Centre for Software Engineering (CENSE)

short course: research in informatics in practice (75558)

Purpose
This course is intended for Informatics students and practitioners wishing to embark on research in a specific topic, typically at postgraduate level. It will be useful for students interested in understanding the methodological and conceptual issues involved in conducting Informatics research.

Target group
Professionals in the Informatics and Computer Science area who are not familiar with research and reporting processes and individuals with an undergraduate background in the field, as well as those moving into postgraduate and normal research areas.

Admission requirements
An appropriate B Degree or equivalent qualification.

Duration
Semester course

Language medium
English

Registration periods
See http://cs-cert.unisa.ac.za/register.html

Tuition method
The ODL model of Unisa is applicable. The following will be used:

Prescribed material: Course material consists of a study guide, available in English only.
Tutorial letters: Students will be provided with tutorial material necessary for the understanding of the course contents as well as the completion of required assignments.
Telephone and e-mail support: This will be the preferred means of communication.
The Internet: It will be used as an additional communication medium between the lecturers (for feedback on assignments) and the students (assignment submission). Forum and myUnisa support will be used.

Kind of assessment
Formative assessment: Continuous assessment by means of assignments. Students will be required to complete assignments such as a Problem Statement, that will form an integral part of a portfolio that will be examined.
Summative assessment: A final Research Proposal that could be further developed, aimed at a research publication.

Research in Informatics in Practice (CSRI1DM)
HEQF level of module - 7
Credits of module - 24

Syllabus/Course content
The following are covered:

  • Problem conceptualisation and specification - Introduction; Preparing for the Project experience; Ethics; Research Fraud; Research Processes (Qualitative or Quantitative approach);How projects benefit all; Evaluation of Problems ; Ensuring that the problem has the potential to be solved.
  • Tools for Evaluating the Research - Estimation sheet project ;Tools of research; The problem statement; Flow charting the problem statement; Discussion of research project details; Project Ideas.
  • Research purposes, objectives and questions -Writing detailed research purposes and objectives; Analyse and evaluate library websites; Writing detailed research questions/hypotheses; Writing definitions; Creating sub-problems; Importance of the study into context; Detailed Limitations of the study; Focus, issues terminology.
  • Data criteria, and research methodology and Data collection methods - Explaining what data is; Types of data; Data criteria; Integrity; Connecting data and variables; Discuss how data can be collected; Survey; Delphi; Focus groups; Laboratory; Field; Observations; Interviews; Construction of the Instrument.
  • Population and Sampling - Criteria for population; Calculation of Sample; Evaluation of sample; Sampling methods; Managing the sample; Motivating the sample; Ensuring that the sample is reliable and will supply responsible results.
  • Review of literature - Keywords – check and confirm; Identify and use tools to be used to search for literature; Ensure reliable information that is used for literature; Identify and apply how to read articles; Apply academic writing; Creation of a Concept matrix; How to conduct a detailed literature review; Ensure that references are in the correct format.
  • Research Questions and Instrument design - Identification of Research Questions and Acid test; Can the problem be broken down into smaller parts? Subsidiary research questions; Discuss the key components of research data to be used; Draft a letter to go with the instrument.
  • Research Methodology - Discuss different ways to present the instrument development; The evaluation of data collection and decided upon; Ensuring that the data collected will help answer the research questions/hypotheses; Measure criteria; Bias; Statistical tests.
  • Support tools and proposal/report - Project management and the application of project management to research; Time management and the possibility of using aged data; Relationship between time management and project management in research; Layout of the proposal; Use of templates to ensure that it is in the required format; Proposal with detailed problem statement. Mini literature review, objectives, research methodology and research questions; Completed article that meets with Accredited Journal requirements
  • Design and Methodology and data discussion - Explain the difference between research methodology and research design; Explain where each one fits in; The role of research design; The challenge of explaining what the difference is between research design and research methodology; Types of research design; Generation of graphs, tables, statistical test.

Course fee
R3800.00 (full amount payable on registration)

Study package
The course fee include all study material. A comprehensive study guide on Research Methodology is included. Additional study material will be provided should the need arise.

Course leader
Prof J A van der Poll
Office 3-31
Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership (GSBL), Midrand
Tel: +27-11-652-0316
E-mail: vdpolja@unisa.ac.za

Programme administrator(s)
 

Ms Pertunia Masalesa
School of Computing
GJ Gerwel Building, Floor 3, Office 05
Tel: 011 670 9139/9189

Fax: 011 670 9174/9274
E-mail: cense@unisa.ac.za