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Module Descriptor School of Computer Science and Statistics

Module CodeCS7064
Module NameResearch Methods – Integrated Computer Science
Module Short Title
Semester TaughtMichaelmas Term
Contact Hours

One hour each week is conducted in seminar format, from 11:00 to 12:00 on Fridays. An additional hour consists of participation in the SCSS seminar  series at 12:00 on Fridays. Frequently, it will be necessary to use the hour from 10:00 to 11:00 for the seminar  as well.

Module PersonnelCarl Vogel
Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the module are able to:

1. locate and obtain relevant research articles in print and electronic archives, with discernment;

2. precis readings with respect to pragmatically determine needs;

3. shape research questions and methods for answering them with attention to methodological possibilities that recognizably instantiate  sound scientific methods;

4. formulate and defend (in class discussion  and written works) arguments on the basis of published research, personal insight and novel research;

5. write articles on novel research and position papers, both according to internationally rec- ognized scholarly style-guides;

6. constructively critique articles according to the standard that one may expect of peer review, internationally.


Learning Aims

The module is designed to foster constructive reflection on methods of scientific research in computer  science and statistics  as appropriate  to a five year integrated  masters

course in computer science.

Module Content

The module  addresses a range of topics foundational to the conduct of research.


Research ethics

Research aesthetics

Analytical,  empirical and eclectic approaches

Libraries and biliographies

Reading articles

Constructive criticism

Writing articles

Reviewing articles

et cetera

Recommended Reading List


Descartes (1637)

Kuhn (1970)

Quine (1953)

Garey and Johnson (1979)

Greene and D’Oliveira  (2006)

Floridi (1999)



 APA (1983). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, DC: Amer- ican Psychological Association.

Descartes, R. (1637). Discourse on Method. Indianapolis, IL: Bobbs-Merrill Educational Publishing.

Laurence, J. Lafleur (Trans.), 1950, reprinted 1984. 

Floridi, L. (1999). Information Ethics: On the Philosophical Foundation of Computer Ethics.  Ethics and Information  Technology, 1, 37–56.

Garey,  M. R. & Johnson, D. S. (1979).  Computers and Intractability:  A Guide to the Theory of NP-Completeness. New York: W. H. Freeman and Co.

Greene, J. & D’Oliveira, M. (2006). Learning to Use Statistical Tests in Psychology, Third Ed. Open University  Press. First Published in 1982.

Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Quine, W. V. O. (1953). Two Dogmas of Empiricism. In From a Logical Point of View, pp. 20–46. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University  Press.

Module Prerequisites
Assessment Details

Students complete a variety of tasks. Each student must compose and type a summary of approximately one page (no more than two pages), with appropriate bibliographic details, for each of the SCSS seminars.  These must be signed, dated and submitted  at the start of class on the Friday that follows. In some weeks, summaries of assigned readings may substitute for the seminar series. In most weeks, designated  readings will be discussed during the class. Students must bring their typed summaries of these readings to class for submission at the end of the session.  Each student report progress in a lab notebook  weekly as well. Summaries will will amount to 10% of the assessment, and weekly updated notebooks also 10%.

A mid term essay will form the basis of a reviewing exercise. The mark on this exercise will be 30% of the overall result for the module.

An end of term essay will be submitted  by each student, and comprises the other 50% of the assessment for the module.

Deadlines and submission instructions:

Weekly summaries of readings should  be typed and inclusive of appropriate bibliographic details. These summaries must be dated, signed and submitted at the end of each weekly session. Submissions by proxy are not accepted.

• Weekly updates to the lab notebook must be privdied in PDF form through email submission. The PDF may be the output of electronically scanning a hand-written document or the output of text formatted with an electronic word processor.  These electronic  submissions must be made before 09:00 on the Tuesday of each week.

The mid-term  essay  must be  submitted by 18:00 on Friday, November 11, 2016.  The submission must be in typed format using IEEE two-column conference submission format, not in excess of ten pages using ten point font, with a bibliographic style broadly consistent with the requirements of the American Psychological Association (e.g. APA (1983)). The submission must be an electronic posting of a PDF document.

The final essay must be submitted by 18:00 on Friday, December 16, 2016. The submission must be  in typed  format using IEEE two-column  conference submission format, not in excess of eight pages in 10 point font, with a bibliographic style broadly consistent with the requirements of the American Psychological Association.  The submission must be an electronic posting of a PDF document.

Electronic submissions  must be  made electronically,  by email,  using appropriate  substitution equivalents of this subject line:  “RESEARCH METHODS SUBMISSION  (SSN): Descriptor”, where “SSN” is to be replaced by the student’s surname and “Descriptor”  is to be replaced by a description of the content (i.e. “lab notebook entries for week of October 3-7”, “mid-term essay”, “final essay”).

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