module specification

FC7004 - Research and Development Skills (Distance Learning) (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Research and Development Skills (Distance Learning)
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
96 hours Guided independent study
56 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 70%   Research methods, applying legal, social, ethical & professional issues (3500 Words)
Coursework 30%   M.Sc. project preparation (1500 words)
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
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 deeply understand and apply legal, social, ethical and professional issues which they encounter in carrying out such research project, and to equip students with basic tools of project management sufficient to manage their own work successfully.
Assessment: Research methods, applying legal, social, ethical & professional issues, and poster presentation 70%   +  MSc project preparation 30%. [Pass on aggregate]

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; LO1
• a clear understanding of what is involved in working towards a PhD programme; LO1
• identifying a novel research project theme within the area of interest; LO1,LO3
• proposing and writing a programme of research project, including rationale,  LO2,LO4
       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, LO4,LO9
• Operating in a legal, social, ethical and professional framework -  an overview of relevant UK, EU and US laws; LO6,LO7
• legal, social, ethical and professional framework within which employees act as systems  developers LO8
•  legal, social, ethical and professional issues of conducting PhD programmes and disseminating the results; LO9
• referencing standards in writing technical and professional reports; LO4,LO5
• PDP - to reflect upon learning, performance and achievement, and to plan for personal, educational and career development. LO11

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The distance learning provides the student the flexibility to study at their own time and their own location, while receiving effective guidance and support throughout the module. The University’s state of the art Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is used to provide a highly interactive, supportive and collaborative learning experience for students. A wide range of synchronous and asynchronous facilities are used where appropriate for an effective delivery and assessment of the module as well as an active engagement and support for students, such as WebLearn material, video lectures, discussion board, online forum, online presentation and viva and feedback.  Students are encouraged to become active participants, rather than passive recipients of this learning process.

The learning experience is based principally on a combination of interactive teaching materials and workbooks, tutors deliver lectures by using video-conferencing, online teaching, learning and assessment materials delivered through WebLearn, utilisation of  audio CDs, DVDs, resource-based learning ( e-literature, software downloads), utilisation of discussion boards, blogs, chat, virtual classroom for collaboration and sharing information, study group meetings,  Skype and OOVOO. 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.

To facilitate a flexible yet structured study pattern, the topics in the syllabus are grouped into four learning units, with each lasting for three weeks. Each learning unit is designed to cover selected topics.

For each learning unit, the following materials are typically provided to students via the VLE (e.g. WebLearn):
• clear description of required learning activities including required reading list and exercises
• lecture notes and slides and/or other supporting materials
• a clear description of the study tasks for the learning unit, submission instruction, submission deadlines, assessment and marking criteria
• exercise questions posted on the discussion forum on the VLE which facilitate discussion among students.

Students are strongly encouraged to:
• Complete required learning activities
• Post questions related to the module to the relevant forum in discussion board and engage in online discussion with peers and the tutors
• Submit solutions to study tasks and the required assessment by the given deadline in accordance with published procedures
• regularly check mail boxes, notice boards, e-mails for update on the module
• complete 200 hours of study.

Formative feedback on student work/progress for each learning unit will be provided.

Summative feedback will be provided at the end of courseworks 1 and 2 assessments.

Learning outcomes


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
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
      LO11  A clear understanding of Personal Development Plan (PDP).

Assessment strategy

Assessment Methods:

The module will be assessed 100% through two individual courseworks. The two courseworks are outlined below:

- Coursework 1: Coursework one is research methods. Planning, proposing and writing a programme of research comprises of rationale, methodology, literature review, expected benefits and poster presentation and critically evaluates the legal, social, ethical and professional issues which may arise. (70%, 3500 words).
- Coursework 2: Coursework 2 is MSc project preparation. Coursework two entails preparing a report on the fundamentals required for embarking on a MSc project A detailed description of the legal, social, ethical, professional issues related to a field of research  and the rules governing academic misconduct associated with this field of research is required. (30%, 1500 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.

• Opportunities for formative feedback:

     - Students carry out a number of research-based exercises which are given tutor
    - Students are given opportunities to have comments on draft versions of the 
      courseworks 1 and 2. 
• Opportunities for summative feedback:
- At week 9 during the assessment periods. Feedback on coursework 1 is provided on week 10 to enable students to improve their coursework 2 due for submission on week 12.



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

Other Texts:
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.

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

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

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

Journals: Taylor and Francis Journals, Journal TOCs

British Psychological Society, Code of Ethics and Conduct,, accessed January 2018.
http://www/bcs/org BCS Code of Conduct, accessed January 2018.
London Metropolitan University, Code of Good Research Practice,
London Metropolitan University, The Graduate School Research Ethics,

The Higher Education Academy,, Personal Development Planning, accessed January 2018.

Electronic Databases: ACM Digital Library, IEEE Xplore/IET Digital Library

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.