COMP3095 - Research Methods

This database contains 2016-17 versions of the syllabuses. For current versions please see here.

PrerequisitesSuccessful completion of years 1 and 2 of Computer Science.
Taught ByAnthony Hunter (50%), Denise Gorse (50%)

The aims of this module are to:

  • deepen the students' appreciation of what computer research is and how it is carried out.
  • teach students how to read research publications critically.
  • teach students how to evaluate research ideas.
  • teach students how to perform a literature survey and outline the work needed to produce a research paper.
  • introduce the students to both seminal papers and cutting-edge research in computer science.
Learning Outcomes

The students should be able to identify seminal and cutting-edge topics in computer science, distinguish research topics from engineering tasks, know how to go about evaluating the novelty and contribution of a research idea.

They should know how to write a critical survey.

They should also gain a good knowledge of a number of areas of research carried out in the department.


Weeks 1 and 2

  • Students are split into groups and each assigned a supervisor who will give them a batch of research papers and help to answer questions on those papers
  • Six lectures on research methods

Weeks 3 to 9

  • Speakers from research groups in the department give an overview of their group's activities
  • Students will receive one session per week of tutorial support on the literature survey
  • One to three workshops will be held covering selected topics pertaining to academic writing, presentation skills, and statistical validation of research hypotheses.

Week 10

  • Each student hands in an individual report on their version of the Literature survey.

Method of Instruction

Lectures and seminars.


The course has the following assessment component:

  • Research Review (100%).

To pass this course, students must:

  • Obtain an overall pass mark of 40% for all components combined.


The exact readings will vary from year to year and will be made available via Moodle.