Professional Practice and Research Methodology

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
08 May 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC G40012 Advanced Computer Science,
MSC G40024 Advanced Computer Science,
MSC G41112 Artificial Intelligence,
MSC G51512 Big Data and Text Analytics,
MSC N30312 Computational Finance,
MSC H61212 Computer Engineering,
MSC H60112 Computer Networks and Security,
MSC H61012 Electronic Engineering,
MSC G40912 Internet of Things,
MSC N35012 Algorithmic Trading,
MSC G40812 Intelligent Systems and Robotics,
MSC H64112 Global Communication Systems,
MSC G61012 Computer Games,
MPHDG40048 Computer Science,
PHD G40048 Computer Science,
MSCIG402 Computer Science,
MSCII100 Computer Science (Integrated Masters, Including Placement Year),
MENGH613 Electronic Engineering,
MENGH614 Electronic Engineering (Integrated Masters, Including Placement Year),
MENGH642 Communications Engineering

Module description

This module will prepare students to conduct independent research leading to a dissertation. The module provides them with an appreciation of research and business skills which will be invaluable in their professional careers. Subject areas include literature reviews, report writing, business enterprise, accounting and investment appraisal.

Module aims

This module aims to prepare students for conducting an independent research project leading to a dissertation and to provide them with an appreciation of research and business skills relating to their professional career, including literature searching and evaluation, technical report writing, and an introduction to business enterprise, financial and management accounting and investment appraisal. As a precursor to their project students individually select an area of Computer Science, or Electronic Engineering, or Computational Finance and perform the necessary background research to define a topic and prepare a project proposal under the guidance of a supervisor.

Module learning outcomes

After completing this module, students will be expected to be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of professional, business and ethical issues that affect the work of the computing and electronics professional
2. Conduct an academic literature search, and report conclusions and proposals from this making appropriate use of summarising, paraphrasing, citations and references.
3. Understanding the structure of businesses in the UK and world-wide, ranging from multi-nationals down to SME's (small and medium enterprises), and be aware of how to prepare and submit an effective job application to them.
4. Understand the basics of setting up a new business enterprise or reviewing and existing business by constructing or evaluating a business plan and financial and management accounts.
5. Demonstrate an understanding of how scientific research is conducted, reported, reasoned about, and evaluated, and how it is distinguished from pseudoscience
6. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles and elements of scientific experiments
7. Write a formal project proposal which contains an outline solution to the problem, and which clearly defines the scope of the MSc project, its goals, the methodology to be undertaken, and the criteria of its evaluation

Module information

Outline Syllabus

Project Proposals
. Identifying a research topic
. Finding and reading related work
. Report writing, citations and references
. Using [digital] library services and search tools
. Planning and managing a research project
. Plagiarism

Career planning
. Elements in the job application process
. Business planning, financial and enterprise skills
. Effective time and project management

Businesses and Enterprise
. Types of commercial organisation and their business and financial structures
. Financing companies, business plans and cost headings
. Budgeting, cash flow and investments appraisal
. New Present Value and Discounted Cash Flow calculations
. Business viability evaluation

Research Methodology
. Principles of the scientific method
. Scientific theories: predictive power, falsifiability, empirical validation, and economy of account
. Scientific and controlled experiments: bias, placebos, double-blind methods, variables
. Inductive vs. deductive inference
. Common logical fallacies
. Dissemination and peer review

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures and computer laboratory coursework sessions, with some homework. Academic Writing and Language Supportsmall-group classes tailored specifically to the needs of CSEE postgraduate students are provided in parallel with the formal lectures and coursework, at al levels from minimum IELTS acceptance level (6.5) through to native English speakers.


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non-essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Progress Test 1 - Week 11     10% 
Coursework   Progress Test 2 - week 22    10% 
Coursework   University English Language Test    2.86% 
Coursework   Literature Search Coursework    2.86% 
Coursework   Job Application Exercise    2.86% 
Coursework   Science Fiction Prototype    2.86% 
Coursework   Business Ethics Exercise    11% 
Coursework   Project Proposal     57.14% 
Exam  180 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
70% 30%


Coursework Exam
70% 30%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Michael Gardner, email: mgardner@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Michael Gardner (AU)
School Office, email: csee-schooloffice (non-Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770



External examiner

Dr Robert Mark Stevenson
University of Sheffield
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 227 hours, 140 (61.7%) hours available to students:
87 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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