COMP SCI 4405 - Research Methods in Software Engineering and Computer Science
North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2016
General Course Information
Course Code COMP SCI 4405 Course Research Methods in Software Engineering and Computer Science Coordinating Unit School of Computer Science Term Semester 1 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact 2 hours per week Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Course Description This course will prepare students for advanced research by examining how to plan, conduct and report on empirical investigations. The course will cover techniques applicable to each of the steps of a research project, including formulating research questions, theory building, data analysis (using both qualitative and quantitative methods), building evidence, assessing validity, and publishing. It will particularly focus on research involving software, developing statistical tools to measure software performance and the ways in which people interact with software tools.
Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Nickolas Falkner
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning Outcomes
- Understand and be able to explain and apply the philosophy of science as it applies to research methods.
- Be able to explain principles of research design.
- Be able to apply principles of research design for a variety of projects.
- Understand and be able to explain research ethics and their implications.
- Understand and be able to apply a range of techniques, including, but not limited to:
- Qualitative methods
- Quantitative methods
- Survey methods
- Case studies
- Understand and be able to explain the important of data replication and the management of bias.
- Be able to design and implement research studies that meet the above requirements.
- Demonstrate the ability to produce written records of research work that are of a submittable standard.
- Demonstrate the ability to critique and review work in order to identify where research methodological principles have been followed well or could be improved, including the written presentation of the review to a professional standard.
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s) Deep discipline knowledge
- informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
- acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
- accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 Critical thinking and problem solving
- steeped in research methods and rigor
- based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
- demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
5,7,9 Teamwork and communication skills
- developed from, with, and via the SGDE
- honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
- encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
2,4,9 Career and leadership readiness
- technology savvy
- professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
- forward thinking and well informed
- tested and validated by work based experiences
3,5,7,9 Intercultural and ethical competency
- adept at operating in other cultures
- comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
- Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
- demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
4 Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
- a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
- open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
- able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
Required ResourcesThe course has no text books but readings will be provided throughout the course and may be accessed through the on-line teaching portal.
Recommended ResourcesThere are no recommended resources.
Online LearningAll materials will be availabe from the School of Computer Science's forums.cs.adelaide.edu.au Learning Management System. Online learning materials are likely to include podcasts, video recordings, electronic documents and on-line quizzes to verify knowledge.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesThis course will require students to carry out pre-reading and, on occasion, prepare presentations prior to attending the face-to-face session time, one two-hour session every week. The face-to-face will consist of mini-lectures, group discussion, collaborative activities, presentation, and peer evaluation. It is essential that students are prepared before attending. While the face-to-face sessions may be recorded, the activities contained may not necessarily be captured by that system.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.Students will be expected to undertake 3-4 hours of reading and preparation each week, with one two-hour face-to-face session every week. Course assessment activities will take approximately 4 hours a week on average.
As there is no examination, assessment activities and load will continue into Week 13 and possibly Week 14.
Learning Activities SummaryThis course will prepare students for advanced research by examining how to plan, conduct and report on empirical investigations. The course will cover techniques applicable to each of the steps of a research project, including formulating research questions, theory building, data analysis (using both qualitative and quantitative methods), building evidence, assessing validity, and publishing. It will particularly focus on research involving software, developing statistical tools to measure software performance and the ways in which people interact with software tools.
Specific Course RequirementsStudents should be the final year of an Honours undergraduate program, enrolled in an Honours or coursework Masters program or have recently started a PhD program. Students should, preferably, be starting their project work and be able to undertake this course in conjunction with the first 6-12 months of their project.
Small Group Discovery ExperienceThe focus of this course is research and students will be undertaking small-group activities as part of the course.
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment SummaryThere is no examination for this course. The assessment consists of written work, presentations, and small research projects.
Assessment DetailThe detailed assessment breakdown is:
- Produce a short research paper. Written paper. 40%
- Critique a research paper. Written submission and presentation. 15%
- Construct and refine an appropriate methodology for a research question. Written submission. 15%
- Mini-research project: demonstrate the ability to produce designs for a range of specific methodologies and carry out the investigation. Written submission and presentation. 20%
- Presentation of a critique in class: 10% (Three opportunities per student, graded by lecturer and combined with peer evaluation. Assigned presentation and critique.)
SubmissionAll work will be submitted through either the School of Computer Science's Web Submission Gateway or the Forums LMS. Each assignment will have clear instructions as to the submission mode and to the model of lateness management that is being employed.
Traditional late penalties may not be used in this class although, if not otherwise stated, this is the model that will be used. Instead, when clearly identified on a submission, late submission may result in the loss of access to certain grading resources. (As always, documented reasons for lateness can be acceptable and we would then provide other opportunities as required.) For example, if work is not submitted in time to be distributed for peer review, the work will not receive a peer review mark. If the work is not delivered in time for detailed marking, then a simpler rubric will be employed that will have fewer opportuities to receive marks, once all other marking of submissions has completed and if time allows. If a student has not prepared for a presentation, then that grading opportunity is lost.
Our goal is to provide the best feedback we can, as soon as possible, to the largest number of students. We wish to provide marks that clearly recognise each student's contribution but must balance this with our duty of care to all students and a principle of fairness.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.
SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.
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