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CSC3031 : Research and Project Skills (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor John Fitzgerald
  • Lecturer: Dr Simon Bowen
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Research skills are at the foundation of innovative projects in computing, whether in professional practice or in the Research & Development lab. Graduate computer scientists, in addition to their core technical competencies, should be able to access and appreciate research results. Consequently, this module aims to help students develop:
-       an understanding of the character, processes and methods of research in Computer Science;
-       confidence in approaching, using and appraising the research literature in Computer Science;
-       basic skills required to define, propose and plan a substantial individual project
-       awareness of the ethical and professional issues that arise in Computer Science research

Outline Of Syllabus

1. What is Research? Principles of originality, knowledge (including fallibility) and gain. Relating research, innovation and impact.

2. Scientific method and intellectual discovery. Reasoning techniques (deductive, abductive, inductive). Presentation of claims with supporting arguments: comparing and evaluating sources, critical evaluation of published material. Types of research activity in Computer Science, from theoretical studies to development or application studies.

3. The Computer Science Knowledge Base: the peer review process; understanding, searching and appraising literature including technical reports, conference proceedings, journals of record, identifying information need, locating and accessing information.

4. Project Proposal and Planning: the elements of a project proposal; identifying aims and objectives, project definition, planning and risk management; ethical and professional context and considerations.

5. Conducting a Project: review of process models; practical guidance on monitoring and management.

6. Communicating findings: elements of scholarship including citation, referencing, the structure and style of research reports and papers, oral presentations and posters.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00Lectures (in persons)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion161:0016:00Coursework 1: development and delivery of a project summary presentation (recording)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion361:0036:00Coursework 2: development of full project proposal
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading481:0048:00Pre-lecture and post-lecture reading
Guided Independent StudySkills practice481:0048:00Research literature search, review and appraisal
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision241:0024:00Guidance with supervisors, preparation of project ethics review (min 50% in person)
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion41:004:00Informal peer review of project summary presentation
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module introduces essential knowledge and skills needed to appreciate the research landscape, methods and literature, as well as project proposal and planning in Computer Science. Knowledge is reinforced and skills are developed through practical work (searching and assessment of research literature, project planning) done in the context of a student’s individual project. Students can choose a research project of interest to their research area, intended career sector, or societal engagement. Project supervision is also provided by teachers related to the area of project application.

The module is block taught and includes contact time through scheduled lectures on each of the main areas of the syllabus as well as practical sessions with supervisors from the student’s chosen project theme.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Examination2M25Recorded video and oral presentation (500 words) covering project background, aims, objectives and outline plan
Research proposal2M75Project proposal (3500 words) covering rationale, literature review, refined aims and objectives and project plan
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Prof skill assessmntMEthics form- must be completed
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Report1MBased on the presentation, moderated peer review (in groups) on project aims, objectives & planning, giving feedback on proposal.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Two forms of assessment are used: a short recorded presentation and a written project proposal. The recorded presentation allows students to demonstrate a grasp of research motivation and context, and particularly communication of project aims, objectives and outline planning. The written project proposal allows the assessment of formal academic skills by covering research project formulation and literature review, the selection and justification of research methods, as well as technical writing and scholarship.
No alternative form of assessment is required in AY21/22, since both forms of assessment can be carried out entirely online should the public health conditions demand it.

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