module specification

FC7002 - Research and Development Skills (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Research and Development Skills
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 200
48 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
152 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 70%   Research methods, applying legal, social, ethical & professional issues (3500 Words)   
Coursework 30%   M.Sc. dissertation (project) preparation (1500 words)
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

To develop R & D knowledge and skills required to undertake an independent research project in computing or mathematics area with competence, to make students aware of possible ethical and professional issues which they may encounter in carrying out such research project,  and to equip students with basic tools of project management sufficient to manage their own work successfully.

Module aims

The overall aims of the module are to facilitate a clear understanding of nature of research and development, identifying a research project theme, proposing a programme of work, and providing thorough training in research methods, legal, social, ethical and professional issues that can be used in commercial and academic contexts.     


  • a deep understanding of what is involved in working in commercial R & D environments;
  • a clear understanding of what is involved in working towards a PhD programme;
  • identifying a novel research project theme within the area of interest;
  • proposing and writing a programme of research project, including rationale,  methodology,  measurable objectives, literature review and expected benefits;
  • learning of the resources available for research work, which includes: library  resources,  subject specific resources, Internet sources, journals and conferences, etc.;
  • Operating in a legal, social, ethical and professional framework -  an overview of relevant UK, EU and US laws;
  • legal, social, ethical and professional framework within which employees act as systems  developers
  • legal, social, ethical and professional issues of conducting PhD programmes and disseminating the results;
  • referencing standards in writing technical and professional reports;
  • PDP - to reflect upon learning, performance and achievement, and to plan for  personal, educational and career development.

Learning and teaching

The learning experience is based principally on a combination of lectures, tutorials, practical workshops and project-based activities. The lectures are used to present a framework for understanding the topics covered and to provide starting points for the students' own reading.  Workshops are used to introduce the students to specific research skills and to provide supervised practice in them. Tutorial support is provided where appropriate. 70% of the module is research methods, includes applications of legal, social, ethical & professional issues, and presentation of a poster. 30% is project/dissertation preparation. This includes lectures, tutorials and workshops. Throughout semester, students are encouraged to do their coursework 1 and coursework 2 in the area related to their specific M.Sc. course programmes. The module team comprises of research and development skills tutors and topic area specialists tutors. Students are encouraged to debate, research, develop and demonstrate their knowledge and skills to others.

Students have four hours of contact time with staff per week (48 hours). Two hours of lectures and two hours of workshops (include tutorials).

Additional work directed towards completion of workshop exercises and coursework assignments 152 hours.

Total hours = 200 Hours.

Learning outcomes

The student should be able to demonstrate:

LO1 A deep understanding of nature of research and development;
LO2 A wide-ranging ability to use a range of typical data collection and analysis  techniques;
LO3 An extensive ability in writing a research project proposal, identifying objectives and a suitable research method for the chosen problem;
LO4 A broad skill in writing a professional report as a vehicle for communicating ideas in research;
LO5 A comprehensive ability for professional presentation on the subject of their research work;
LO6 An extensive understanding of legal, social, ethical, professional issues and academic misconduct, and apply them to a chosen field of study;
LO7  A deep understanding of legal, social, ethical and professional issues for  developing systems;
LO8 A critical evaluation and a clear understanding of the applications of legal, social,  ethical and professional issues to industrial projects;
LO9 A critical evaluation and a clear understanding of the applications of legal, social,  ethical and professional issues to academic research and PhD programmes;
LO10 A deep understanding of key principles in research project planning and management;
LO11 A clear understanding of Personal Development Plan (PDP).


Assessment strategy

Assessment Methods:

The module will be assessed 100% through two individual courseworks. The module will be assessed through a research project (proposal, planning, report and poster presentation) and a M.Sc. dissertation (project) preparation.
- Coursework 1 [LO1..LO9]: Research project will include preparing and planning a research proposal, writing a report and poster presentation. Proposing and writing a programme of research project, including rationale, methodology, measurable objectives, literature review and expected benefits (70%, 3000 words including poster).
- Coursework 2 [LO1..LO9]: M.Sc. dissertation (project) preparation. This coursework may be tailored and delivered differently for each M.Sc. programme in the Faculty of Computing. However, the coursework will entail preparing a report on the fundamentals required for embarking on a M.Sc. dissertation. In some M.Sc. programmes this could mean a report on the pitching process for attracting a client to the project (30%, 2000 words).

Assessment profile:

-Students’ work on the module is assessed on the basis of courseworks 1 & 2 containing  examples of the theoretical and practical aspects of the work covered in the module.

Assessment criteria include:

• a clear application of legal, social, ethical and professional issues;
• demonstration of a clear understanding of the concepts involved;
• ability to consider the concepts critically;
• ability to develop a well-reasoned argument;
• ability to use the relevant tools, techniques and methods;
• professional issues, encompassing professional integrity and academic misconduct, and quality of presentation.

Timing of assessment:

Assessment details are made available during week 1 of the module. The courseworks are submitted during weeks 9 and 12.


Branscomb, E. (2000). Casting your Net: A students guide to research on the Internet. Allyn and Bacon.

Greenfield, T. (1998). Research methods: guidance for postgraduates. (ed.), Arnold.

Pelosi, M. K. and Sandifer, T. M. (2003). Elementary Statistics: From discovery to decision, SPSS Manual. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

Petre, M. and Rugg, G. (2010). The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research. 2nd ed., Open University Press, McGraw-Hill, Berkshire.

Preece, R. (1994). Starting Research: An introduction to academic research and dissertation writing. Pinter Publishers.

Quinn, M. J. (2011). Ethics for the Information Age. 4th ed., Imprint Boston: Addison-Wesley, 2011.

Rugg, G. and Petre, M. (2007). A Gentle Guide to Research Methods. Open University Press, McGraw-Hill, Berkshire, CORE.

Weaver, P. (2004), Success in Your Project. Pearson Education Limited.

Sharp, D. and Howar, K. (2000). The Management of a Student Research Project. Gower.

British Psychological Society, Code of Ethics and Conduct, and, accessed 26th May 14. 
London Metropolitan University, Code of Good Research Practice,, accessed 26th May 14.
London Metropolitan University, The Graduate School Research Ethics,,  accessed 26th May 14 .

Baase, S. (Aug 2012).  A Gift of Fire, Social, Legal and ethical issues for Computing Technology. Prentice Hall, 4th ed, CORE.

Adams, A.  A. and McCrindle, R. J. (2008). Pandora’s Box,  Social and Professional Issues of the Information Age. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, CORE.

Cottrell, S. (2010). Skills for Success: Personal Development and Employability, ISBN-10: 0230250181, ISBN-13: 978-0230250185, 2nd ed.

The Higher Education Academy,, Personal Development Planning, accessed 26th May 14.

Students are encouraged to read widely and not to restrict themselves to the particular sources recommended by the tutors. Students are encouraged to explore the web to find credible, high-value sites that can help them in the context of the course and later in their professional work.