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Unit of study_

INFO4990: Computer Science Research Methods

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Remote

This unit will provide an overview of the different research methods that are used in Computer Science. Students will learn to find and evaluate research on their topic and to present their own research plan or results for evaluation by others, write a literature review, learn about research quality metrics and ethics. This unit of study is required for students in Computer Science who are enrolled in a research project as part of their Honours degree, and for students starting their research degree (PhD, MPhil) in the School of Computer Science.

Unit details and rules

Unit code INFO4990
Academic unit Computer Science
Credit points 6
INFO4444 or INFO5993
Students must satisfy Honours admission requirements
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Wei Li,
Lecturer(s) Wei Li,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Small continuous assessment Peer reviews
3 individual peer reviews of other students' presentations
15% Multiple weeks 3 individual peer reviews of other stude
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO10 LO9
Assignment Annotated bibliography and database search result, Identifying top research community/venues, identifying valid Research Problems
by week 5 through Canvas/Turnitin and to supervisor
15% Week 05 up to 20 pages, in PDF format
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4
Presentation Presentation of research
Oral presentation of research project
35% Week 10 will advise in w3, often during w10-13
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO11 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Prepare a complete 10-20 pages literature review report, and Outlining a research proposal
2 reports up to 25pp of critical review of past lit. rev & research outline
35% Week 10
Due date: 16 Oct 2022 at 23:59
2 reports up to 25pp of critical review
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO11

Assessment summary

Assignment 1 [15%] - Setting Research Context: List of top conferences and journals, main research groups, two exemplary papers, two or three open research problems in the field, annotated bibliography of core relevant articles.

Assignment 2 [35%]: Literature review (up to 20 pages) and outline of resaerch proposal (around 3 pages)

Assignment 3 [50%]: Oral presentation of research project (35%) and critical peer review of others' presentations (15%):

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Assignments: Penalty is 5% of the maximum allowable marks per day, maximum 7 days. Presentation and peer reviews: There will be no re-scheduling of presentations and feedback, unless special consideration is approved. Students must abide to the day and time indicated on the presentation schedule or will receive 0.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Information Searching & Library (online) Independent study (2 hr) LO4
Week 02 Introduction to CS Research Methods course; Build an annotated bibliography Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 03 Research quality metrics , Research ethics & IP considerations Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 04 How to Write a Literature Review Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO8 LO11
Week 05 CS research methods part I Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Week 06 CS research methods part 2 Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Week 07 CS Research Methods part 3 Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO9 LO11
Week 08 Write a Research Proposal; Present your research; Industry Research Engagement Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO6 LO8 LO9 LO11
Week 09 Peer Review Workshop on Literature Review assignment drafts Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO11
Week 10 The Peer Review Process; Student presentations and peer feedback part 1 Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9 LO11
Week 11 Student presentations and peer feedback part 2 Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11
Week 12 Student presentations and peer feedback part 3 Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11
Week 13 Student presentations and peer feedback part 4 Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11

Attendance and class requirements

Students are expected to attend all classes from week 1 to week 13.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

These will be posted in Canvas as the semester progresses.

RG 17/08 assessment category change owing to simp. ext.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate knowledge of major approaches used in CS research and ability to apply one or more to own project
  • LO2. plan a program of research in Computer Science
  • LO3. perform a critical evaluation of research work
  • LO4. retrieve academic literature on a specific topic and identify top journals, conferences, research groups on this topic
  • LO5. produce a literature survey for a field of CS research
  • LO6. write and present a research proposal
  • LO7. understand ethical practices and copyrights
  • LO8. read research literature and understand how the described work fits into one or more research approaches
  • LO9. understand the nature of IT research and how research is evaluated
  • LO10. Understand scientific peer reviewing and how to give constructive feedback
  • LO11. Communicate research ideas and proposal in a clear, effective way in oral and written form

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was offered in S1, as students' feedback was positive.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.