Computer Laboratory

Research Methods

Principal lecturer: Dr Neil Dodgson
Taken by: MPhil ACS

The course is based on Justin Zobel's book Writing for computer science.


There are ten assessed exercises and each lecture has associated homework reading.


The mini-symposium will take place on 3 and 4 December 2009. The programme is now available. Each MPhil student will give a ten minute talk on a recent research paper, in a manner accessible to anyone with an undergraduate degree in computer science.


Lectures are given by Dr Neil Dodgson, except where noted, and are all held in Lecture Theatre 2 in the William Gates Building.

  1. Fri 9 Oct — reading: introduction and how to read a paper
  2. Mon 12 Oct — reading: how to review a paper, where to publish papers, and the research process
  3. Fri 16 Oct — writing: who are you writing for and writing style
  4. Mon 19 Oct — writing: more on style and editing
  5. Fri 23 Oct — writing: writing the first draft, structuring a paper, and fine details of style
  6. Mon 26 Oct — writing: how to write a good research paperguest lecture by Prof. Simon Peyton Jones
  7. Fri 30 Oct — writing: graphs, figures, tables, maths and algorithms
  8. Mon 2 Nov — Lecture Theatre 1presenting: how to give a presentation
  9. Fri 6 Nov — Lecture Theatre 1presenting: how to prepare a presentation
  10. Mon 9 Nov — experimenting: experiment designby Dr Per Ola Kristensson
  11. Fri 13 Nov — experimenting: statistical analysis Iby Dr Per Ola Kristensson
  12. Mon 16 Nov — experimenting: statistical analysis II — by Dr Per Ola Kristensson

Fri 20, Mon 23, Fri 27, Mon 30 Nov — rehearsals for MPhil students' presentations (Exercise 8, MPhil students must attend two of these: allocation to times and places now available)

Thu 3, Fri 4 Dec — presentation days for MPhil students (Exercise 9, attend both days, a programme will be distributed in class)

rehersal days and presentation days for first year PhD students will be later than those for the MPhil, possibly in the new year; dates will be announced later