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Writing a Project Report Inside information from the examiner Short version - Bachelor 3rd year + Master 4th year - Master’s thesis Part I Stein Bergsmark.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing a Project Report Inside information from the examiner Short version - Bachelor 3rd year + Master 4th year - Master’s thesis Part I Stein Bergsmark."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing a Project Report Inside information from the examiner Short version - Bachelor 3rd year + Master 4th year - Master’s thesis Part I Stein Bergsmark Faculty of Engineering and Science Autumn 2010

2 Writing a Project Report A Six-Step Approach Step 1: The Starting Package Step 2: Report Design Step 3: Vital Practicalities Step 4: The fair Use of Sources Step 5: The Rest Step 6: Getting a good Grade Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'2

3 Response from the audience What is a report? Why are you required to write a report? For whom do you write your report? Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'3

4 What is a project report? Your key to Success is ….. An interesting problem and some more issues … Problems and goals, develop them in steps Design a good title Do some very useful reading - EARLY Step 1: The Starting Package or Most Important First Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'4

5 What is a report? A report in this context is a formal document with a given and ”strictly standardized” format, as shown in the Table of Contents The project report documents the problem and its solution, possibly also the planning and the project process Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'5

6 ….Up front you should have … An interesting problem A dedicated supervisor A realistic solution strategy A good report design A project plan A back-up strategy implemented from day 1 Your key to Success is…. Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'6

7 The problem should be of interest not only to you, but to a larger group or to the research community as well as the examiner The problem should be well defined in a ”Problem definition”, like Motivation (Introduction leading into the problem) Problem, Goal or Question – in steps (Research question) Key assumptions and limitations Prior work in the field Method (Scientific method and/or engineering approach) Solution approach or Implementation Expected results (A litterature review could be included) For typical ”product development projects/engineering projects” you may also include List of Deliverables All of this would be a very good structure for a project prestudy An interesting problem Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'7

8 Problems or Goals Develop the problem in steps: The main problem(s) + Sub problem 1 Sub problem 2 Sub problem N The main goal(s) + Objective 1 Objective 2 Objective N Mål (Hovedmål) + Delmål 1 Delmål 2 Delmål N Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'8

9 Project goal The main goal or goals Objectives, which are smaller partial goals, starting from simple to complex and difficult Objective 1 (easy) Objective 2 (moderate) Objective 3 (harder) If time allows: Objective N (”Big Hairy Goal”) Objective N comes with a ”back-door out”. You can leave this out, and still be regarded by the examiner as having delivered on all (mandatory) objectives The Problem: What steps, why steps? Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'9

10 Design a good title The title should match closely the problem definition contain the most relevant keywords describing your work be interesting and well designed attract readers You can use A title of 4 – 6 words or… A short and spectacular title plus A longer and descriptive subtitle Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'10

11 Sample titles Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'11 Wireless Hotspots Creation, Analysis, Exposure and Defence Solar Hysteria or Future Promise? Concept Study of PV System at Andøyfaret Kristiansand Elkem Solar En reise fra råstoff til solceller Optical Character Recognintion Toolbox for Android

12 ENE304-G Hovedprosjekt energi Final year project Project list of deliverables Prestudy or Feasibility study ENE304 Report (Prototype or model with documentation) Oral presentation and defence Possibly poster Prestudy report minimum requirements Hand-in in February Problem (List of deliverables) Possibly requirements and specifications Solution approach or strategy Project milestone plan with Gantt diagram

13 Your Hard Disk is NEVER part of your backup strategy Use internal AND external backup – your laptop can be stolen An SD memory card can be inserted into the laptop A USB memory stick can be used for external backup – keep separate from laptop Also backup to servers etc Occational prints on paper Never leave your laptop visible in a car Update files (step up version number.minor) at least four times per hour during productive writing phases – or set automatic update Full back-ups at least once per day By the way: Don’t forget to update virus control. (This is mandatory for being allowed to connect to the university network) Backup your work from Day 1 Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'13

14 Do some important reading, on VIKO or elsewhere: VIKO: Your guide to information literacy: APA-style UiA library Technology webpage ke_fag Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'14

15 What have you learned? Feedback from the audience! Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'15

16 Step 2: Report Design What is a report? The role of the report The report template Report structure Early Report Design Apply version control Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'16

17 A report in this context is a ”formal document with a given and strictly standardized format” Format means 1) the layered structure with Level 1: Chapter 1 Introduction, Ch 2 etc. Level 2: Section 1.1, Section 1.2 ect. Level 3: Subsection 1.1.1, Subsection 1.1.2, etc. Format means 2) Standardized: Headers reflecting a scientific method IMRAD (+C) Introduction Method Results And Discussion (Conclusions) some writers use Implications What is a report? Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'17

18 The role of the report The report shall show that you have learned to solve a problem and document the solution The report shall be written for the target group The problem owner The examiner, who evaluates the report and gives you the grade The well educated fellow student The report shall be intuitive and understandable in style and language The report shall have one or more clues (“scarlet threads”) The report shall tell the following story, in a logical and consistent way What is the problem? How do I solve it? What are the results? What are the conclusions and implications? Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'18

19 Report design: A piece of architectural design! Floor planning - consistent in two dimensions Ch 2 Back- ground Ch 3 when needed Ch 4 Solution (Results) Ch 5 Discussion Ch 1 Intro is a funnel Ch 6 Conclusions Problems or research questions For each chapter, you make an early outline of the contents, related to the research question/problem and how the research question is being treated in that chapter The report design is the vision of your goal. Update regularly. Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'19 Story Intro

20 The report template The report template is a basic framework Adapt the template to your project and your own report design Choose and use from the very start text editor style and template You may prepare your own template with MS Word or with LaTeX LaTeX is a document preparation system Pronounciations: /leitek/, /leitex/ or /la:tek/ Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'20

21 General structure: Chapter 1 (level 1) Section 1.1 (level 2) Subsection (level 3) Subsection (level 4 – not recommended) Paragraph Sentence While keeping your goal in sight: Design your ”complete” report structure within 4 weeks into the project Name chapters and sections Outline Results, Discussion and Conclusion Report (layered) structure Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'21

22 TemplateTemplate for project reports. The template is targeted for ”Design” type of projects. Can and should be adapted to other types of projects Abstract Preface List of figures and tables Contents 1Introduction 1.1 Background 1.2 Problem Statement 1.3 Key Assumptions and Limitations 1.4 Literature Review 1.5 Problem Solution 1.6 Report Outline 2Theoretical Background 3Solution 3.1 Requirements3.1 Requirements (User requirements, technical requirements, Functional or Nonfunctional) 3.2 Design Specification 3.3 Implementation 3.4 Validation and Testing 4Discussion 5Conclusion References (Bibliography) Appendices Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'22

23 Good-looking layout for Table of Contents

24 Basic writing style Use a simple and elegant style simple and good-looking page layout (be restrictive with headers and footers) start each chapter with an ingress be restrictive with the use of colours (cost & complexity) Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'24

25 Good-looking chapter layout with ingress

26 Apply version control Version control gives an organized set of all versions of files made over time. Allows you to go back to previous revisions and compare any changes between them Can help several persons across time and place to work together over the Internet by merging their changes into the same source repository Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'26

27 Version control (Part of configuration management): major.minor Many schemes are in use A commonly used scheme is major.minor Typical major versions are 0.1, 0.2, 0.3 up to 1.0, the final version Intermediate versions with “minor changes” could be 0.11, 0.12, , 0.82, , 0.92, 0.93 The Alpha could be your 0.8. Define for yourself what to be included. “Almost Complete”. Should be ready 2 weeks before hand-in. Your Beta could be your 0.9. This is the first “Complete Version”. Just improvements to be added in 0.91, 0.92 etc before you arrive at The Final, which is the 1.0 Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'27

28 What have you learned? Response from the audience Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'28

29 Step 3: Vital Practicalities Your rights Open report or exempted from publication? Working in a group Working with your supervisor Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'29

30 Check rights and agreements with problem owner Look up our webpage for IKT590 – you could use the same rules and agreements in the current course The student has the full rights to the results and the report. See the standard agreement......however, no problem owner submits project problems unless he gets something useful in return Discuss rights and agreement text, possibly the supplementary agreement, which gives exemption from publication … … discuss from the start whether or not the report shall be publicly available If the results and the report are to be commercially exploited, there has to be a special agreement Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'30

31 How to handle confidential information On beforehand, you agree with the problem owner on how to report company internal issues, results and conclusions Some of the confidential issues can be located in appendices which are excepted from publication Or the whole report can be excempted from publication (usually for 5 years). Probably the better way. Exemption from publication shall appear on the report front page Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'31

32 Working in a group Unless otherwise agreed upon, the report is evaluated as a whole, and given one single grade, common to all students Agree upon, and embed in the project plan, a fair and reasonable work sharing You could write a group agreement, sharing work and grade Failure to deliver by one group member should be reported to the professor in charge of the course and may result in an ”F”, for that member. Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'32

33 Working with your supervisor(s) You may have one or two supervisors, one external and one internal Agree on fixed weekly meetings. A meeting can always be called off when needed. Be prepared for the meeting - know your questions. Listen to advice from the supervisor – but if you want to so something differently, this might well be perfectly all right The supervisor will not do part of your work, he/she will give you advice and directions The supervisor will not correct your report in detail or do language washing It is your own work which shall be graded, not the supervisor’s work Progress: After 4 weeks, agree with the supervisor on the report design Give the supervisor the Alpha (0.8) version two weeks before hand-in Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'33

34 What have you learned? Response from the audience Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'34

35 Step 4: The fair use of sources Fair use of sources Avoid plagiarism Plagiarism is unreferenced use of text and ideas from other writers (Copy - paste from the Internet or other sources) Plagiarism is very serious. If discovered, you.. Will not pass the exam – exam annulled Will have to wait one year before new exam May be expelled for one year - not only from our university but from all universities in the Nordic countries Your academic career may be over On a regular basis, we are sampling pieces of text for googling or input into anti-plagiarism software, and have had one solid hit two years ago on our programme Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'35

36 Plagiarism defined You plagiarize when, intentionally or not, you use someone else’s ideas or words figures pictures but fail to credit that person Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'36

37 Citing of sources in written work at Agder University College Find relevant information on Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'37

38 Use other peoples’ work Use relevant text and figures from various sources, but not to an extent that you deliver more from others than from yourself Do not include in your report lengthy, trivial and well-known basic theory. Cite a source, like a textbook or an overview article Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'38

39 What have you learned? Response from the audience Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'39

40 Step 5: The Rest Plan your Work – Work your Plan System Design – The Engineering Paradigm Recommended working habits What if you have questions on writing and referencing? Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'40

41 Plan your Work – Work your Plan (Thomas B. Watson ) Make a basic milestone plan Add some timing margin (slack), as all project – with elements of groundbreaking and originality – will have some delay In this plan, start writing early the report design with the main outline (bullets) shall be ready by week 4 you write (about) two chapters each month you define the final date (a planning milestone date) for new research, new entries, new tests the supervisor should have the first ”complete” version (Alpha 0.8) two weeks before hand-in the report shall be “finished” (0.95) working days before hand-in Think early of problems that may appear underway, and what you can prepare for minimizing them (delivery dates tend to slip) Everyone is short of time towards the end Work efficiently from day 1 Start the writing early. Have others review your text at regular intervals, not just before hand-in Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'41

42 System design method (or engineering paradigm) For typical engineering problems (Granmo) "The engineering paradigm consists of four steps followed in the construction of a system (or device) to solve a given problem”: (1) state requirements; (2) state specifications; (3) design, document and implement the system; (4) test the system An engineer must expect to iterate these steps (e.g., when tests reveal that the latest version of the system does not satisfactorily meet the requirements).“ You can also include elements of Quality Assurance, like best coding practice code inspection configuration management (full version control of report, specifications, drawings, code etc) Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'42

43 Recommended working habits BACK-UP FROM DAY 1! Group work: Agree on common responsibility and work sharing Start the writing as soon as possible: Many of you shall deliver a report in English (Do you hear me???) Write a dated and paginated lab journal (Hard cover) Make journal notes throughout the work Write down file references, paper references, books etc. Write down everything you think you need remember Paste in printouts with cures and other issues, again with file or other reverences Writ down all research decisions, both project-wise and subject-wise What counted for (a priori), and what counted against? What was the complete reasoning behind the decision? Write down all partial results with discussion (as far as practically possible) Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'43

44 Do you have questions on writing and referencing? Go to VIKO: Your guide to information literacy: Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'44

45 Step 6: Getting a good grade – besides good work Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'45 Good report design Good overall impression Show clearly – again a sales job your work within a larger context the problem complexity the novelty of the solution that your solution works as intended, can you show or prove correctness of your work, that your results are valid? the challenges you have met the volume of your work - indirectly the user benefits

46 What have you learned Response from the audience Denne teksten redigeres i 'Topptekst og Bunntekst'46


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