KF7028 Research Methods and Project Management

Northumbria University

Module Guide: KF7028 Research Methods and Project Management

What will I learn on this module?In this module you will learn about research and the processes involved in carrying out research and project management, and you will apply them to develop a master’s project proposal. This will include research approaches and methods of research, including literature searching, evaluation and review and project management tools and techniques. You will also consider relevant legal, ethical, social and security issues and good professional practice.

By the end of this module you will have constructed a project proposal which can be executed in a MSc academic project. This will contain a brief literature review justifying a research question, establish aims and objectives, and provide a plan of execution, using tools and techniques in project management, including an outline of deliverables (both artefacts and products).

How will I learn on this module?The module has been split into a number of sections. Within each section, you are expected to engage in the online learning material and activities for that section and use your action learning sets (see later). The online material and associated activities cover the relevant research tools, techniques and approaches and project management theory and practice to support your construction of your project proposal and to plan, control and monitor a project, as well as how to work in action learning sets and how to reflect on the use of peer support and tutor feedback.

How will I be supported academically on this module? You are supported by tutors who will provide support and feedback virtually on your work. During the module, you learn in groups called action learning sets to aid your development and to help solve problems. You are guided in the action learning sets by your tutors, but primarily these sets are driven by your student group. Your individual project proposal is supported on a 1:1 basis by an allocated tutor based on your area of interest.

This module sets the foundations for your final MSc project and hence the workload is appropriate and continuous throughout. As with all 20 credit taught modules on your MSc programme, you are expected to spend an average total of 200 hours on the module equating to around 10-12 hours a week over the semester, including contact time with your tutor and preparation of your assignment work.

How will I be assessed? There are two methods of assessing you on this module, one is formative and the other summative. Formative is a supportive mechanism where you receive feedback but no mark. Summative is where you receive feedback and a mark that contributes to the overall mark for the module. Please see the module schedule for further information on the assessment points and dates for this module.

Formative assessment (F)You will work in the group action learning sets and on your own to work through the content and activities for the module and develop individual draft work for your project proposal; these will provide opportunities for formative assessment to help you and your tutors assess your progress. You will receive verbal/written feedback on your formative work from your tutors. You will also receive written feedback from your learning set group.

Summative assessment (S) There are two summative assessments for the module. For the first assignment (worth 80% of the marks for the module) you will produce a project proposal which will enable you to justify, plan, monitor, control and execute a project at MSc level. The proposal will need to be fully justified, constructing a rationale within the computing body of knowledge for the project. It will consider aims and objectives, any risks, ethical, social, security and legal issues with the project, required resources, an analysis of time and skills required and relevant professional, ethical, social, security and legal issues.

You are expected to use relevant research and project management tools and techniques to support the project proposal and to aid the execution of your plans. The project proposal assignment assesses Module Learning Outcomes (MLOs) 1, 2, 3 and 4.

For the second assignment (worth 20% of the marks for the module) you will write a professional reflection critically analysing how you have developed the project proposal. This reflection assesses MLOs 1 and 5.

You will receive written feedback on both of your summative assignments.

Module Learning Outcomes: What will I be expected to achieve? By the end of the module you are expected to achieve the following outcomes:

Knowledge & Understanding:

MLO 1. Deploy comprehensive knowledge and understanding of appropriate techniques and tools to plan, research and manage a computing technical project

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

MLO 2. Systematically identify and analyse a complex computing problem and produce a project proposal to solve it, considering professional, ethical, social and legal issues

MLO 3. Appreciate and apply appropriate techniques, tools and knowledge to support effective project management, research and advanced scholarship

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

MLO 4. Demonstrate independent research and enquiry skills at an appropriately advanced level in the construction of a computing project proposal

MLO 5. Critically appraise the processes used in the development of a computing project proposal

What will I be expected to read on this module?All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk

Operation of the Module and Active Learning SetsAt the start of the module, you will also be put into a group known as an Action Learning Set (ALS). These groups will work together to support, research, advise and feedback to one another through the duration of the module and may continue in the individual project module in the next semester.

Each ALS will be expected to meet with each other virtually to work on the tasks for each section of the module. You are also expected to work independently too. This work develops your understanding and expertise and supports your ability to complete the summative assignments for this module. All outcomes from activities on your ALS and independent study should be produced in written format and submitted to the Blackboard eLearning site, to your group area or the general area.

Schedule of Activities

This schedule is provided for the module and identifies a specific week for each section of the module. You should try and keep to this schedule. There are some key dates that are not negotiable such as the submission of your assignments.

Week 1 – 27 January 2020
LectureWorkshop and additional meeting for Action Learning Set Activities (ALS) and DeliverablesIndependent study – this is for individuals to work throughWorkshop Submission requirements


Introduction to the Module – Module Guide see Module Home on Blackboard Setting of the first formative assessment


Agree an understanding of what are the benefits of working as individuals within an action learning set. You will be allocated a group, within our workshop.
Setting up Action Learning Set group:
Produce a Code of Conduct Produce a Communication strategy Produce a Learning set skills audit Share group work advice sheets from the Library‘s “Develop your learning skills” site.
Carry out the first formative assessment, sent to all students, also on Blackboard
Link to Develop your learning skills: – https://library.northumbria.ac.uk/develop-learning-skills/learning-skills
Example papers used in Lecture: –
Ahmadi, M., Chizari, M., Eslami, M., Golkar, M. J., Vli, M (2015) ‘Access Control and User Authentication concerns in Cloud Computing Environments ‘, 2015 1st International Conference on Telematics and Future Generation Networks (TAFGEN), (), pp. [Online]. Available at: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=7289572 (Accessed: 21.01.20).

“Speech Enhancement Based on Teacher–Student Deep Learning Using Improved Speech Presence Probability for Noise-Robust Speech Recognition.” IEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing. 27.12 (2019): 2080-091. Web.
Each group will present a one-minute presentation with one slide, PowerPoint presentation at the end of the workshop from each ALS. Content to be highlights from workshop activities, such as, commentary of findings from your discussions, on code of conduct, communication strategy.
Consider things done well and areas for improvement, either for productivity or for group cohesion
Week 2 – 03 February 2020
LectureWorkshop and additional meeting for Action Learning Set Activities (ALS) and DeliverablesIndependent study – this is for individuals to work throughWorkshop Submission requirements
Research project overview – KF7029
Mind mapping
Carrying out a literature review
Developing a project idea
Project Management Body of Knowledge, Project (SMART),
Research Question



Active reading – Explore the papers collected by your group, agree an ideal paper.
List the possible project derived from the papers.
From each idea derive a research question.
If you missed week 1, Read one of the papers listed in week ones schedule, discuss and list possible MSc Project Ideas/research questions.
Within your group discuss possible sources of literature to investigate – key words etc.
Conduct and structure an outline (titles, sub-titles, and brief precis of the content of each section) of a Literature Review for at least one project idea in your area of interest. Bring this to the week 3 workshop. This need not be your final idea for your project.Submit a one-minute presentation slide for each ALS group, which outlines your approach taken to the generation of project ideas, outlining which were successful and which did not produce outcomes.
In particular outline the research questions you have generated – linking them with each idea.
Week 3 – 10 February 2020
LectureWorkshop and additional meeting for Action Learning Set Activities (ALS) and DeliverablesIndependent study – this is for individuals to work throughWorkshop Submission requirements
Research project marking scheme/requirement – KF7029

Carrying out a literature review
Setting out the scope Objectives Task list, Gantt Charts monitoring tools,


Using mind mapping (Visio) construct a map (body of knowledge) of all the areas of computing that are included in the following paper:
Castiglione, Aniello, Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo, Michele Nappi, and Fabio Narducci. “Biometrics in the Cloud: Challenges and Research Opportunities.” IEEE Cloud Computing 4.4 (2017): 12-17. Web.
Review your code of conduct, have you use it, if not was it not useful or usable, save the versions and update to increase the usefulness and usability of the document
Conduct and structure an outline (titles and sub-titles) of a proposal Literature Review for your project idea in your area of interest. Bring this to the week 4 workshop.
Skills plus help: – https://cragside.northumbria.ac.uk/Everyone/skillsplus/database_uploads/55388156.pdf
Remember your literature review for the proposal is more about justifying the idea as a viable project and ensuring that you understand what has been done in this area of research.

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