Research Methodology

Module description

On this module, you will get an introduction to the methods used in scientific research, including finding research articles, critical review, peer review, presentation skills and literature synthesis. In the lectures, there is a strong emphasis on student engagement, and you should be prepared to stand up in front of the class and discuss things you have read.

As well as delivering summaries of papers, you and your fellow students will prepare and run two conferences in which each student will talk about a scientific topic of their choice for 10 minutes. There is also a creative element, and you will be required to design a poster using papers from the literature.

Your research proposal must be different to that in ECMM131.

Full module specification

Module title:Research Methodology
Module code:ECMM410
Module level:M
Academic year:2014/5
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Mat Collins - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:


Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Duration (weeks) - term 3:


Module aims

The aim of the module is to introduce you to some of the soft skills you need to carry out research, such as communication, literature review and critical thinking. Because of the mix of different subjects, it is not possible to cover hard skills such as statistical analysis, because individual students will have a different baseline and have varying requirements for their work.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. critically appraise published research results;
  • 2. demonstrate improved soft skills required for research.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. assess research in mathematics, computer science and engineering.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 4. read, appraise and present research results critically.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities22Lectures
Guided independent study128Reading of research articles and preparation of presentations, posters etc.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Not applicable

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Coursework – peer review of paper302 pages A41,4Written
Coursework - review of literature706 pages A42,3Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
All aboveCoursework (100%)AllCompleted over summer with a deadline in August

Re-assessment notes

The module is assessed entirely by coursework, all referred/deferred assessments be by assignment.

Syllabus plan

- introduction: what is research, why research, what is original, research ethics and integrity, copyright and plagiarism;
- research process: description and analysis of all major steps from formulating a problem to presenting results;
- literature survey: sources of information, efficient and effective literature search (library/internet/other), critical reading and assessment, writing a literature review, referencing (styles, software);
- research problem formulation: research strategy (questions, objectives, hypothesis) and research design (definitions and functions);
- data analysis: general (planning the analysis, use of statistical theory, mathematical models), quantitative methods (non)parametric statistical tests, regression) and qualitative methods (analysis of interviews, questionnaires and focus group results);
- presentation of research results: writing papers and dissertations; doing oral presentations;
- planning and managing research projects: managing time, mapping your project, dealing with people and institutions, sharing responsibility, etc;
- what is research proposal, typical proposal content, guidelines for writing up different sections of a typical proposal, proposal assessment criteria/process, funding bodies and types of proposals;
- advanced methods.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading


  1. Business Research Methods,Bryman, A. and Bell, E.,Oxford University Press,2007,978-0199284986
  2. Research Methodology: a step by step guide for beginners,Kumar, R.,,Sage Publications,2005,,978-0761962144
  3. A Practical Guide to Research Methods: A User-friendly Manual for Mastering Research Techniques and Projects,Dawson, C.,How to Books Ltd.,2007,,978-1845282301
  4. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantative and Mixed Methods Approaches,Creswell, J.W.,Sage Publications,2002,978-0761924425
  5. Writing your Dissertation,Swetnam, D.,How To Books Ltd.,2000,978-1857036626
  6. Doing your Research Project: A Guide for First-time Researcher in Education, Health and Social Science,Bell, J.,Open University Press,2005,978-0335215041

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