COMPGS11 - Research Seminar in Software Engineering

This database contains the 2017-18 versions of syllabuses.

Note: Whilst every effort is made to keep the syllabus and assessment records correct, the precise details must be checked with the lecturer(s).

PrerequisitesA good standard of computer literacy is required as programming may be involved.
Prerequisite forCOMPGS98 (Students wishing to take COMPGS98 Research Project in Software Engineering MUST choose GS11 and GS12 as one of their options).
Taught ByEarl Barr (100%)
AimsTo introduce students to cutting-edge research methods in software engineering emphasising the close reading of research papers and the critical, yet balanced, evaluation of research ideas.
Learning Outcomes

Students successfully completing the module should be able to:

  • carefully read, i.e. peruse, research papers and books, identifying and articulating their core ideas, contributions and techniques or, at least, clearly state what was confusing and why and what steps to take to reduce that confusion.
  • identify research areas in software engineering, and discuss their seminal problems and solution techniques.
  • find and formulate a good research problem (or question), then convincingly and effectively solve (or answer) it, either via validation or proof.
  • conduct a literature search, avoiding the twin evils of shallowness and excessive depth.
  • describe the principal sections of a research paper and their purpose.
  • write a detailed research project proposal.
  • facilitate a seminar-style discussion of a research paper.
  • formulate, present and critique a research presentation, including an elevator pitch.
  • understand how papers are reviewed and accepted at conferences and journals.


This module will teach students how to conduct research in software engineering. It will introduce them to seminal papers and the cutting-edge research that UCL faculty are pursuing.

The module will begin by discussing what research is from the point of view of software engineering. It will discuss finding, evaluating and formulating research ideas. This module focuses on helping students develop the skills and habits needed to closely read research papers.

Method of Instruction

Seminar, lecture, and peer presentation and review. Students will read 3-4 papers each week; for each assigned paper, they must turn in a 1 page critique. Readings will be assigned and available via Moodle.


The module has the following assessment components:

  • Project Presentation (70%)
  • Coursework (30%)

To pass this course, students must:

  • Obtain an overall pass mark of 50% for all sections combined.


Reading list available via the UCL Library catalogue.