Instructor: Davinia Hernández-Leo

Credits: 5 ECTS

This course covers the major considerations and tasks involved in conducting scientific research, with special emphasis in those aspects related to the context of Information and Communication Technologies.

Students are expected to develop the following skills: formulation of research questions; ability to search and distinguish the types of information sources and their impact; selection of the techniques and methods that can be applied to different types of research work; communication skills in the context of research; understanding the context and role of professional researchers, including the tasks of writing and reviewing papers and projects.


Topics covered

1. Introduction
Course set-up, group gauge and introduction to the concept of "research".
2. Reality and consensus
Science, paradigm, scientific community, scientific revolutions, trends. The nature of "truth", credibility, frauds in research, responsible research and innovation.
3. Information sources
Types of information sources, access to articles, ranking/impact. Managing and citing references.
4. How to formulate research questions
Reasons for doing research. Possible outcomes of research. Finding research topics. Writing a literature review.
5. How to answer research questions
Playing with theory, induction, deduction and abduction. Science and creativity. The scientific, the engineering, the empirical and the analytical methods. Experimental validation methods. Data collection instruments and analysis.
6. Writing and presenting research work
Technical writing. Presentations, posters and exhibitions.
7. The tasks of professional researchers
Submitting and reviewing papers. Academy, research centres, R&D in Industry. Some aspects of intellectual property. Open Science. Social Impact of Science. Meta-Research. 


Teaching methodology & Evaluation

The course is offered in 10 weeks, with 25 hours of lectures. The evaluation of the students is based on the weekly assignments (60%) and final assignment (40%). In-class activities combine lectures that follow a conversation-oriented methodology and presentation and discussion of assignments. 

Weekly assignments go from critical analysis of proposed readings and case studies to search of information sources and study of methods in the diverse research areas aligned students' interests. The final assignment is a Meta-Research paper where the topics covered in the course need to be applied.  



  • OECD (2015) Frascati Manual - Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development,
  • Eco, U. (1982) Cómo se hace una tesis. Editorial Gedisa, Buenos Aires, (in Spanish).
  • O’Leary, D. P. (2009) Graduate study in the Computer and Mathematical Sciences: a survival manual,
  • Bird, A. (2011) Thomas Kuhn, Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,
  • ESF (2011), The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, European Science Foundation and All European Academies, Ireg - Strasborug.
  • COSECUP (2009) On being a scientist: responsible conduct in research, third edition, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, National Academy Press, NW Washington DC.
  • Strand, R. et al, (2015) Indicators for promoting and monitoring Responsible Research and Innovation, Report form the Expert Group on Policy Indicators for Responsible Research and Innovation, Research and Innovation, European Commission.
  • Cornell U. (2019) Library, Critically Analyzing Information Sources: Critical Appraisal
    and Analysis,
  • Kumar, R., (2011) Research Methodology. A step-by-step guide for beginners (3rd Edition), Sage Publications.
  • Alter, S., Dennis, A.R. (2002) Selecting research topics: personal experiences and speculations for the future, Communications of AIS, 8, 314-329.
  • Webster, J., Watson, R.T. (2002) Analyzing the past to prepare for the future: Writing a literature review, MIS Quaterly, 26(2), xiii-xxiii.
  • Zelkowitz M.V., Walace, D.R. (1998) Experimental models for validating technology, IEEE Computer, 23-31.
  • Barrass, R. (1993) Scientist must write: a guide to better writing for scientist, engineers and students, London: Chapman & Hall.
  • Strunk, W. (1979) The Elements of Style, 3r Ed. New York: Macmillan, 1979
  • Zobel, J. (2004) Writing for computer science, 2n Ed. London: Springer.
  • Smith, A.J. (1990) The task of the referee, IEEE Computer, 65-71.
  • Hirsch, J.E. (2005) An index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output, PNAS 102 (46), 16569 –16572.
  • Bartling, S., Friesike. S. (2014), Opening Science, the evolving guide on how the Internet is changing research, collaboration and scholarly publishing, Springer.
  • EU (2016), Open innovation, open science, open to the world - a vision for Europe.