Course pages 2015–16
Research Skills Programme
Principal lecturers: Prof Alan Blackwell, Prof Neil Dodgson, (and others)
Taken by: MPhil ACS, Part III
Hours: 12 (Minimum of 12 hours to be logged across three terms)
Prerequisites: Fluency in English (reading and writing)
To provide advice on and training in a variety of practical skills required for research. To provide training in a subset chosen from the diverse set of skills that will be useful in the other research-led modules, in the individual project, and in the student's future career.
All students must take the following core units:
- Online introduction to writing: What is academic English; Achieving Clarity in English; Studying in English
- Introduction to Academic Writing in the UK Rupert Brown
- Practical Writing Exercise (multiple tutors, working with groups of students as determined by individual needs, including a masterclass in science communication by invitation for those already writing at the highest standard).
- How to prepare a research presentation Neil Dodgson
- How to read critically and develop a reading plan Neil Dodgson
Students may choose from the following list those units that are most relevant to their research plans, and supplementary to their previous experience. Each student must participate in at least 8 optional units. Students may attend further sessions, subject to availability of spaces. No credit is given for attendance greater than the minimum requirement.
- Principles of mathematical writing and thinking Glynn Winskel
- Practical skills in mathematical writing Anuj Dawar
- System performance analysis Richard Gibbens
- Practical experiments in system performance Robert Watson
- Brief introduction to Unix-based research tools Richard Mortier
- Prototyping digital systems with FPGAs and ASICs: trade-offs and pitfalls Robert Mullins and Andrew Moore
- Working with sensitive data in the wild Richard Clayton
- How to do research by breaking things Ross Anderson
- How to collaborate with commercial partners Andy Hopper
- Applying philosophical reasoning in Computer Science and AI Stephen Clark
- Public and private options for technology funding Andrea Kells
- How to work with artists and designers Alan Blackwell
- Introduction to university politics Ian Leslie
- Introduction to soldering Brian Jones
- Introduction to 3D rapid prototyping (modelling tools and practical constraints) Brian Jones
- Introduction to design and construction of laser-cut assemblies Brian Jones
- Extending your research reach via open source Anil Madhavapeddy
- Contributing to standards bodies Jon Crowcroft
- Introduction to LLVM compiler infrastructure David Chisnall
- Issues in online research and observation of human participants Cecilia Mascolo
- Intellectual property and commercialisation Malcolm Grimshaw, Cambridge Enterprise
- Introduction to qualitative research methods Alice Hutchings
- (Dependent on available spaces - students should not choose this as one of the minimum requirement) Grey literature and what Google Scholar can't do Niamh Tumelty
Schedule and Registering for units
To register for units on the Research Skills Programme, please click here.
On completion of this module, students should have improved their ability in the practical aspects of research, including specific skills relevant to their individual research plans and career aspirations, as chosen from the selection of optional units.
Course work for the core unit on academic writing will include a submitted written exercise.
Students will also need to submit copies of the slides from their research project presentations (MPhil/Part III students - June; CPGS students - October).
Optional units will not require coursework to be completed or submitted beyond participation in the session itself.
Some options will involve practical work, which will be carried out during the session. This will provide an opportunity for students to practice specific skills, but will not be formally assessed.
An informal assessment exercise will be included as part of the Introduction to Academic Writing unit. The results of this assessment will be used to assign students to the most appropriate following unit. However, this will not be a formal assessed exercise, and will not contribute to the final examination of the MPhil.
Students are required to participate in a minimum of 8 optional units as a course requirement. Because units are chosen according to individual need or interest, students should assess for themselves whether their choices have been appropriate and sufficient to meet their individual needs. Based on this self-assessment, students are encouraged to discuss with their course adviser any further practical research skills that might be needed for completion of their individual project. Module convenors and project supervisors will be able to offer further advice.
Students will be issued with a log book to record units they have attended.
Reading suggestions will be made, if appropriate, by presenters of individual options. Note that all students are expected to complete the online introduction to academic writing.