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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 21/07/2022 15:53:41

Title of Module: Research Methods in Computing

Code: COMP09092 SCQF Level: 9
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 10 ECTS: 5
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Mark  Stansfield

Summary of Module

 This module is designed to provide undergraduate students with the necessary skills and knowledge to undertake a substantial computing-related research project. The module will focus on the nature of research in the area of computing, examining the skills and knowledge necessary in order to specify and design an appropriate research study, as well as justifying the choice of suitable research methods. The module is aimed at allowing students to develop their research and writing skills within the context of undertaking a computing-related research project of their choice.

The skills and knowledge are intended to provide a firm foundation for students who will go on to undertake a computing-related Honours Project, as well as being relevant to research and investigation activities commonly undertaken within many organisations for those student who do not wish to proceed to Honours level.

A range of graduate attributes that students will explore include:

(i)  undertaking autonomous secondary research and critically evaluating sources in gathering, synthesising and evaluating information in undertaking a literature review or technical review in their chosen computing-related research area which identifies potential ethical issues;

(ii) critically evaluating different research methods used for undertaking research in Computing - such as quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research;

(ii) critically evaluating specific research tools and techniques such as interviews, questionnaires, surveys, observation, case studies, focus groups, simulations, statistical analysis;

(iv) effectively communicating their idea through writing a clear and well-formulated research proposal aimed at exploring how an important problem may be addressed in their chosen area.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Identify, gather and critique relevant information, evidence and arguments from relevant literature and credible sources.

L2. Critically review and evaluate appropriate research methodologies, approaches and techniques relevant to their proposed area of research taking into account theoretical, practical and ethical considerations.

L3. Develop and construct a suitable research proposal and strategy that is justifiable, and is of an appropriate level for Honours research.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 9.

Gathering, synthesising and evaluating relevant information and data in identifying and justifying clearly stated research question(s), establishing a relevant research methodology that is ethically sound and appropriate to the proposed area of research.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 9.

Building upon already acquired skills and knowledge in undertaking a critical analysis of the propoosed area of research, identifying and applying relevant research design strategies and methods, identifying appropriate data collection and analysis techniques.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

The ability to critique the work of other researchers, authors and practitioners, developing clear and coherent arguments in identifying research question(s), research themes, providing a strong justification for the proposed research methodology and research techniques to be adopted.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

Identifying and discussing relevant software and ICT platforms to support research in the proposed area of research in relation to data collection and data analysis in order to support the stated research aims and objectives.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 9.

Developing the ability to work independently, time manage and show initiative in identifying a relevant and significant area of research which must be justified using appropriate evidence.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Lectures and tutorial exercises will be used to explore important concepts and issues relating to this module. Exercises may be undertaken on an individual and/or group basis. Completing the module is likely to involve students engaging in significant independent study of relevant methods and techniques. Where appropriate guest lectures will be used to provide expert insight into particular research areas and specialist techniques/technologies (e.g. computer simulations, statistical analysis techniques).

The module is aligned to the core design principles of the Curriculum Framework which are (i) Student-centred; (ii) Flexible and Hybrid; (iii) Simple and Coherent; (iv) Authentic; (v) Inclusive; (vi) Sustainable.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery8
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity10
Personal Development Plan1
Independent Study81
100 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

A Moodle module site will be provided to support the student with appropriate detailed materials and links to resources.

Useful texts include:

Oates, B. J. (2012) Researching Information Systems and Computing. Sage

Creswell, J.W. (2014) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches (4th Edition). Sage

Dawson, C. (2015) Projects in Computing and Information Systems: A Student's Guide. Pearson

Cornford, T. and Smithson, S. (2006) Project Research in Information Systems: A Student's Guide. (2md Edition) Palgrave MacMillan.

Lazar, J., Feng, J.H. and Hochheiser, H. (2009) Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction. Wiley & Sons.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
Students will demonstrate their engagement for this module by making scheduled coursework submissions and by attending formal lecture and tutorial sessions.

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardComputing
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelBusiness & Applied Computing
ModeratorSantiago Matalonga
External ExaminerT Gaber
Accreditation DetailsBCS Accredited as part of a number of existing programmes.
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Research Proposal Report (100%)- containing a literature/technical review and research design proposal
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Report of practical/ field/ clinical workcheck markcheck markcheck mark1000
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
The module teaching team work very closely with the School of CEP’s Disability Support Coordinator, as well as Students Services, the Disability Support Team, Effective Learning Team, the Quality Enhancement Support Team, and the Department of People & Organisational Development to ensure a commitment to all students (and staff) associated with the programme, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief or sexual orientation. For students with additional support requirements, adjustments in relation to teaching and assessments will be made as appropriate with advice from the Disability Support Coordinator.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.