SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3I325944
Module Leader Vassilis Charissis
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Software Engineering
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

This module provides the research skills and professional issues knowledge necessary to underpin degree and honours level project work. It will also consider research and development as undertaken in professional practice, as well as the recognition of the legal, social, ethical and professional issues involved in the exploitation of software systems or digital and computer technology, as appropriate to the area of study . This module provides detailed coverage of the research skills required to underpin the final honours project and to prepare for professional practice and includes the review of a variety of research methods and their applicability to a range of contexts. It further develops scholarly study skills, analytical writing skills, and presentation skills. The final coursework for this module will be an individual project proposal. Note: Subject-based module co-ordinators will advise students on suitable topics for project proposals. It is recognised that some programmes will have a requirement for a specific project type to ensure external body accreditation.


The nature of research: The research process, Classifying research. Types of Capstone project e.g. Practice-based, Develop and Test, Design-Based, Case Study, Experimental evaluations, Survey-based. Research methods and applicability to different project types: Quantitative and Qualitative approaches. Data Gathering and Analysis Techniques: questionnaire design, interview and focus group design, statistical analysis, data evaluation, software tools for data analysis. Searching for and reviewing literature: Critical evaluation of literature sources, Literature review writing, Plagiarism in academic writing. Project Proposals: Project scoping, stakeholders and their involvement, Developing a research question, Hypothesis formulation, project planning, risk management. Identify and reflect on different research methods (both qualitative and quantitative research), that are and can be used within research; Use this knowledge to evaluate literature critically and reflect on its implications for research using appropriate methods for evaluating qualitative and quantitative research; Integrate statistical principles in analysing data; being able to delineate the appropriate methods to use for differing data sets; Demonstrate their research and statistical knowledge and skills. Ethical concepts and ethical theories, Professional Body or Industry codes of conduct/practice and moral responsibility. Examples of codes of ethics; Whistleblowing; Liability and accountability; Bribes and gifts. Ethical and social contexts to research Involving Human Subjects. Ethics of Intellectual Property and Software Protection /DRM. Fair use policies, Trade secrets, Digital piracy, Open Source software, Free software. Applicability of ethics in the application and exploitation of key current and emerging digital and computing technologies.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:1. Source and critically review academic, technical & professional literature relevant to a chosen project using a variety of bibliographic tools.2. Demonstrate an awareness of current trends and developments in technologies, processes and practices relevant to the area of study.3. Understand the relevant legal, social, ethical and professional issues which relate to the current and emerging use of software, digital and computing technologies.4. Evaluate the suitability of a range of research and data analysis methods in relation to specific project objectives.5. Apply academic, technical and professional writing skills to the development of a proposal and associated project plan for projects appropriate to the programme of study.6. Identify and discuss professional responsibilities related to projects such as social and ethical considerations and the management of risk.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The University 'Strategy for Learning' documentation has informed the learning and teaching strategy for this module. The course material will be introduced through lectures, whilst seminar and tutorial exercises, based on the lecture material, will support student learning. Seminars and tutorials will be contextualised to meet the needs of different programmes and will involve group interaction at times. As the module progresses either: project titles will be distributed to students and students indicate their choice; or students suggest their own topic and will be directed by their module coordinator to an appropriate member of staff to discuss the feasibility of the proposed project. Students will then develop a project proposal based on the agreed topic. Full use will be made of GCU Learn to provide lecture-based and related study materials, along with sample solutions of tutorial and laboratory exercises, thus encouraging the development of independent learning and allowing self-reflective feedback on student performance. Staff-based feedback on student performance for submitted work will be provided in line with the University feedback policy, with summative feedback and grades on the coursework assessment. The additional interactive discussion features of GCU Learn will be utilised, as appropriate to the module, to stimulate independent and flexible student learning outwith scheduled class time.

Indicative Reading

-Adams, A., McCrindle, R., 2008. Pandora's Box: Social and Professional Issues of the Information Age, John Wiley & Sons. -Baase, S., 2012. A Gift of Fire: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computers and the Internet (International Edition), Pearson. -Bell, M.A., Ezell, B., Van Roekel, J. L., 2008. Cybersins and Digital Good Deeds: A Book About Technology and Ethics, CRC Press. -Cornford, T., Smithson S., 2005. Project Research in Information Systems: A Student Guide, (2nd Edition), Palgrave Macmillan. -Creswell, J. W., 2013. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Method Approaches, (4th Ed), Sage Publishing. -Dawson, C. W., 2015. Projects in Computing and Information System: A Student's Guide, (3rd Edition), Pearson. -Kizza, J. M., Kizza, F. M., 2008. Securing the Information Infrastructure, CyberTech Publishing -Kumar, R., 2014. Research Methodology: A Step by Step Guide for Beginners, (4th Edition), Sage Publishing. -Lazar, J., et al., 2009. Research Methods in Human Computer Interaction, John Wiley & Sons. -Leech, N., Barret, K., & Morgan, G., 2012. IBM SPSS for Intermediate Statistics: Use and Interpretation, (4th Edition), Routledge. -Miles, M., Huberman, M. & Saldana, J., 2013. Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook, (3rd Edition), Sage. -Noble, I., Bestley, R., 2007. Visual Research: An Introduction to Research Methodologies in Graphic Design, AVA Publishing. -Oates, B. J., 2006. Researching Information Systems and Computing, Sage Publishing. -Sharp, J. A., Peters, J. & Howard, K., (2002), The Management of a Student Research Project, (3rd Edition), Gower Publishing. -Sloan, R., Warner, R., 2013. Unauthorized Access: The Crisis in Online Privacy and Security, CRC Press -Tavani, H. T., 2013. Ethics and Technology: Controversies, Questions, and Strategies for Ethical Computing, (4th Edition), John Wiley & Sons. -Zobel, J., 2015. Writing for Computer Science, (3rd Edition), Springer.

Transferrable Skills

Specialist knowledge and application Critical analysis Communication skills, written, oral and listening Effective information retrieval and research skills Self confidence, self discipline & self reliance (independent working) Reliability, integrity, honesty and ethical awareness Ability to prioritise tasks and time management Presentation skills Commercial awareness

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 134.00
Tutorials (FT) 24.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00
Practicals (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 18.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 n/a 70.00 35% A detailed project proposal including an introduction outlining the research question/problem. A background section detailing a literature appraisal. Methods section outlining proposed approach with justification.Discussion of ethical issues, resource issues, and risk.(3000 words)
Coursework 1 n/a 30.00 35% A presentation outlining an initial review of professional issues appropriate to the area of study. (1000 words)