Writing your Project Proposal

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					   Writing your Project Proposal



Tutor:                   Contact:
Prof. A. Taleb-Bendiab   E-Mail:A.TalebBendiab@ljmu.ac.uk
                         Telephone: +44 (0)151 231 2284
So far … #1


• Introduction (Lecture #1)
   – Nature of research
      • Definitions, Research as a process
   – Classifying Research
      • The field of research, The purpose of research
      • The approach to research, The nature of research
• Types of research methods (Lecture #2)
   – Qualitative research
   – Quantitative Research
• Types of experimental design (Lecture #3):
   – Pre-Experimental Design
   – True Experimental Design                              2
So far … #2


 • Survey Research (Lecture #4)
   – Definition
   – Planning and undertaking survey
   – Information sources, search method
   – Guidelines, Documentation and presentation
 • Student Project Planning (Lecture #5)
   – An overview of project development
     process
      • Selecting a suitable topic,
      • Selecting an appropriate analytical
        framework,
      • Time management                           3
    So far … #3

• Literature Review (Lecture #6)
  – literature search and indexing
  – recording references
  – literature review
     •   How to “do” a literature review
     •   Finding relevant publications
     •   Structuring the literature review
     •   Writing the literature review




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      In This Session …

• Developing a project proposal
  – Purpose of a project proposal
  – Structure
  – Writing a project proposal
• Conducting your project
  –   With your supervisor agree your project’s
  –   Follow your agreed project proposal and plan
  –   Document your work
  –   Review project plan if necessary
• Consult your project supervisor
• Assessment of your MSc. dissertation
• Writing your MSc Dissertation
  – Purpose of the dissertation
  – Structure of a dissertation                      5
        Overview of Project Work Structure


                                     MSc Project Work Structure




       Select a           Make a          Perform      Perform      Write up
       Topic or           project         literature   Project
       Proposal             plan          survey         work




                                          Produce       Plan         Create
       Decide             Develop
                                          estimates     resources    Gantt
       objectives          Work
                                                                     chart
                           Struct.

Source Ref: to be added
                                                                               6
Introduction

• Why do I need a project proposal?
   – To request for
      • funding, support and/or
      • project approval.
   – To assist you as a planning tool
   – To serve as a contract
• Thus it is required
   – To convince others of the value of your
     research
   – To demonstrate expertise
   – To demonstrate competency                 7
Structure #1

• Structure of a research proposal
  – title
  – Purpose:
     • A description of the research question and/or an indication of
       why the problem is important
         – What do you want to do?
         – Why do you want to do it?
         – Why is it important?
  – Aim and Objectives
  – Theoretical framework and prior research including;
     • literature review
         – What, how much is know about the topic and/or the
           research problem?
         – Who has done similar work?                                   8
Structure #2

  – Research design:
     • a description of the proposed methodology
       – How are you going to do it?
     • Workplan
       – What are you going to do by when?
  – Timetable, expected outcome
       – How long will it take?
       – Deliverables
  – References
  – Appendices (if required)
                                                   9
   Guidelines


• Advice
  – don’t be too ambitious
  – don’t try to impress
  – discuss proposal with friends
  – be prepared to revise it
  – allow time for reflection between writing and
    submitting
  – use the proposal to guide and manage the research
• Check
  – you have necessary knowledge, skills, resources,
    cooperation…
  – title, purpose, problem, questions, design, theory all
    clearly stated                                           10
   Roles of Supervisors


• Refer to Handouts




                          11
   An Illustrative Example


• Refer to Handouts
  – www.cms.livjm.ac.uk/taleb/lectures/cmssem003/Slides/SamplePro
    posals.htm




                                                                12
   Conducting Your Project


• With your supervisor agree your project’s
  – proposal and plan
• Follow your agreed project proposal and plan
  – You can revise your project plan
     • As a results of preliminary findings for instance from your
       literature survey or other
     • BUT you must discuss it with your supervisor and agree
       changes
• Consult your project supervisor
  – Technical issues
  – Project decisions
  – Progress report and monitoring
                                                                     13
Documenting your Project Work

• Throughout the project life-cycle you
  need
  – To compare what you’re doing with your
    project proposal and design,
  – To check against your initial work plan and
    schedule
  – To review and/or update your project plan if
    required
  – To identify new questions and new directions
    to investigate
• Use a logbook to document
  – Your day to day project work, thoughts, etc
  – Changes made to plans of action, time          14
Writing up your Dissertation


• Purpose of a Research Dissertation
  – It is a formal academic requirement
     • To assess work done and level of achievement of
       aims and objectives.
     • To demonstrate your ability to put the coursework
       into practice
     • To be aware of any related tools and techniques
       and/or any related work.
     • To appraise the significance and degree of
       success/relevance of your own work
     • To identify ideas for future work
  – Dissemination
     • To document work you have done, so that others        15
       might benefit from it, use it and even reference it
  Writing Up Hints

• start early!
  – write notes and drafts throughout the research period
  – check/observe specific requirements, including
    document size
  – set a timetable with critical milestones
• planning and writing strategies
  – brainstorm for main points (in sequence or random
    order)
     • could start from literature, then methodology, then your own
       findings
     • keep/put your notes in order
     • visual maps can be helpful - then translate part by part
  – you don’t have to write the dissertation in chapters’
    order                                                             16
Dissertation Report Design


• Structure and Content
  – present in a logical sequence, to make coherent
    argument
     • Logical structure: determines how the document is
       organised and partitioned. The structure is fairly
       independent of content
     • Technical content: determined by the technical aspects of
       your particular project
     • Assumptions (context): determined by the intended
       audience/readers and their expected level of knowledge
       and familiarity with each aspect
• Style and layout
  – standard hierarchy of headings (chapters, sections,            17
Thesis Structure #1

   Preliminaries:
    title, declaration, contents, list of figs, abstract, copyright,
          acknowledgements

   Chapter 1:     Introduction
   Chapter 2:     Literature Review
   Chapter 3:     Methodology and Design                          Main Body
   Chapter 4:     Results
   Chapter 5:     Analysis and discussion
   Chapter 6:     Conclusions

   References/Bibliography
   Appendices
     Including Project Management (optional)
                                                                           18
Thesis Structure #2

• Chapter 1: General Introduction
  – Gives introduction of
     • why the work was done
     • major features of the problem and solution
     • any significant aspects of the solution that the
       reader might need to anticipate when reading the
       rest
     • the structure of the rest of the dissertation
  – Can provide a map to the layout of the remainder
    of the dissertation
     • “chapter 2 considers related work. Chapter 3
       presents the methodology used to study
       absenteeism. Chapter 4 describes the design of an   19
Thesis Structure #3


• Chapter 2: Literature Review
  – An examination of existing work related to
    your project
  – To include related aspects of
     • Theory, Practice and Experience
  – Contains numbered references to the work of
    others [1, 2, 3], etc.
  – Ends by stating the research question/problem or
    hypothesis to be answered by the remainder of
    the dissertation
• Chapter 3: Methodology
  – Describes the methodology that you used to
    address your research question/problem             20
Thesis Structure #4

  – The methodology could be
     • An existing methodology
     • An extension or variation of an existing methodology
     • A completely new methodology that you have developed as
       part of your research
  – Describe your methodology clearly and concisely
     • Give reasons for you particular choice of methodology
     • Wherever possible use diagrams to explain how the
       methodology is applied in practice

• Chapter 4
  – Involves the application of your chosen
    methodology to design a solution for, or to
    perform an analysis on your research
    question/problem
     • Design of a software system or experiment                 21
Thesis Structure #5

 – Software designs should provide
    • Design diagrams (psuedo-code, object-oriented
      diagrams, UML, etc.)
    • Relevant code “snippets”
    • Place lengthy code listings (more than 1.5 or 2
      pages) in an appendix
 – Experiments and case studies should
   describe the set-up and conditions used in
   the design or analysis
 – If your results are software related the
   results chapter may include
    • screen shots of any user interface
                                                             22
    • execution of the software under different conditions
 Thesis Structure #6

  – If your results emerge from an experiment
    or case study the results chapter may
    include
     • graphs and/or tables
     • results of any statistical analysis
  – Justify the accuracy of any experimental
    measurements
     • be honest about any errors
     • measurement errors DO NOT mean that your work is wrong
• Chapter 5: Critical Analysis
  – Provide a structure
  – Look back and reflect on your work                          23
Thesis Structure #7


• Chapter 6: Conclusions
  – Dissertation summary
  – Draw conclusions
     • what went well?
     • what could be improved?
  – Suggest further works
• References:
  – See guidelines on references and
    bibliography
• Appendices
  – If required                        24
Report Style #1

• Guidelines
  –aim for a readable writing style
     • make it interesting, comprehensible, and legible
     • short, lucid sentences; a new paragraph for each
       new idea
     • precise and correct use of words
        – avoid jargon, slang, and clichés
     • use spelling and grammar checkers (judiciously)
        – get names right
        – proof read (yourself)
     • use first person only sparingly
     • use footnotes and Latin abbreviations sparingly
  –include - and attribute - relevant                     25
Report Style #2

  –use appropriate form of
   presentation for quantitative data
     • tables, charts, graphs
• A popular approach is to work
  (write) outwards from the middle
  – Start with literature review,
    methodology, analysis and results
    sections
  – Finish with introduction and conclusions
• Write as the third person
  – DO NOT Use “I did this…” “We did           26
Report Style #3


• Write in a structured fashion using
   – sentences, paragraphs, sub-sections,
     sections and chapters
   – Each sentence should have at least one verb
      • sentences should follow on logically from each other
   – Paragraphs introduce a definitive break between a group of
     related sentences
      • start a new paragraph when you move on to a new issue about the
        current topic
   – Sections and sub-sections introduce more
     “coarsely grained” breaks than paragraphs
      • sections are numbered 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 etc.
      • subsections are numbered 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.1.3, etc.
• Chapters are numbered 1, 2, 3 etc.
   – some people like to “frame” each chapter with a brief                27
Report Style #4


• Wherever possible try and use diagrams,
  tables and lists
   – “a picture paints a thousand words”
   – readers find it easier to relate to you ideas through
     diagrams, tables and lists
   – If a diagram or table is not self-explanatory add a
     paragraph to explain the picture or table
   – try to place the explanatory paragraph close to the
     picture (directly above or below)
• Where appropriate lists
   – are easier to read than
      • two or three paragraphs of text
                                                             28
  Assessment

• MSc dissertation should show
  – an ordered, critical and reasoned exposition of
    knowledge gained through the student’s efforts
  – evidence of awareness of the literature
• Marking criteria for an MSc project
  includes
  – objectives of project should be clear, relevant - and
    achieved
  – project design: appropriate, explained, reliable, valid
  – literature review: scope, relevance
  – data collection and analysis: primary/secondary mix,
    relevance, quality
  – conclusions/recommendations: persuasive,
    supported, practical                                      29
Tutorial


• No tutorial.
• Start work on assignment




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   Next Session …

• Technical Report Writing




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