Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Research and Professional Skills (M) COMPSCI5092

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Computing Science
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course covers the fundamental principles of the scientific method, and the core skills of planning, designing, executing, evaluating and presenting research. In addition, it introduces the social, ethical, legal, and professional issues involved in the widespread deployment of information technology


Two hours of lectures per week

Requirements of Entry

For MSc students: acceptance into one of the MSc programmes listed in section 10 below.

Excluded Courses



Programming and Systems Development (H)

Introduction to Data Science and Systems (M)


Exam, worth 60%

Essay (30%), peer review (5%), active academic participation (5%)

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

Introduce students to critical research techniques, core scientific principles, methods for conducting and evaluating scientific investigations, and important techniques for planning and managing a research project. To stimulate thinking about the social and ethical implications of the widespread and sustainable use of IT; develop students' awareness of the laws and professional codes of conduct governing the IT industry; encourage students to adopt principled, reasoned stances on important issues in the topic area.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1. Identify the principal social, ethical, legal, and professional issues in information technology (IT);

2. Explain the laws and codes of conduct relevant to the IT industry, and relate them to examples of IT in practice;

3. Constructively criticise the arguments of others;

4. Critically review research papers;

5. Perform a comprehensive literature search and write a comprehensive literature survey;

6. Write an appropriate study design for a chosen CS research problem;

7. Perform critical analysis of experimental designs;

8. Discuss issues relating to the ethics approval of experiments.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.