UG4/MSc/PhD1: Informatics Research Methodologies


Alan Bundy,, Room 2.15, Informatics Forum, extension 502716

Aims and objectives

The aim of this module is to teach the methodologies of and the skills for conducting research in Informatics.

We will address questions such as:

After taking this module, students should be able to:


The module will cover: the nature of Informatics research; criteria for assessing Informatics research; rival methodologies for Informatics research and how to combine them; the design of experiments and evaluations; software engineering processes appropriate to research; practical advice on conducting research and numerous research skills including: reading, reviewing, presenting, writing, design, etc.

Intellectual skills development

The module will cultivate a large number of research-oriented skills. These skills include: accessing and effective searching of physical and electronic knowledge sources; directed and disciplined reading; the ability to review, summarise and critically compare; evaluating techniques and systems; the design of experiments and the use of statistics both to investigate human and animal cognition and to evaluate artificial systems; clear and succinct, verbal and written presentation; answering questions about a presentation; and knowledge of mechanisms for the design, funding, execution, presentation, assessment and monitoring of research.


The module will consist of the following components:


Assessment will be by the following three practical exercises.

  1. The best two reviews of a selection of four research papers.
  2. A presentation on a topic of your choice.

The following table gives the proportion of the overall mark allocated to each aspect of assessment and the minimum and maximum time that should be spent on them in hours.

Number Exercise Percentage Time
1-42 paper reviews 30%20hrs
5Research Paper/Project Analysis40%30hrs

These times include preparation time, eg reading/skimming papers, preparing slides, etc. The numbers should be used during electronic submission of items 1-6. All coursework submissions are marked out of 100%. A weighted sum of these marks is used to calculate the overall course mark, which is also out of 100%.

The relevant hand-in dates are as follows:

The paper reviews and grant proposal should be submitted electronically using the command, i.e.

   submit msc irm-5  <coursework number> <filename>  

Note that, to simplify the submission process, all students should submit coursework as MSc students. Work will be marked and returned with feedback to students within two weeks of submission.


There are no prerequisites for the module. The module is intended for those UG4 and MSc students intending to do an Informatics-related research degree, and for students in their first year of an Informatics-related research degree.


General textbooks are not suitable for a module of this kind. Background and recommended reading, papers for review and slides will be made available electronically or via the libraries. For their presentation and paper re-write, students will be expected to search for appropriate reading materials in libraries and from electronic sources.

Alan Bundy

Home : Teaching : Courses : Irm 

Informatics Forum, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB, Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 131 651 5661, Fax: +44 131 651 1426, E-mail:
Please contact our webadmin with any comments or corrections. Logging and Cookies
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all material is copyright © The University of Edinburgh