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CSC8208 : Research Methods and Group Project in Security and Resilience

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Carlton Shepherd
  • Lecturer: Professor Shishir Nagaraja
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module aims to provide students with a range of possible research approaches and the types of research projects. It will aid students in formulating valid research questions appropriate to a domain of interest within the area of computer science and evaluating the relationship between questions, methodology and methods. It will serve to prepare the students for working on individual research projects.

The module will also aid students in reflecting on the experience of applying the techniques taught in preceding modules to the safety, security and resilience analysis and development of a computing system. The students will work in groups to address sophisticated issues in cyber security such as building a secure system catering for the various stages, including literature review, software design, implementation, presentation of design and demonstration of the implemented system. The students will have access to technical guidance from faculty members but will essentially work as a small independent team under their own initiative.

Outline Of Syllabus

Material on research methods will include:
• Introduction to research methods in computer science.
• Identifying research questions and hypotheses.
• Conducting literature reviews.
• Experimental design methods.
• Approaches to analysis and drawing valid conclusions.
• Methods for evaluating research projects (e.g. quantitative data collection and analysis)
• Writing up and presenting research.
• Ethical considerations.

Students will also work in groups on research topics chosen by module leaders. Groups work together, forming reading circles to collaboratively produce a literature review. Groups will then begin work on the software development exercise. Development will involve research, requirements elicitation, security modelling, and developing appropriate evaluation functionality (e.g. benchmarking suites). Selection of appropriate development methods and tools will be done by each group.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion201:0020:00Literature review
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials81:008:00Lecture materials on research methods, Asynchronous online materials
Guided Independent StudyProject work601:0060:00Project coursework
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity181:0018:00Reading circle (not timetabled, scheduled by students in person or online as appropriate)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00Synchronous PiP sessions, if available. Else additional synchronous online sessions
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity601:0060:00Formal/informal meetings (not timetabled, scheduled by students in person or online as appropriate)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study201:0020:00Background reading
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study101:0010:00Lecture follow-up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture materials and online sessions will be used to introduce the learning material and for demonstrating the key concepts by example. Students are expected to follow-up lectures within a few days by re-reading and annotating lecture notes to aid deep learning. Students aiming for 1st class marks are expected to widen their knowledge beyond the content of lecture notes through background reading.

Project meetings both formal and informal, will provide team members with the opportunity to follow progress and address team issues. These meetings can be held online or in person.

Students gain knowledge in research skills from lecture materials and working together on the literature review and reading circle. Students gain experience in development of a significant software project from the student-led activities and project work.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M30Week 4, group literature review – max 20 pages
Report2M70End of module, group report – max 13 pages
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The literature review provides an opportunity to assess practical research, communication and collaboration skills in a realistic environment. Students will assess each other's contribution to the literature review.
The group work is used to award a mark to each group. The individual report is used to moderate individual weightings allocated by the group, to award a final mark to each group member.

Reading Lists