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Writing Your Masters Proposal Report David A Watt 2010 11

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Presentation on theme: "Writing Your Masters Proposal Report David A Watt 2010 11"— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing Your Masters Proposal Report David A Watt

2 2 Overview Structure Content Writing Submission

3 3 Structure First decide the structure of your report. The main decision is how your report will be divided into chapters. You might then decide to subdivide some chapters into sections. Then write brief notes summarising what will be in each chapter/section. This gives you a synopsis. Use the synopsis to check that everything is covered in an orderly fashion, and that nothing is duplicated.

4 4 Structure of MSc development proposal Typical structure of a development project proposal report: Title page 1.Introduction 2.Problem Statement 3.Background Survey 4.Proposed Approach 5.Work Plan Bibliography Recommended length: 15–25 pages.

5 5 Synopsis of MSc development proposal (1) 1.Introduction Brief explanation of the software development problem and its context. 2.Problem Statement Precise statement of the problem; why it is worthwhile to solve this problem. 3.Background Survey Overview of relevant previous work including articles, books, and existing software products; critical evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the previous work.

6 6 Synopsis of MSc development proposal (2) 4.Proposed Approach How you propose to solve the problem; choice of software development method; feasibility and risks of the proposed method. 5.Work Plan Plan of your work schedule with dates; intermediate deliverables.

7 7 Structure of MRes research proposal Typical structure of a research proposal report: Title page 1.Introduction 2.Research Problem Statement 3.Literature Survey 4.Proposed Approach 5.Work Plan Bibliography Recommended length: 20–30 pages.

8 8 Synopsis of MSc research proposal (1) 1.Introduction Brief explanation of the research problem and its context. 2.Research Problem Statement Precise statement of the problem; why it is worthwhile to solve this problem. 3.Literature Survey Overview of literature relevant to the research problem; critical evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the work reported in the literature.

9 9 Synopsis of MRes research proposal (2) 4.Proposed Approach How you propose to solve the research problem; feasibility and risks of the proposed research method. 5.Work Plan Plan of your work schedule with dates; intermediate deliverables.

10 10 Content: work plan Your work plan should estimate when you will start each stage of the work, and how long it will take. E.g.: Implementation Design Evaluation Dissertation week Require -ments

11 11 Content: bibliography (1) The bibliography must list all sources (books, articles, web sites, etc.) –that are cited in your report –that provide useful background information. Order the sources by authors surname and date.

12 12 Content: bibliography (2) For every source, include the authors name, its date, and its title. Include also: –for an article: the title of the journal or conference record in which the article was published, and the page range –for a book: the name of the publisher –for a web site: the URL. Also, briefly summarize the sources content.

13 13 Content: citations (1) The Harvard style (author surname + date) is usually best for citations. E.g.: Downey, A., Elkner, J., Meyers, C. (2002) How to Think Like a Computer Scientist – Learning with Python, Green Tea Press. Hoare, C.A.R. (1962) Quicksort, Computer Journal 5, pp. 10–15. Martelli, A. (2006) Python in a Nutshell, OReilly. Wikipedia (2007) Quicksort, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quicksort. bibliography citations in the text The quick-sort algorithm was invented by Hoare (1962); see also Wikipedia (2007). Python (Downey et al. 2002, Martelli 2006) is a highly dynamic language, suitable for object-oriented and functional programming.

14 14 Content: citations (2) The Vancouver style (numbered items in bibliography) is an alternative. E.g.: MS Word does not support this style. 1. Downey, A., Elkner, J., Meyers, C. (2002) How to Think Like a Computer Scientist – Learning with Python, Green Tea Press. 2. Hoare, C.A.R. (1962) Quicksort, Computer Journal 5, pp. 10– Martelli, A. (2006) Python in a Nutshell, OReilly. 4. Wikipedia (2007) Quicksort, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quicksort. bibliography citations in the text The quick-sort algorithm was invented by Hoare [2]; see also [4]. Python [1, 3] is a highly dynamic language, suitable for object-oriented and functional programming. LaTeX supports automatic numbering.

15 15 Content: avoiding plagiarism (1) Plagiarism means using another persons work without acknowledgement: presenting another persons work as if it were your own. You must cite the source of anything that is another persons work, including: –text (either direct quotation or paraphrase) –ideas –designs –code –data –diagrams, images, etc.

16 16 Content: avoiding plagiarism (2) If you must use another persons words exactly, include quotation marks as well as a citation. Almost always it is better to paraphrase the other persons words (using your own words) – but still include a citation. Testing can prove the presence of errors, but never their absence. (Dijkstra 1968) direct quotation Dijkstra (1968) observed that testing might expose errors in a program, but no amount of testing can ever prove the program free of errors. paraphrase

17 17 Writing: terminology Terminology is critically important in technical writing. Use technical terms as defined in good textbooks and refereed articles. Where two or more technical terms mean the same thing, choose one term and use it consistently. If you use any unusual technical terms, define them precisely. Dont imitate computer magazines and web sites!

18 18 Example: terminology Modern computers have vast amounts of memory. But a program that creates millions of objects can easily run out of heap space. From time to time it is necessary to reclaim the space occupied by objects that are no longer being used. A garbage collector is an algorithm that discovers unreachable objects and recycles the space they occupy. bad better Modern computers have vast amounts of memory. But a program that creates millions of objects can easily run out of memory. From time to time it is necessary to reclaim the memory occupied by objects that are no longer reachable. A garbage collector is an algorithm that discovers unreachable objects and reclaims the memory they occupy.

19 19 Writing: acronyms Use acronyms sparingly, and only for frequently- used multi-word terms. Introduce every acronym by expanding it at its first occurrence. Do not invent your own acronyms. Always write acronyms in upper-case letters.

20 20 Example: acronyms IR is about searching a large collection of documents for those that are most relevant to a particular user query. IR is the basis of web search engines such as Google. A FAQ about IR is why so many search results are irrelevant. The basic answer to this FAQ is that relevance is a difficult concept for users to express and for computers to process efficiently. badbetter Information retrieval (IR) is about searching a large collection of documents for those that are most relevant to a particular user query. IR is the basis of web search engines such as Google. A frequently-asked question about IR is why so many search results are irrelevant. The basic answer to this question is that relevance is a difficult concept for users to express and for computers to process efficiently.

21 21 Writing: grammar and spelling (1) Good grammar and spelling are important. –A book, article, or report with poor grammar or spelling is likely to be dismissed as incompetent and untrustworthy. Always check your own writing. Then ask a friend to check your writing (not to rewrite it). –If English is not your native language, ask a fluent English speaker to check your writing. Your supervisor will read your draft report. But do not expect the supervisor to correct all the errors in your writing.

22 22 Writing: grammar and spelling (2) Automatic spell-checkers are useful tools. But they are not entirely reliable, and will miss some spelling errors, e.g.: Automatic grammar-checkers might also be useful. But they are rather unreliable. Their is no hope off recovering your stolen bicycle hole. wrong There is no hope of recovering your stolen bicycle whole. right

23 23 Submission Start writing your report at least 3 weeks before the deadline. Show a draft to your supervisor well before the deadline. Submit one printed copy and one PDF copy of your report. Deadline: Friday 25 March 2011 at 12:00. Late penalty: 2 bands per day (or part-day). except for part-time students


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