.

  2. Distinguish the relative worth of different sources of research/information and construct an ordered review of these sources.

  3. Employ methodologies for planning, conducting and reporting scientific experiments.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Literature Survey Report 30
Project/Experiment Plan 30
Paraphrasing/Evaluation Exercise 30
Open/Review Lecture Participation 10

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Interactive seminars with class activities.


Traditional lecture, including student Q&A

Private study

Private study and implementation of taught material, completing assignments.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • Solve problems logically and systematically;
  • Access and synthesize information and literature sources;
  • Use both verbal and written communication skills to different target audiences;
  • Communicate proposals persuasively and respond positively to feedback;
  • Analyse and display data using appropriate methods and mathematical techniques;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with relevant subject specific and general computer software packages.
  • Problem solving strategies
  • Recognise legal, social, ethical & professional issues
  • Deploy tools effectively
  • Development of general transferable skills
  • Principles of appropriate supporting engineering and scientific disciplines


Talis Reading list

Reading list

Recommended, but not required:

  • How to Design and Report Experiments, Andy Field & Graham Hole, ISBN 9780761973836
  • Scientific Paper Writing: A Survival Guide, Bodil Holst, ISBN 9781516886265
  • Critical Thinking Skills (3rd Ed), Stella Cottrell, ISBN 9781137550507
  • The Study Skills Handbook (4th Ed), Stella Cottrell, ISBN 9781137289254
  • Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review, Andrew Booth & Diana Papaioannou & Anthea Sutton, ISBN 9780857021359

Courses including this module