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Notes for the DT249 Final Year Project

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1 Notes for the DT249 Final Year Project

2 DT249 Project2 Project topics Choose a topic you like. Choose a topic that suits your ambition, knowledge and skill set. Talk to lecturers. Look at samples in Webcourses.

3 DT249 Project3 Getting Started The project is a subject with an examination! Look for marks. Get started straight away –Decide on your topic; hound your supervisor for advice and guidance. –Identify the necessary software/data as soon as possible. –Get the software running as soon as possible. –Make progress in 1 st half of the 1 st semester. –Meet with your supervisor once every week, even if you feel that no great progress is being made. –Use the module: Information Systems Research Practice –Software and application.

4 DT249 Project4 Getting Finished

5 DT249 Project5 Getting Finished

6 DT249 Project6 Delivery of Honours Project? To graduate with an honours you are required to pass a project module. Honours degree topics should be technical in nature i.e. produce a running program. The project should involve the analysis, design and implementation of a working system. The honours project also requires an element of reflection e.g. a comparison with other work in the area, choice to tools, a metric. Honours students tend to choose more complex topics.

7 Risks Project risk Employer risk Personal and college risk Technology risk –Software (applications and data), –Hardware, communications Dissertation write-up risk

8 Risks Scope –Trying to do too much Resources Timescale –Be conscious of the time allowed to complete the project Surveys risk –Will the project success depend on a successful survey?

9 DT249 Project9 Structure of Project Spend some time structuring your work by dividing it into sections and subsections with a brief narrative describing each of the sections. For example, your project may contain any of the following tasks: analysis, design, literature review, testing, evaluating a technique, evaluating software, a comparison of languages or paradigms…

10 DT249 Project10 Study Time The thesis project is probably the most challenging part of your course. The project requires considerably more time and effort than any other module (at least 150 hours). It is not advisable to take the project and more than 2 other subjects. It can be HELL, or it can be FUN 1 –HELL, if you are not organised, hesitate –FUN, if you get stuck in (mostly FUN)

11 DT249 Project11 Delivery Dates You will deliver your project report and make your presentation in December 2014 (April or September for old regulations). You need to give careful consideration to your choice of delivery date.

12 DT249 Project12 Often it is difficult to provide yes/no answers to research topics. So a set of criteria has to be applied to a given situation. When you have to evaluate a particular technology or method, you should draw up a list of criteria. A table is often quite useful for presenting these criteria or comparing two or more technologies /methods. Writing: Using Criteria

13 DT249 Project13 Try to make your writing flow from its initial paragraph to the final paragraph. For example, you might want to describe how a particular technology would be used in a particular application. The flow here might be from a brief description of the technology, to its advantages and disadvantages, to a description of an application which can use the technology because of the advantages that the technology has over other technologies. Writing: Flow

14 DT249 Project14 The first sentence of a paragraph sets the stage by making a single point that the remainder of the paragraph’s sentences support. About 6-8 sentences per paragraph. L ead the reader on a path and help them reach the conclusion before you actually spell it out. Writing: Paragraph

15 DT249 Project15 A paragraph should contain a single idea. A paragraph might describe: a broad statement of the scope of the project; one criterion used to evaluate a technology; a brief description of the criteria that are to be used to judge a technology with following paragraphs containing more detailed material on each criterion; ensure continuity between sections and paragraphs. Writing: Paragraphs

16 DT249 Project16 A paragraph might describe: an exception to a statement made in a previous paragraph; one of a number of conclusions that the report comes to; a description as to why a particular technology should be used in an application. focus on one big idea per section, one small idea per subsection Writing: Paragraphs

17 DT249 Project17 You should avoid unsubstantiated statements. A valid statement can be made based on: 1) an authoritative reference (by an acknowledged expert in the area) 2) an informed reasoned argument 3) a critical interpretation of a less reliable source (e.g. a web page or a newspaper article) 4) a self evident truth e.g. no system is perfect. Writing: Valid statements

18 DT249 Project18 You should distinguish between a summary and a conclusion. It is always a good idea to summarise the contents of your project in the first two or three paragraphs. State the scope of your project and your main conclusions. The material that is used in the summary should be built around a concise list of essential points, statements, or facts. Chapter summaries are useful. Writing: Include Summaries

19 DT249 Project19 You should state some conclusions and/or summaries at the end of your chapters and at the end of your report. You might be attempting to predict the impact of a technology or how a technology could be employed in certain types of application. A conclusion should be a short, succinct statement of your substantiated views. It should, of course, be backed up with detail in the body of the chapter or report. Writing: You need Conclusions

20 DT249 Project20 Don’t pad out your work with information that is not pertinent to your topic, even if the material that you are using as padding is interesting. This does not stop you from using asides that are indirectly relevant; however, they are best placed in the footnotes. Writing: Too much

21 DT249 Project21 Always keep to the point. Read each paragraph before you submit the project, and ask yourself how it contributes to the overall aim of the project. This is were a high level framework is important. Writing: Keep to the point

22 DT249 Project22 An undergraduate thesis is a body of academic work. You may find a major problem with your basic premise and indeed you may find late in the day that there are some serious limitations in your ideas. This does not mean disaster! Your project can still be of value if you can articulate those limitations. Writing: Negative Findings

23 DT249 Project23 Do not copy and paste large screeds of text from Web sites. Some direct quotes are fine if they support some argument that you are making (and they are acknowledged). Do not overdo, paraphrase and cite instead. You can reference a URL as follows ‘The Microsoft XML[2] site differentiates between three types of parser…’. Where [2] is an index to your reference section. See Chapter 10 of general regulations at: regulations/general/ regulations/general/ Writing: No Copying and Pasting!

24 DT249 Project24 Record your references early. When you find an interesting article/chapter you should write a few sentences about it and create a reference immediately. Your work could be of benefit to students in the future. References are useful for students may want to develop your particular topic, perhaps taking a different approach. Writing: References

25 DT249 Project25 Your reference section should store the full details of your references. These details could include: authors, year, conference, journal, URL of web- site and date visited, type of reference e.g. peer reviewed paper, professional journal, report, un- reviewed paper. Two popular reference and bibliographic packages are Zotero and EndNote Writing: References

26 DT249 Project26 At present, we do not mandate any particular style of referencing. You could use author year (e.g. [Jones98], [Jones98a], [IBM06]). If it you are referencing a web site then in your reference section you should include the date you visited the site, the title and author of the document (or page) that you are citing. Writing: References

27 DT249 Project27 You need good 'sign posting’. You should tell the reader what you are going to say and why you are going to say it. Be sure to include a good motivational hook at the beginning of sections. Writing: Sign posting

28 DT249 Project28 Code extracts in the body of the report should be used to illustrate or support some concept that your are describing. The full code should be included in an appendix. Writing: Code

29 DT249 Project29 Use a different font (such as Courier New) when referring to software or modelled entities. This helps to distinguish between a real-world concept such an employee and the software realization of the concept which could be called Employee. Writing: Fonts

30 DT249 Project30 We can consider Complexity and Simplicity with respect to the actual project topic e.g. complex plagiarism detection, simple basic web site. Writing: Complexity V Simplicity

31 DT249 Project31 When writing on advanced topics there are often too many 'real world' issues to tackle at once. Simplification may be required. Try to apply a simplification to potentially complex topics. Writing: Handling Complexity

32 DT249 Project32 Guideline: Try to simplify complexity use abstraction (the act of separating in thought OED). Focus on the core points as stated at the start of each paragraph, try to suppress the noise of detail. The advice on simplification must be balanced against the need to address the relevant issues in your report. Writing: Handling Complexity

33 DT249 Project33 You must use technical terminology and TLAs sensibly. Try to use the ‘standard’ terminology of your research area. A glossary will be required to assist the reader. These terms express the core concepts in a precise and concise manner. Writing: Terminology

34 DT249 Project34 Although the terminology can require a bit of work to develop and master it is well worth the effort. Using the ‘standard’ terminology actually makes the report easier to write. Writing: Terminology

35 DT249 Project35 Diagrams, tables, and a glossary can all help make you finished work more concise, precise and understandable. Writing: Illustrate and explain your work.

36 DT249 Project36 A good report has something to say! Comprehensive and accurate coverage of the subject. (coverage=no gaps or overlaps). Independent critical evaluation of your own work and your methods. Clear arguments, well expressed. Integration of diverse material. Clear focus on subject. Knowledge of the wider context of the work. A good project report

37 DT249 Project37 Depth of insight into selected aspects. Well organised chapters and sections. Clearly defined project boundaries. Diversity presented as a coherent whole. Critical and reflective evaluation of work. Good supporting literature and evidence of broad reading using different sources. A good project report

38 DT249 Project38 A final year report requires an intelligent reporting and interpretation of referenced material. This interpretation should relate the goals or aims of the report. A good project report

39 DT249 Project39 Sample projects are available in Webcourses. Sample reports.

40 DT249 Project40 Ambitious projects? Scope? Boundaries? Using (or re-using) information. Type of project Software implementation. Research (hons. only, must have S/W focus/makes a point). A mixture of research and implementation. Think about

41 DT249 Project41 Think completion. Think marks. Think readers (examiners, students). Keep it as simple as possible. Stick to the plan. Work with your supervisor. General Advice

42 DT249 Project42 Form study groups. Collaboration and study groups are encouraged. While the exchange of ideas is part of the learning experience, your project must be as a result of your own efforts. General: Study groups

43 DT249 Project43 Daytime meetings with your supervisor The majority of evening students meet their supervisor in the evening. There is also a daytime option available. Are you in a position to meet your supervisor during working hours? This could be any time from 9 to 5 including lunch time. Please let me know if you wish to have your project meetings in the day rather than the evening

44 DT249 Project44 The Presentation The presentation will allow you to present and demonstrate your work. You should: –explain the objectives of your project –describe how you went about achieving those objectives. –emphasize your main achievements –present your conclusions –summarise and reflect on your work The presentation should be about minutes with 5-10 minutes for questions.

45 DT249 Project45 The Presentation You can use PowerPoint or conventional slides. Try to keep to slides. Most students use their own laptops. If you wish to use a college computer then your should bring your presentation on a memory key. If there is a software component you should include appropriate screen dumps in your presentation (just in case there are issues in running or setting up the actual S/W).

46 DT249 Project46 The Presentation If you wish you can set up your S/W before the presentation. Please let me know if you require set up time. If your S/W is too difficult to set up then include screen dumps of the running system in your presentation. To avoid difficulties in setting up your software in the labs, we would encourage your to use your own laptop computer. Please let me know if you require further clarification.

47 DT249 Project47 The Presentation The project presentations will be held during the day and early evening (see schedule on web page for details). The details of presentation schedule (such as location and timetable) will be ed to you beforehand. The presentation last 30 minutes, minutes presentation/demo and 10 minutes for questions. You should also bring a CD/DVD contain code, configuration files, support libraries and software. You should upload the electronic copy to Webcourses on the official delivery date and bring 3 hard copies to your presentation.

48 DT249 Project48 The Delivery of the Project The electronic version (PDF or WORD) of your project should uploaded to Webcourses on an given date and time (check your DIT and the project web page for details). Three copies of the paper version should be delivered at the actual project presentation. The paper copies should use a 'perfect bind' with a clear plastic front cover and a blue back cover, it is relatively inexpensive. There is no need for expensive binding.

49 DT249 Project49 The Delivery of the Project Details of the expected format of the project document can be found on the project page. –Guidelines for Honours Degree ProjectGuidelines for Honours Degree Project –Guidelines for the Ordinary Degree ProjectGuidelines for the Ordinary Degree Project The Honours Degree project should be about 15,000 words (or 70 pages). Apart from the size guideline and the use of a sensible font size there is not specific format required. Use the sample projects as a guidelines for formatting.

50 DT249 Project50 Sources of Advice The project coordinator The Project web site: Information Systems Research Practice 13.htmhttp://www.comp.dit.ie/pbrowne/Information%20Systems%20Research%20Practice/DT249-Information%20Systems%20Research%20Practice htm Text books: e.g. Doing Your Undergraduate Project by Denis Reardon

51 DT249 Project51 Sources of Advice Common Errors in English Usage (Paperback) by Paul Brians. It focuses on American English but should still be useful. See online version at: Paul Brians home page at:

52 DT249 Project52 Library You should familiarize yourself with the library facilities. In particular, you should use your library account to access electronic resources such as Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) or IEEE journals.

53 Gantt Chart You can construct simple Gantt charts using Excel.

54 Critical Path A critical activity must be completed on time to avoid missing the delivery date. A Critical Path is a route through the plan from start to finish through all the critical activities. The CP is the longest path through network which controls the overall timing. The path through the plan includes all the activities that should be focused on. Delays on the CP mean delays in the project.

55 Critical Path The CP is the longest path through network which controls the overall timing. Activities on the CP must happen on time if the project is to end on time. Task for you to do now! Write down your tasks Establish the relationships and dependencies.


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