Assignment: Group Research and Report


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CS5030 – Software Engineering Principles
Assignment: Group Research and Report

The aims of this assignment are to
• research in depth a specific topic in software engineering that is not fully addressed in
lectures or the reading list provided for the module;
• critically engage with the literature, extracting key points, summarising and drawing
conclusions from them;
• work in a group, managing a division of labour and coordinating contributions; and
• document the outcome of your research in a precise and logical manner as a technical
This assignment involves
• working in a group to research a topic chosen from the list in the next section, and
• writing a technical report to present your findings.
The exact structure of the report will depend on the topic you choose to research. As a
general guideline, the report should contain:
• An introduction outlining the objectives of the research and summarising the structure
of the report;
• Context for the research, describing the general background of the topic and its
• State of the art, outlining the latest trends, practices and relevance to software
• Challenges and open issues related to the topic;
• Possible solutions to challenges and future trends;
• Conclusions; and
• References
You can customise this structure to suit your topic and perspectives.
The shared group report should be no more than 4000 words. This is a compulsory limit. Any
violations will be penalised according to scheme B (under-length not penalised) of the
University Policy on Coursework Penalties. According to this scheme, the penalty is 1 mark
University of St Andrews
School of Computer Science
2021/22 2
for work that is 5% over-length, then a further 1 mark per additional 10% over. You must
clearly state the word count at the end of the report. References are not included in the
word count.
You must also submit a short individual report of at most 500 words outlining your
experience of, and contribution to, the group effort.
The topic for research and report must be one of:
• Reducing the carbon footprint of software engineering
• Using key performance indicators (KPIs) in software engineering
• Role of software in the Covid-19 pandemic response
• Facilitating end-user software development (including Low-code / No-code)
• Outsourcing software development – pros and cons
• Business models in software industry
• Predictions for the future of software industry
The reading list provided for the module will not be sufficient for this research. You must
find appropriate sources of additional information of good academic standing. A better
report would contain students’ own observations and reflection of the material from these
You should draw on formally published material, i.e. either peer-reviewed academic papers
or reports from well-known sources. Informal publications (such as web pages and blog
posts) may be acceptable if they are well written and comply with the standards for
academic writing.
As a starting point for the literature search, you may wish to look at the ACM Digital Library
and IEEE Xplore. You can access their content through institutional login with your
University credentials. Both provide access to a large number of academic papers as well as
an index of the wider computer science literature. In addition, the University library
provides extensive search functions though the SEEKER and SAULCAT services.
Group work
You are required to work as a group to complete this assignment. Details of group allocation
will be available on studres at
by the end of Monday 27 September.
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School of Computer Science
2021/22 3
The work can be divided up among members according to their preferences and strengths
as long as the group agrees on a fair division. The default arrangement is that everyone in
the same group will receive the same mark. However, if there are problems with group
work and some members do not contribute a fair share of work, evidence in the form of
individual reports, and interviews with group members if required, will be used to
determine different marks for individual members.
A single archive containing the shared group report and the individual report must be
submitted by each student electronically via MMS by the deadline. Both reports must be in
pdf format. Report submissions in any other format will be rejected.
Marking will follow the guidelines given in the school student handbook (see link in next
Some specific descriptors for this assignment are given below:
Mark range Descriptor
1 – 6 Minimal attempt at research and a poor report showing lack of
understanding and not reflecting requirements.
7 – 10 Reasonable attempt at a structured report with some evidence of
research, a report covering some required information and some
understanding of software engineering concerns but with substantial
problems relating to scope, relevance or correctness in identifying and
analysing information.
11 – 13 Competent attempt at the report with clear structure and writing
covering most required aspects including own research and analysis and
relevance to software engineering.
14 – 16 Good attempt at the report addressing all required aspects in good
writing style without major problems, including own research, good
understanding of software engineering concerns and showing critical
17 – 20 Well-written report outlining excellent work addressing all required
aspects without any defects, possibly including additional elements
beyond the requirements given in the specification.
University of St Andrews
School of Computer Science
2021/22 4
Policies and Guidelines
See the standard mark descriptors in the School Student Handbook:
Lateness penalty
The standard penalty for late submission applies (Scheme B: 1 mark per 8 hour period,
or part thereof):
Penalty for exceeding word limits
Scheme B (under-length not penalised) of standard University policy applies:
Good academic practice
The University policy on Good Academic Practice applies:

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