General information

The course Onderzoeksmethoden is given as part of the bachelor Computer Science (direction Game Technology) at Utrecht University. The course takes place in the third period on Tuesday and Thursday; see the scheme below for an overview. Presense is mandatory because there is no exam. The course starts at Tuesday, 7 February.

All teaching material will be in English, as well as the requested report and presentation. The lectures might be in Dutch but on request will also be in English.

The course has the following learning goals:

  • set up a research project;
  • conduct a literature survey;
  • perform a research project in a scientific manner;
  • write a scientific report;
  • give a scientific presentation.

Lecture material

The material used during the lectures can be downloaded here.

In the schema below, you can also find the presentation on Giving presentation and corresponding score sheet.

Course overview

The main line of this course is to address these learning goals by letting you carry out your research project. In this edition of the course, the central topic will be various aspects of Elo ratings.

In more detail, what is expected from the students, working in groups of max. 3:

  • identify a research topic
  • write a program
  • generate the required data
  • report the findings in a report and in a presentation.

The report is expected to written in English, in the style of either a “Science report” or a “Nature letter”, with a SOM (Supplementary Online Material) discussing the statistics (determination of error bars, etc.)


This is our preliminary scheme. In week 14 and 15, the group is split in two. Group 1 is assigned to BBG 071 and 075, and group 2 is assigned to BBG 401 and 077.

Week Date Time Room Topic Speaker Deadline
6 7-2 15.15-17.00 RUPPERT-PAARS Introduction Gerard Barkema  
  9-2 9.00-10.45 KBG-COSMOS Elo rating Gerard Barkema  
7 14-2 15.15-17.00 KBG-ATLAS Example projects Gerard Barkema  
  16-2 9.00-10.45 EDUC-MEGARON Research methodologies in Information Sciences Marcela Ruiz  
8 21-2 15.15-17.00 KBG-ATLAS Some applications of Elo ratings Matthieu Brinkhuis Preliminary research topic
  23-2 9.00-10.45 KGB-COSMOS Feedback preliminary research topics Gerard Barkema  
9 28-2 15.15-17.00 KBG-ATLAS Scientific writing Gerard Barkema  
  2-3 9.00-10.45 KBG-COSMOS Statistics Gerard Barkema  
10       no meeting    
  12-3     no meeting   Status report
11 14-3 15.15-17.00 RUPPERT-PAARS Questions Gerard Barkema  
  16-3 9.00-10.45 KBG-COSMOS Giving presentations, Experimental research, Score sheet Roland Geraerts  
12 21-3     no meeting    
  23-3     no meeting    
13 28-3     no meeting    
  30-3     no meeting   Written report
14 4-4 15.15-17.00 BBG 071/401 Presentations research assignments    
  6-4 11.00-12.45 BBG 075/077 Presentations research assignments    
15 11-4 15.15-17.00 BBG 071/401 Presentations research assignments    
  13-4 11.00-12.45 BBG 075/077 Presentations research assignments    

Course Schedule


You have to work in pairs. You need to give a 15-minute performance about your research assignment, which will be assessed by using the following score sheet. The performance comprises 1 minute to setup the presentation, a 10-minute presentation, and 4 minutes of feedback and Q&A.

The presentation timeline sheet. Please voice any presentation time complaints to Amir Vaxman (a.vaxman at


The final grade is based on the report (70%) and the presentation (30%).

Grading of the report:

  • standard grade is 7.0;
  • If the topic is unique (i.e. does not fully overlap with the topic of another group of students), the grade is changed by +1.0;
  • If some aspects are especially good, the grade is changed by +0.5 or +1.0;
  • If some aspects are below standard, the grade is changed by -0.5 or -1.0.

Particular attention is paid to:

  • Is the statistics (presented in the SOM) solid?
  • Are there proper references to existing literature?
  • Is the report following the style guide of the journal (Science or Nature)?
  • Is the research describes in sufficient detail to allow for reproducibility?

Lecturers and contact

The main lecturer is prof.dr. Gerard Barkema. The other lectures are dr. Amir Vaxman and Roland Geraerts. The latter two are responsble for presentation part of the course.

E-mails should be sent to the following address: