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This is an archived syllabus from 2019-2020

COMP80122 Scientific Methods II - Fundamental Aspects of Research Methodology syllabus 2019-2020

COMP80122 Scientific Methods II - Fundamental Aspects of Research Methodology

Postgraduate Research
Credits: 5
Enrolled students: 52

Course leader: Carole Goble

Additional staff: view all staff


  • Pre-Requisite (Compulsory): COMP80131
  • Co-Requisite (Compulsory): COMP80142

Additional requirements

  • Co-requisites

    COMP80131 and COMP80142

Assessment methods

  • 100% Coursework
Sem 2 w25-27,31-33 Lecture 2.15 Wed 09:00 - 11:00 -
Sem 2 w25-27,31-33 Lecture 2.19 Mon 10:00 - 12:00 -


This course gives an introduction on how to be an effective PhD student and researcher in computer science, and how to communicate effectively in a presentation. A student attending this course will gain insight into the academic publication and peer reviewing process, and how to structure a presentation and design slides to communicate a research approach and contributions effectively. We will also discuss the relationship with a supervisor and practise presentation techniques, including coping with nerves and communicating clearly.


The unit aims to teach students what techniques PhD students and researchers can use to work, collaborate, and communicate effectively, and to discuss and evaluate which of these are suitable for them.


This course unit is run face-to-face, with active participation of the students. It includes sessions on designing effective slides; students actively participating in the school's research symposium; writing and discussing critiques of symposium presentations; various sessions where relevant subjects related to academic publishing, effective relationship with a supervisor, communication in a presentation, are discussed and practised. A substantial part will consist of students presenting their projects in small groups where slides and presentation style are assessed and discussed.

Seminar topics:
0. Designing Slides
1. Discussion of Research Symposium Presentations
2. More about Designing Slides
3. Giving a Good Presentation: Storyline and Coping with Nerves
4. Academic Life, Publishing, and Peer Review
5. Your supervisor and you
6. End-of-Year Interview and Organisation

This course unit will be run as a seminar, and active attendance is mandatory. All assessment is formative and via coursework; it includes writing critiques of research symposium presentations (40%) and preparing and giving a 15 minute presentation (60%) to a small group of students.

In order to pass the course unit, a student has to successfully complete both assessment tasks. No marks other than a pass is given.

Feedback methods

A major part of the course unit consists of students giving presentations in small groups that we then discuss in detail; in particular, we aim at giving each students individual feedback on how to improve their communication and presentation skills.

Study hours

Employability skills

  • Oral communication
  • Research
  • Written communication

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, a student will be able to:

  • describe the core aspects of a presentation and how they affect the understanding
  • prepare the storyline and slides for a presentation on their research keeping in mind the core aspects
  • give a clear presentation on their research that follows good practice in the core aspects
  • analyse and evaluate a presentation along those core aspects

Reading list

No reading list found for COMP80122.

Additional notes

Course unit materials

Links to course unit teaching materials can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.