Research Activities Handout 2 (M.-C. Brunet)
The Proposal: Planning and Writing
Deadline D2 Revised August 7, 2010
Meeting Project Deadlines and Working in a Group
Carefully plan all important steps: schedule precise dates for all of the meeting times that your
team needs to make progress. Allow enough meetings, and regularly space them. Some of the
lectures (class time) will also be dedicated to team meetings (see syllabus).
Divide the work but collaborate: each individual’s strengths (and weaknesses) should be
discussed, and put to good use. Work should be then divided according to everyone’s talents. This
will increase the overall success of the project. Naturally, each team member may not have the
same writing abilities, but everyone will be required to write at least a paragraph of the final paper,
and feedback will be given to everyone by all teammates: anyone who might have difficulties with
English writing (international students for example) should be given less to write, and asked to
contribute in another area (organizing meetings, taking notes at meetings or else).
Communicate at all times: if you anticipate problems, you will not be surprised. If anything goes
wrong, then good communication will allow your group to react, and bounce back by making an
alternate plan. Teammates should exchange emails, and/or best ways to reach them.
Detailed tips and help are provided on the RA website by the Grainger Library (Writing Activity
Information link) and by your instructors (Team Work link).
Each group proposal will be read and graded by an ECE 110 instructor. Be sure to include the
Group Number, the Team Name, Date, and all Names at the top of your proposal.
Format: The proposal should not exceed one page; use the font “Times New Roman, 12” and
single line spacing.
Topic: The proposal must include a small paragraph that specifies the Area of Interest, the topic
chosen by the group, the reasons for these choices, and anything relevant. The topic is any topic in
the Area of Interest (can be as narrowed as wanted; does not need to cover entire area of
Sources: The proposal must include full citations of at least two sources covering the topic you
have chosen. Sources should be either a paper from an academic journal, a science magazine, a
website, a technical report, parts from scientific books, etc… See MLA format for correctly
referencing sources (See Writing Activity Information link or past semester papers). If you decided
to interview an ECE professor, include the professor’s name, and the date of the planned interview.
Group Working Plan: The proposal must include a draft plan for the entire project from the start,
date by date, with agendas, of all the important steps, with description, that the group will take up
to the writing of the final paper (this is not the list of RA lectures..., but the team planned agenda!).
You may include the names of the group members in this part since it will not be read by peers, but
by ECE 110 instructors only.
Proposal Grading (10 pts of Research Activity grade)
Format: 3 pts (1 for size less than one page, 1 for correct font, 1 for correct font size).
Topic: 3 pts (1 for Topic, 1 for Reasons, 1 for Stating “interview” or “no interview”).
Sources: 2 pts (1 for naming 2 sources at least; 1 for using full citations of sources).
Plan: 2 pts (1 for dates, 1 for precise agendas)
If the proposal is not uploaded into RAMSES before D2, then the proposal grade is 0.
If the proposal is uploaded in another format than .DOC (i.e. used .DOCX or else), then 3 pts will
It should be very clear after reading the previous paragraphs that a lot will be decided well before
the writing of the final paper, and actually before the proposal deadline. Planning ahead will be
For the literature research, the group literature research happens before: in the proposal you are
asked to name at least two papers. Keep in mind that the final paper should refer to at least three
papers. Do not choose papers you cannot easily understand.
For the optional Professor interview, the group must have secured an appointment with the person
that will be interviewed. The interview MUST be in person (allow 30 to 45 minutes), and we
advise that at least two members, if not all team members, go to the interview to collect notes.
Perhaps have members ask questions, while others take notes.
Do not forget to upload your proposal using RAMSES. Uploaded file must have “.DOC”
extension to make it compatible for everyone (do not use .DOCX, .ODT). Multiple uploads
are possible before the deadline D2. No change is possible after D2. Make sure all members
have a copy of the proposal just in case: someone in the team should be in charge of the
uploading; if that person is sick, then someone else will do the upload. Since multiple uploads
are possible, you might want to upload a draft version early on (not to risk 0%).
The Team Portfolio; for Deadline see syllabus
Making your Team Project a Success
To keep your team focused on the project, you will be asked to keep notes of your progress in a
portfolio, and, furthermore, to use tools to help improve the performance of your team. For
example, you will design (and all sign) a group contract, you will do an early (anonymous) peer
assessment which should help to reinforce individual responsibility, and to make performance
expectations visible to all. Also, students will collaborate on the final paper by reading the
teammates draft paragraphs, and giving one another constructive feedback; that should contribute
to overall improved quality of the final paper. See Portfolio link for more details on what to
include in your portfolio. Advice from instructors and past students: do not build your portfolio at
the every end of the project: you will loose all the benefits from this requirement. The Portfolio is
meant to be a witness of the team work in progress, to help with scheduling and organizing your
project, and finally to give another dimension to your RA project overall grade.
Portfolio Grading (15 pts of Research Activity grade)
We expect all portfolios to be complete, neatly organized, and to contain dated documents (again
see Portfolio link). If not, the following penalties will be applied:
* 2 pts for each missing item. 1 pt for each incomplete item.
* 2 pts if not all documents are dated.
* 1pt if items are not clearly separated and 1 pt if not clearly labeled (all documents of Item 2 must
be attached together and labeled on top “ITEM 2”, etc).
* 1 pt if items are not ordered (Item 1, Item 2, …)
If the portfolio is not turned in by the deadline, then the portfolio grade is 0. You might want to
keep a double of your portfolio, just in case…
Would you need the assistance of your instructors at any stage in the project, bring and show your
portfolio in progress. Some of the items included might be used to better assist you; for example,
in case of a conflict, the anonymous peer assessment will be looked at. The intent is to use as much
information as possible to help your team succeed!