Method Writing Project by lim36953


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									 Project Report Writing: SPSC 4091

• All projects are different, BUT there are
  conventions for reports.
• Your supervisor will give advice on issues
  specific to your project report - and will
  give detailed comments on a 1st draft
• Your supervisor can also recommend
  examples of past reports for you to look at

                   Project Report Writing       1
       Objectives of the Report
• To set out what you did, why, and your
  interpretation of results.
• To demonstrate an understanding of research
• To demonstrate critical and analytic argument in
  the interpretation of your findings and those of
• The quality of your report is the main determinant
  of the mark for the unit.

                      Project Report Writing           2
        Standard Report Structure
•   Title
•   Abstract
•   Introduction
•   Method
•   Results
•   Discussion and Conclusions
•   Acknowledgements
•   Bibliography
•   Appendices (if needed)

                         Project Report Writing   3
Structured writing – especially important
for introduction and discussion sections
• Look for a sequence of connected points and/or
  questions to use as an outline
   – This may take some time and several attempts but is
     well worth the effort
   – Use headings to make this structure explicit
   – Often very useful to set out a skeleton structure of
     headings before you write the content under each head
• Make sure each section is clearly linked to the
• Avoid extensive diversion from your main path

                        Project Report Writing               4
• State clearly and concisely the nature of the
  research. The title does not have to be same as the
  one on the Project Choice form.
• Include your name and your supervisor’s

                      Project Report Writing            5
• The abstract should be self-contained.
• It should summarise the research for a
  reader who wants a preview. Normally
  between 200 and 400 words. State briefly
  the motivation for the study, and summarise
  the methods, results and conclusions.

                   Project Report Writing   6
• Set the scene and introduce the major issues - BRIEFLY.
   – For example, alternative theoretical positions that have been pitted
     against each other, or a particular practical problem. Tell the reader
     why this is an interesting and important question – leave details to
• Then, give a critical review of the relevant background
   – Comparing and contrasting different studies can be useful here
   – An uncritical catalogue of prior work is not very useful
   – Work from primary sources for key studies, not someone else’s
   – Use your own words in preference to extensive quotation
   – Avoid plagiarism

                              Project Report Writing                      7
 Review the background studies as evidence
         related to your questions
• Review key background in enough detail to make
  a clear case - but avoid unimportant details
  – The reader doesn’t want to have to read the cited
    articles to understand your argument
  – Markers like to be shown that you understand the
    relations between data, hypotheses and conclusions
  – Consider methodological and conceptual weaknesses in
    the reviewed research and how these may qualify any
    conclusions made
  – Think about alternative explanations of research
    findings and unanswered or unasked research questions
                       Project Report Writing           8
      Final Part of Introduction
• Lead into the questions that your own project
  addresses, and state these clearly (without details
  of your methodology)

                       Project Report Writing           9
             Method Section
– The objective is to set out what you have done
  in a way that would enable someone else to
  repeat a comparable piece of research.
– Conventionally there are four sub-sections but
  this is not always the ideal
   •   Design
   •   Subjects
   •   Materials
   •   Procedure

                   Project Report Writing          10
                 Method - Design

Aim is to ensure sure that the reader understands
  your research design.
   • E.g., for an experimental design, make clear exactly
     what the independent and dependent variables are and
     how these relate to your hypotheses.
   • Indicate any special steps taken to ensure that the each
     variable captures what is intended.
   • Different types of project vary widely in design.
     Consult your supervisor, and reports of projects similar
     to yours, for further guidance.

                         Project Report Writing             11
                 Method - Subjects
State all of the relevant defining characteristics of your
   subjects in such a way that someone else could assemble a
   comparable group
   – Ages (give mean and standard deviations or median and range) -
     use a table if there are several defining statistical measures.
   – Confirmation of normal hearing, vision, IQ etc. where relevant for
     groups of “normals”.
   – Say how your sample was selected (volunteers may have
     characteristics that are not representative of the population as a
   – For clinical populations, give full information about all aspects of
     the subjects that may be expected to influence the results.

                              Project Report Writing                    12
               Method: Materials
Give all the information that would be needed to repeat a
  comparable piece of research: for example --
   – Materials or stimuli presented to subjects
   – Any special apparatus used to present materials or
      record responses. Computers are usually very standard
      these days, but the programs you use may need to be
      specified. Give the manufacturer and model number of
      any critical non-standard equipment.
   – For projects involving recordings or listening tests,
      describe the acoustic characteristics of the room used
      briefly (e.g. a sound-isolated room, an anechoic
      chamber, a school medical room without acoustic
      isolation)           Project Report Writing            13
             Method - Procedure
Covers the events that occur during the conduct of
  the research, including the order in which they
  took place: again the aim to to ensure that an
  equivalent procedure could be replicated by
  others. Include, for example ---
   – Instructions to subjects (quote if this is easiest)
   – the sequence of stimuli and the response actions made
     by the subject if applicable
   – state clearly how many observations were made in each
     of the measurement conditions
   – ……                   Project Report Writing           14
Covers the method of data analysis and the results of the
Structure the presentation around your questions -
• Include clear graphs illustrating summary results in
   preference to tables.
• It is almost always very useful to include an indication of
   data variability in these graphs
• Meaningful labels on graphs make them easy to read
• SPSS is pretty good for graphing most data – but you
   usually have to edit the graphs to improve clarity.
• Choose and lay out your graphs so that they display and
   compare data in a way that is linked to your main
• If complete results tables need to be included, put these in
   an appendix.             Project Report Writing             15
            A poor summary graph



            B30C0   B30C2   B30C8   B18C1   B18C4     B6C0    B6C2   B6C8
               B30C1   B30C4   B18C0 B18C2 B18C8
                                  Project Report Writing   B6C1   B6C4      16
                                                                  The same data

Number of key words correct (max 21)

                                                                                                          Steady noise
                                                                                                                         median and
                                       10                                                                 1 band         range of
                                                                                                          2 band         scores
                                                                                                          4 band         This is a
                                        0                                                                 8 band
                                                                                                                         box plot
                                                  6          18          30         No face

                                            Degree of blurring of face
                                                                              Project Report Writing                           17
                                      Same data as error bar graph

                                                                                                     AUDIO            Visual
Number of words correct and 95% CI

                                     20                                                                Steady noise   Meaningful
                                                                                                       1 band
                                                                                                                      mean and
                                     10                                                                2 band
                                                                                                       4 band
                                      0                                                                8 band
                                                6         18           30            No face

                                          Degree of blurring of face
                                                                            Project Report Writing                          18
                Results: Analysis
• Structure reporting of analyses around key questions – use
  analyses to answer questions rather than just to describe
  the data.
   – Sometimes analyses suggest more questions that can be tested
• Be explicit in describing the analysis methods
• Report tests that your data meet the assumptions of the
  main analysis

                             Project Report Writing                 19
            Results: Analysis II
• Reporting statistical tests
   – Give a complete account of each statistical test result of
     interest (e.g. test statistic, degrees of freedom,
     probability associated with test statistic)
   – Use summary tables to make the presentation of
     multiple statistical test results clearer – but don’t
     include the full statistical analysis printouts in the main
     report - put them in an appendix if they are needed
     (they rarely are).
   – When you state each result, give the reader a brief
     indication of what the result may signify – don’t just
     list all the test outcomes.

                          Project Report Writing              20
This section brings together your findings with the
  questions covered in the introduction. A clear
  structure here is just as important as in the
   – Start by reminding the reader of these questions, then
     summarize your findings and what they may mean.
   – Compare your findings to those of other studies -
     comment on any inconsistencies and why these may
     have arisen.

                         Project Report Writing               21
        Discussion: more …
– Discuss any problems there may be in the interpretation
  of your results - be critical. Even if you found nothing
  consistent, comment on possible reasons for this.
– Discuss how your results fit into and contribute to the
  research area
– Discuss further research that could follow
   • to clarify your own findings
   • to address inconsistencies between your results and others
   • to introduce new research questions that your results have

                         Project Report Writing                   22
Example formats: See “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association” for
    full details or summary of formats at Research Style Crib Sheet.htm
The formats given here for in-text citations and the reference list are very helpful. The rest
    of the guidelines mainly deal with formatting, and are intended for authors writing for
    APA journals, and are not important for your project report.
Book without editors:
Baken, R. J. (1987). Clinical Measurement of Speech and Voice. London: Taylor and
    Francis Ltd.
Chapter in edited book
Burnham, D. (1998). Language specificity in the development of auditory-visual speech
    perception. In R. Campbell, B. Dodd, & D. Burnham (Eds.), Hearing by Eye II:
    Advances in the Psychology of Speechreading and Auditory-visual Speech (pp. 27-60).
    Hove, UK: Psychology Press.
Edited Book:
Campbell., R., Dodd, B., & Burnham, D. (Eds.). (1998). Hearing by Eye II: Advances in the
    Psychology of Speechreading and Auditory-visual Speech. Hove, UK: Psychology
Journal Article:
DeFilippo, C. L., & Scott, B. L. (1978). A method for training and evaluation of the
    reception of on-going speech, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 63, 1186-

                                        Project Report Writing                              23
             Citing web pages
• document title or description
• date (the date of publication or update or the date
  of retrieval)
• an address (URL: e.g. ““)
• Whenever possible, identify the authors of a
  document as well.
• See
• Consider what might be the hallmarks of reliable
  web information

                       Project Report Writing           24
          Ethical considerations
• You will need to include a summary of the
  ethical issues relating to your project.
  –   A format for this will be distributed next term
  –   What ethical approval if any was obtained
  –   How were participants recruited?
  –   How was consent to participate obtained?
  –   How was data stored? – Anonymity – security
  –   Any other ethical issues?

                       Project Report Writing           25
          Sensitive ethical issues
• Your data may have implications for the clinical
  or educational management of subjects
   – e.g., evidence of bullying …non-ideal clinical management
• If so, make clear how this was handled
   – e.g., was data kept confidential?
   – were clinicians or teachers informed?
• Make sure you discuss any possible sensitive
  issues with your supervisor

                            Project Report Writing               26
                          General Remarks
•   Don’t write for yourself, but for other researchers.
     – Throughout the report, especially in the introduction and discussion,
       always keep in mind the main questions and arguments. Don’t be tempted
       into excessive diversion from this main path.
     – Be sure to tell the reader all he or she needs to know to repeat your study.

•   Use formal written English - Avoid the personal pronoun, use passive
    constructions - Avoid contractions such as “can’t”

•   Use “serious” and easy to read fonts like Arial or Times


•   Make sure you get a first draft of each section to your supervisor in
    plenty of time to get feedback - ask for more explanation if you are not
    sure what is meant by a supervisor’s comment

•   Colour can look good but is best used sparingly and only when needed
    for clarity (e.g. in graphs)
                                   Project Report Writing                        27
            General remarks continued
• Title page:
   – Your Name, your degree, the year, project title, your supervisor’s name
     and the word count
• Expected length
   – 8000 to 10000 words for full unit (max 11000)
   – 5000 to 7000 words for half-unit (max 7700)
   – Title page, abstract, appendices, and bibliography are excluded from the
     word count.
   – Where is it important to make unusually extensive reports of data – e.g. in
     quoting passages of speech subject to conversation analysis, this reported
     data can also be excluded from the word count.
   – Project reports exceeding the word limit are likely to receive a 10%
     penalty mark deduction.
   – Very exceptionally, the word limit could be exceeded without penalty but
     only if this is sanctioned by both the supervisor and the unit coordinator.

                                 Project Report Writing                        28
           Electronic submission
• You must word-process your report and you will submit
  only an electronic copy. Put everything in one document.
   – Avoid the use of hand-written or drawn materials if at all possible.
     Where hand-drawn figures are needed you will need to scan these
     and paste into the document.
• Details of required electronic format will be notified next
   – Look out for further information on format and where to email the
   – PDF will be the preferred format, and is essential if you use
     special fonts for phonetic symbols etc. Instructions on how to
     make PDF files on your own computer will be available.
   – UCL cluster computers in Chandler House have PDF making
     tools (but may not have your special fonts installed)
   – MS Word files are acceptable if you are not using special fonts but
     there is a risk that your formatting may get messed up when the
     file is opened on a different computer.
                              Project Report Writing                    29
Marking criteria for report presentation
     -   a clear and useful abstract
     -   clarity of expression throughout
     -   good and logical structure
     -   coherence in arguments
     -   appropriate style, spelling and punctuation
     -   thorough and accurate referencing
     -   appropriate use of clearly labelled appendices
  • For more on marking criteria see the 2009/10
    BSc Project Guide available on the projects
    web page at:

     Or see the links on the Moodle page for SPSC4901

                             Project Report Writing       30
    Writing and Learning Mentor Project (WLM):

    I panic about writing essays, how
    will I manage a whole project?
    What if I get writer’s block?
    How long will it take me to write
    such a big piece of work?
    How will I make it coherent?

Want to gain insight into your academic writing skills, and problem solve issues for
writing your project?
If so, the WLM could be just what you’re looking for!
You can sign up for an individual session at any time while you are writing your project

Mentor is Katharine Mair:
Office hours (Chandler House): Tuesdays 12 - 1 pm / Wednesdays 2 - 3 pm
You can sign up for a session at any time and without prior contact with the mentor, by using
the online booking system at:
                                        Project Report Writing                             31

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