module specification

FC7004 - Research and Development Skills (Distance Learning) (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
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
152 hours Guided independent study
48 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
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 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester LMET Distance Learning - -
Autumn semester LMET Distance Learning - -

Module summary

To develop R & D knowledge and skills required to undertake an independent research project in computing  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.

Prior learning requirements


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.    


• an introduction to what is involved in working in commercial R&D environments;
• an introduction to 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,
• research project ethics and other professional aspects of carrying out research and 
       development and disseminating the results;
• legal issues for IT professionals - an overview of relevant UK, EU and US laws, with
       more emphasis on the UK;
• 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 distance learning delivery of the module affords the student the flexibility of studying for the module at their own time in their own style at their own location while receiving effective guidance and support throughout the module. The University’s state-of-art Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is used to provide a highly interactive, supportive and collaborative learning experience for the students. A wide range of synchronous and asynchronous facilities are used where appropriate for the effective delivery and assessment of the module, as well as active engagement and support for the students. Among these facilities are WebLearn learning materials, video lectures, discussion board and online forum, and online presentation, viva and feedback.  Students are encouraged to become active participants, rather than passive recipients, of this learning process.

To facilitate a flexible yet structured study pattern, the topics in the module 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 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 facilitates 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 tutor
• 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.

Students are expected to complete a total of 200 learning hours for this module. This includes:
• 48 hours – guided learning, teaching and related activities (synchronous & asynchronous), including 12 hour online communication with the tutor;
• 152 hours – guided independent study.

Learning outcomes

 The student should be able to demonstrate:

LO1 A deep understanding of nature of research and development;
L02 A wide-ranging ability to use a range of typical data collection and analysis techniques;
L03 An extensive ability in writing a research project proposal, identifying objectives and a suitable research method for the chosen problem;
L04 A broad skill in writing a professional report as a vehicle for communicating ideas in research;
L05 A comprehensive ability for professional presentation on the subject of their research work;
L06 An extensive understanding of legal, social, ethical, professional issues and academic misconduct, and apply them to a chosen field of study;
L07 A deep understanding of legal, social, ethical and professional issues for developing systems;
L08 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;
L010 A deep understanding of key principles in research project planning and management;
L011 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 M.Sc. project preparation. Coursework two entails preparing a report on the fundamentals required for embarking on a M.Sc. 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.


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

T. Greenfield (ed), Research methods for postgraduates, Wiley-Blackwell, 2nd Edition, 1st Feb 2002.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

British Psychological Society, Code of Ethics and Conduct,, and, accessed 26th Sept 12. 
London Metropolitan University, Code of Good Research Practice,, accessed 26th Sept 12.
London Metropolitan University, The Graduate School Research Ethics,, accessed 26th Sept 12.

Dr Stella Cottrell. Skills for Success: Personal Development and Employability, ISBN-10: 0230250181, ISBN-13: 978-0230250185, Edition: 2nd edition.

The Higher Education Academy,, Personal Development Planning, accessed 13th Dec 12.

Bangor Univerity, How do you develop a PDP? accessed 13th Dec 12. 

Robert Half, Career coaching website:, career coaching guide, accessed 13th Dec 12. 

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.