STOR 604: Modern Topics in Statistics and Operational Research

Credits: 20

Tutors: Alex Gibberd, Kevin Glazebrook, Nicos Pavlidis and Adam Sykulski.

Outline: This module covers a range of research topics in statistics and operational research that have high current activity/relevance. Students will learn from workshops and lectures already taking place in the STOR-i programme, with additional teaching delivered through a series of masterclasses (the topics of which will change on a yearly basis). The module involves use of computer packages for statistics and operational research (e.g. R), the use of mathematical document software LaTeX, presentational and interview skills, web page development skills, group-based self-learning, writing skills and team work skills which are all assessed through coursework.

Objectives: The aims of this module are to:

  • Provide students with a range of skills which are necessary for effective research work in Statistics and Operational Research (STOR) including team-working, web presentation of non-technical and technical STOR material, poster production, oral presentation and interview techniques.
  • Develop an awareness of a broader range of topical research areas within STOR, presented through a series of masterclasses delivered by international experts, and to explore a subset of these at a deeper level in preparation for their selection of a thesis area.
  • To develop literature review skills and research skills through undertaking a mini-research projects linked to topics in the masterclasses.

Learning Outcomes: On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • present convincing evidence of understanding and engagement with a range of topical research areas;
  • present effective literature overviews and develop effective research methods in cutting edge research projects and demonstrate their skills in a range of complex problems;
  • have an awareness of a range of topical STOR research areas and demonstrated a deeper level of knowledge in a subset of these;
  • demonstrate appropriate report writing for a website environment;
  • present overviews/results appropriately in talks, interviews, websites and to defend their arguments under cross examination.

Core texts: Given the nature of the module there is no set material from year-to-year so any relevant bibliography will be year specific.

Assessment:Assessment will be through coursework (100%). The coursework consists of a set of exercises with assessed work under each of the following headings:

  • Two group projects developing material from the masterclasses. Material from two of the masterclasses will be further investigated. For one of the masterclasses the discoveries will be presented in a poster format and the group will be interviewed about their poster. For the other masterclass the group will present their findings in a talk and interview.
  • Individual blog, reflecting on learning throughout term 2. Insights should be presented for both technical and non-technical readers.

The work to produce the poster and the presentation will be conducted in small groups, typically 2-4. All the assessment will be conducted by LU staff, with possible guidance/input from the international experts who presented the masterclasses.

The components of the assessment will be weighted as: 30% for the poster and associated interview, 30% for the presentation and associated interview, 40% for the blog.

Contact hours: There are approximately 45 contact hours provided specifically for this module, consisting of the following:


  • 4 masterclasses on hot topics delivered by international statistics and operational research experts (typically external, with guidance of one of the conveners);
  • 10 hours per masterclass, with some masterclasses including workshops and computer labs to supplement learning in lectures.

Topics of masterclasses will change every year.


  • 1 workshop per masterclass led by one of the conveners reviewing material covered and discussing project options based on this;
  • 1 planning meeting to allocate masterclass topics to groups and agree topics to be researched.

Students will get experience of developing literature reviews/research projects via individual and group work which will be assessed via a range of methods (not including a standard report form).

In Addition, private study will make up the majority of the learning hours.
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