F22RM Research Methods in Computer Science

Dr Hamish Taylor

Course co-ordinator(s): Dr Hamish Taylor (Edinburgh).


This research course will be taught primarily by individual supervision and secondarily by a limited number of weekly lectures  that aim to

  • Impart skills in critical thinking, research planning, academic writing and experimental design appropriate for a post-graduate research programme.
  • Impart skills in research project planning
  • Develop a critical awareness of legal, social, ethical and professional issues relevant for computer science and its research.

Detailed Information

Course Description: Link to Official Course Descriptor.

Pre-requisites: none.

Location: Edinburgh.

Semester: 2.


  • Research aims and objectives, critical analysis of a research problem, critical review of relevant literature and investigative design.
  • Research paper and proposal writing
  • Research project planning, testing, risk analysis, requirements and design.
  • Human factors in software engineering and computer science.
  • Experimental design and software evaluation.
  • Professional and academic standards and issues.
  • Legal, social and ethical issues in Computer Science and its research.

Learning Outcomes: Subject Mastery

Understanding, Knowledge and Cognitive Skills Scholarship, Enquiry and Research (Research-Informed Learning)

  • Ability to write literature review which critically evaluates research and current technical developments against stated aims and objectives.
  • Ability to search for and evaluate the value of online and printed scientific literature.
  • A critical understanding of the role of human factors in software engineering, and of a range of techniques for designing and evaluating with users in mind.
  • A detailed understanding of general issues in experimental design, and how to verify a research hypothesis.
  • An ability to apply general methodologies for research project planning, and more specific methodologies related to Computer Science and its research projects.
  • Awareness of professional and academic codes of conduct, safety, quality and security standards, UK computing law and ethical aspects of computing

Learning Outcomes: Personal Abilities

Industrial, Commercial & Professional Practice Autonomy, Accountability & Working with Others Communication, Numeracy & ICT

  • A proper appreciation of current professional, legal and ethical standards relevant to academia and the IT industry.
  • Ability to work independently on a small research project, planning and managing time.
  • Ability to present work effectively to others both orally and written.
  • An ability to use software tools appropriate to literature search and IT project planning and evaluation.
  • Ability to reflect on relevant normative issues arising from academic computer science practice

Assessment Methods:

Assessment: Coursework: (weighting – 100%

SCQF Level: 12.

Credits: 15.