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CMPDLLM002 Research Methods. Lecture 1: The Nature of Research. Scope. Introduction Module aims and objectives Module structure Nature of research Definitions Research as a process Defining the research problem, Research protocol design, Undertake research,

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Cmpdllm002 research methods

CMPDLLM002Research Methods

Lecture 1:The Nature of Research


  • Introduction

    • Module aims and objectives

    • Module structure

  • Nature of research

    • Definitions

    • Research as a process

      • Defining the research problem,

      • Research protocol design,

      • Undertake research,

      • Documentation and dissemination

General information

Each session will be organised as:

Lecture period with appropriate lecture notes including:

Relevant additional reading material, and references

Tutorial Work

Including open consultation on any of the assignments, etc.

Course Requirements:

One written Assignment including;

Part I: Critical Essay on a research topic (1500-2000 words) [33.33%]

Part II: Written Research Proposal (3500-5000 words) [66.67%]

Important Dates:

Assignment Part I

Handing out in Week 3 (TBA) Handing in Week 7 (TBA)

Assignment Part II

Handing out in Week 8 (TBA) Handing in Week 14 (TBA)

General Information

Some useful references 1

The Essence of Computing Projects: A Students Guide, Christian W Dawson, Pearson Education, 2000.

A Guide to Scientific Writing, David Lindsay, Longman Cheshire, 1994.

The Management of a Student Research Project, Sharp & Howard, Gower 1996, Fogler & LeBlanc Prentice Hall, 1995 Barry P. Bright, 1991, University of Hull.

Some Useful References #1

Some useful references 2

Strategies for Creative Problem Solving Christian W Dawson,

Introduction to Research Methods in Postgraduate Theses and Dissertations,

Information Systems Research Issues, Methods and Practical Guidelines Robert Galliers (Ed), 1992, Alfred Waller Ltd.

Some Useful References #2

In this session
In Christian W Dawson, This Session …

  • Introduction

    • Nature of research

      • Definitions

      • Research as a process

        • Defining the research problem, Research protocol design,

        • Undertake research, and document

    • Classifying Research

      • The field of research,

      • The purpose of research

        • To review existing knowledge, to describe some situation or problems, the construction of something novel, explanation.

      • The approach to research,

        • Theoretical, Laboratory experiment, field experiment, case-study and survey.

      • The nature of research

        • Pure basic research, Testing of existing theory,

        • description of the state-of-the-art, specific problem solution.

Definitions 1
Definitions #1 Christian W Dawson,

  • Research is defined in []

    • “Research is often described as an active, diligent, and systematic process of inquiry aimed at discovering, interpreting, and revisingfacts. This intellectualinvestigation produces a greater knowledge of events, behaviors, theories, and laws and makes practical applications possible. The term research is also used to describe a entire collection of information about a particular subject, and is usually associated with the output of science and the scientific method.”

Definitions 2
Definitions #2 Christian W Dawson,

  • Research is:

    • A process through which we question our knowledge, change and improve our understanding,

      • Set in some context,

      • Often multi-disciplinary

      • Central to the way we deal with the world.

  • Because research is so important it is essential that the researcher be fully acquainted with the methods by which research is made possible.

    • Research requires:

      • an open enquiring mind

      • a creative orientation

      • a critical, analytical approach

      • logical reasoning

      • accuracy and care

      • dedication and honesty

The nature of research
The Nature of Research Christian W Dawson,

  • Research as a process

    • Defining the research problem,

    • Research protocol design,

    • Undertake research,

    • Documentation and dissemination

  • Guiding Questions for defining the research problem

    • What is the particular problem?

      • What are the symptoms?

      • Where do the industrial partners feel a pain?

      • What is it that they cannot do, or cannot do well enough, which they will, hopefully, be able to do, or do better, as a consequence of your proposed research?

Guiding questions defining the research problem 1
Guiding questions: Defining the research problem Christian W Dawson, #1

  • What is the generalisation of that particular problem?

    • Why are they suffering in this way? Why can't they get round their problem without your research? There may be a chain of 'becauses' until you get to a 'root cause'.

  • What is the line of attack?

    • What theories will you bring to bear? What is your ‘big idea’ as to how that underlying cause might be attacked.

    • What is your ‘angle’.

  • What is the plan?

    • How and where and when will your industrial partners contribute?

    • How will they be preparing to take the results forward after the end of the project?

Guiding questions defining the research problem 2
Guiding questions: Christian W Dawson, Defining the research problem #2

  • How will you change the world?

    • If your ideas prove right, how will the results be exploited so as to make a significant impact on industrial practice?

    • If exploitation requires a change in business processes,

    • how will migration to the new way of working be achieved?

Research model

Scope Christian W Dawson,




Real World





Research Model

Types of research methods

Type of Research  Christian W Dawson,

Qualitative Research

Survey Research

Action Research

Case Study Research

Quantitative Research


Measurement & Data Collection

Experimental Research

Types of Research Methods

Categories of cs research
Categories of CS Research Christian W Dawson,

  • Research in CS including IS and AI can be grouped as follows:

    • The study of what is possible

      • Including both mathematical and less rigorous forms of theorising.

    • The study of existing (naturally occurring)

      • Including information processing systems E.g. animals, societies, brains, minds, ....

    • Research involving creation of new

      • useful information processing systems, and research directly related to engineering applications.

    • The creation and evaluation of tools,

      • Including formalisms and techniques to support all these activities.

Research process
Research Process Christian W Dawson,

  • Research Process:

    • Selection of a Research Topic

      • Interest and Significance

      • Originality and Feasibility

    • The Literature Survey

      • Identifying a Topic, state-of-the-art and/or practice

        • Literature Review

    • Project Design

      • Choose research method, define detailed Research Plan

    • Planning and Management

      • Implement Research Design,

      • Undertaking the work

        • Data Collection & Analysis

    • Evaluating the results

      • Draw Conclusions

    • Writing Up the Research and reporting

    • Disseminating the results/findings

Student project work structure

Doing an MSc. Project Christian W Dawson,




Select a


Make a


Write up

Gather &

analyse data











Work Struct.

Student Project Work Structure

Source Ref: to be added

Next session
Next Session … Christian W Dawson,

Qualitative Research:

Lecture 2

Tutorial topic

Tutorial 1: Christian W Dawson,

Scientific Reasoning

Required Work:

Read the handout several times and write a one page summary picking out the points that seem important to you for a discussion next week.

Tutorial Topic