Experiences of introducing research methods to Honours students

V.C. Galpin, S. Hazelhurst, C. Mueller, and I. Sanders

In T. Mc Donald and P.J. Blignaut, (eds), Proceedings of the 29th Conference of the Southern African Computer Lecturers' Association (SACLA '99), Golden Gate, South Africa, 27-29 June 1999. 51-56.


Research skills are important for any academic and can be of great benefit to any professional person. These skills are, however, difficult to teach and to learn. In the Department of Computer Science at the University of the Witwatersrand we have for a number of years included the completion of a research report as part of our Honours programme. This paper is a case study of how we have implemented an introductory research methods Honours course to increase our students' exposure to research and to help them cope better with the research reports. This course provides an effective way of introducing research to a relatively large class of Honours students. It is now being given for the second time. 

Our experience with the course is positive and we believe it has made a major impact on the way research is done by Honours students. Many of the problems we encountered with the Honours research reports prior to the introduction of the research methods course have been alleviated. 

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