This module is only offered as part of the Systems Engineering MSc.

Professional practice, in any field, is based on the application of knowledge about things, materials, phenomena and methods. The advancement of professional practice requires methods to develop assured knowledge of any, or combinations of, the things, materials, phenomena and methods which are the subject matter of the profession. 

In addition, the practice of many professions is a creative process of discovering the most appropriate solution to a task and therefore competence in research methods is required to either perform the advanced practice of the profession or to make discoveries that improve the profession. This module approaches the matter of research methods from this position of research being conducted in both the improvement and the practice of the profession. Therefore the approach used in the module focuses on identifying the objective of the project and development of a method of investigation and a method of assuring the results which could take any of a wide span of methods. 

Effective research, which fulfils the purpose for which it is done, requires clear statement of what is investigated which in turn leads to clarity of method, and the use of a method which can achieve the intended purpose.



What you will learn

    Unit 1: System design

    •       Logical architecture,
    •       Physical architecture,
    •       Design devolution and specification of sub-systems,
    •       Choice to use bespoke development, COTS products, or re-use of existing systems/components.

    Unit 2: Integration, verification and validation

    •       Overview of system integration,
    •       Three approaches to integration: bottom up, top down, middle out,
    •       Overview of verification,
    •       Overview of validation,
    •       Challenges and strategies for effective and efficient verification and validation.

    Unit 3: Through life project delivery and system use

    •       Planning systems for through life support: consumables,
    •       System use: design for system readiness, effect of operational demand,
    •       Impact of change in environment and/or use patterns,
    •       Systems engineering aspects of logistics,
    •       Obsolescence and responses to the challenge.
    •       Overview of system retirement.

    Unit 4: Other considerations: acceptance, training, impact of organisational role allocations

    •       Overview of system acceptance process,
    •       Systems engineering aspects of training needs analysis and training system development,
    •       Examples of the impact on design of system boundary issues in the architecture of the system and the measures of performance applied to organisations interacting with the system.

Core content

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Transform a description of an area of interest into a precisely worded research question, the answering of which will provide knowledge which is useful for the purpose for which the research project is to be conducted.
  • Search the literature and recognise existing research relevant to a research question at hand and to prioritise a reading list if too much material is found.
  • Use existing research literature to propose an opposite method to address a research question.
  • Justify a proposed method to address a research project as a suitable method to generate knowledge of the kind that will achieve a result that will satisfy the motivating purpose of a research project.


  • Dr Steve Barker

  • Location and travel

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