Towards the end of the first semester of your 3rd year
you have to submit a preliminary report on your project. Failure to submit a satisfactory report will result in disciplinary action, and referral under terms of progress of students regulations. Where instances of plagiarism are detected in the survey and analysis report, students will be required to attend a viva following the submission of their dissertation.
The main component of this report will be an extensive
literature survey (or similar technology/mathematical
survey for certain types of project). In addition, the
report should contain a clear presentation of what the
project is aiming to achieve and a description of the work
done so far. You will receive feedback from your
supervisor and second marker, which will help you to
prepare your final dissertation. Much of what is written
for this report will probably be reused in a modified form
in the final dissertation. It is expected that the
project will be well under way at this stage. Many
potential pitfalls can be avoided if you submit a draft of
your report to your supervisor two weeks before the handin
For students taking COM3610 the report should be between 3000 and 6000 words. Students taking COM3500 should submit
a report between 2500 and 5000 words. In either case the
word limit does not include references and appendices
etc., with the font size being 11 or 12 pt.
There are many different types of project and so it is
difficult to produce a detailed set of recommendations to
suit every single report. The structure given below
is only a suggestion, and your project supervisor will be able to give you further guidence on your own work. In general, all reports should be
divided into a series of numbered chapters and sections,
each with titles. Only the Chapters count towards the page
| Title page
||Title, name, supervisor, module
code, date, and the following statement: This report
is submitted in partial fulfilment of the
requirement for the degree of [Degree Title] by
||The second page should be the following declaration:
"All sentences or passages quoted in this report from other people's work have been specifically acknowledged by clear cross-referencing to author, work and page(s). Any illustrations that are not the work of the author of this report have been used with the explicit permission of the originator and are specifically acknowledged. I understand that failure to do this amounts to plagiarism and will be considered grounds for failure in this project and the degree examination as a whole.
** Note that you should type your name here but you are not required to physically sign this page. By submitting your project through MOLE, you agree to the declaration above.
||This should be two or three short
paragraphs (100-150 words total), summarising the
report. A suggested flow is background, project
aims, and achievements to date. It should not simply
be a restatement of the original project outline.
||Includes titles and page numbers
of all sections and subsections. Chapter 1 begins on
page 1. Use roman numerals for all previous pages,
eg. title page (i), signed declaration (ii) abstract
(iii), acknowledgements (iv) and contents (v-?).
It is often best include a separate list of all the
figures in the dissertation (figure number, label,
page number), and a separate list of all tables in
the dissertation (table number, label, page number).
| Chapter 1: Introduction
||The introduction has several
purposes. Clearly one is to set the scene for the
project by giving a little relevant background
information - try to grab the reader's interest
early. Another is to clearly elucidate the aims and
objectives of the project and the constraints that
might affect the way in which the project is carried
out. If the project involves the solution of a
specific problem or the production of a specific
system this should be clearly specified in an
informal way. Finally, the introduction should
summarise the remaining chapters of the report, in
effect giving the reader an overview of what is to
| Chapter 2:
| Depending on the type of the
project, relevant literature may be hard to find,
and a technology survey/review of relevant
mathematics/review of similar software tools may be
more appropriate - you should discuss this with your
A good literature survey should demonstrate your
awareness and understanding of the background
literature to your topic. It should begin by setting
the proposed research in a wide context, and
progress to a more detailed account of the most
relevant work in the area, taking care to include
some up-to-date references. Reviewing the literature
can help to identify questions and issues that have
not yet been answered, ideally questions that will
be addressed through your project. It may also be
appropriate to incorporate criticisms of previous
work, although you need to take care here that your
criticisms do not reflect a lack of understanding.
Think of the review as writing an essay on the
background literature for your project. You should
not just provide a list of references followed by a
short summary of each of them. Instead the review
should be organised and structured in a meaningful
way, and the themes and relationships between the
references identified. You should expect to redraft
the review several times in order to arrive at a
text that is clearly written, easy to understand,
but that displays an in-depth understanding of the
It is usual to assume that the reader is familiar
with first and second year course material. Any
further material needed should be summarised either
and suitable references cited.
| Chapter 3: Requirements and analysis
||Detail the aims and objectives of
your project and analyse individual parts in detail.
The analysis may cover more than is finally
implemented. As a result of the analysis, you should
state what will be covered by the project and what
will not be done and why. Due consideration should
also be given to how you will evaluate your work.
Evaluation is one of the most important aspects of
any piece of work and it should be thought about in
the early stages. Consider tests or experiments that
can be conducted to establish the success of the
| Chapter 4: Progress
||What have you achieved to date?
Describe any results you have. It may be appropriate
for your project to combine this chapter with the
following chapter - discuss this with your
| Chapter 5
Conclusions and project plan
|Give a brief summary of the main
achievements to date and a detailed plan of work
(e.g. using a Gantt chart) to the end of project.
||These may be provided to include
further details of results, mathematical
derivations, certain illustrative parts of program
code (e.g. class interfaces), user documentation,
log of project milestones. In particular, if
there are technical details of the work done that
might be useful to others who wish to build on this
work, but that are not sufficiently important to the
project as a whole to justify being discussed in the
main body of the dissertation, then they could be
included as appendices, although this will be more
important for the final dissertation than for this
report. Any appendices do not count towards the page
limit, but equally they are not treated as part of
the report for the purposes of assessing it. In
other words, there is no expectation that the
examiners should read the appendices as part of the
assessment process. Hence, it is important that any
material which will be significant to judging the
quality of the report or of the project as a whole
should be in the main body of the report, and not in
See also the page on writing and
This report will be examined by your supervisor and the
second examiner independently. Your supervisor will then
give detailed feedback, as well as an indicative mark, in
a subsequent meeting with you. The purpose of the
indicative mark is to provide you with an assessment of
the quality of your work. If this feedback has not
happened within two weeks of the start of semester 2,
please contact the
Project Officer. The categories listed below are
included on an assessment form that the supervisor and
second examiner will complete. Also included below is a
table that gives an indication of what is being looked for
in the overall work - note however that this is only a
Some of the questions that supervisor and second examiners
will consider in marking the report are:
- Quality of literature review / technology survey /
review of relevant mathematics / review of similar
software tools: The ability to
relevant work is being considered here.
- Quality of overall work (as ascertained from
the report): This category mainly focuses on the
analysis that has been done to date, and which should be
complete for most projects. However, since for some
types of project the analysis may be ongoing, this
category looks at the work as a whole.
- Amount of work completed: [somewhat
self-descriptive] The amount of work done in relation to
what could be reasonably expected to be done on the
particular project, given its level of difficulty and
the time available.
- Report presentation: The readability of the
report and the precision of its language will be judged
here, along with the overall presentation: sensible
notation, diagrams, layout, headings, references, etc.
- Is the project clearly defined?
- Are the objectives attainable?
- Does the student know what s/he is doing?
- Does the student have a clear understanding of what is
still required in order to produce a satisfactory final
- Is progress so far satisfactory?
- Does the literature survey synthesize information from
- Are sources suitably referenced and is the
bibliography/list of citations adequate?
- Have potential problems and possible
processes/tools/techniques been identified?
- Is the writing clear, precise and of the standard to
be expected for a degree in science or engineering?
- Is the plan of action realistic?
The following list gives an indication of what is being
looked for in the overall work to date. Note however that
this is only a guide.
||Sensible subdivision of material into chapters and
sections to produce a coherent and well-balanced
account. Good introduction chapter that puts the
case for the project and its aims. Review is well
researched. Thorough understanding of subject.
Focussed on topic. Factually correct. Addresses
issues critically. Analysis of problem area is
in-depth and requirements of project are clear.
Project evaluation is addressed with insight and
testing is properly covered. Diagrams/maths/tables
should be relevant and clearly presented.
Unambiguous and grammatically correct English.
Perfection is not essential. Some originality or
innovation. 80-89: indicates that the work has some
originality and with some further work could be of
publishable quality. 90-100: indicates originality
and work of publishable quality.
|| Well-organised with a sensible subdivision of
material into chapters and sections. Decent
introduction that generally makes the project aims
clear. Review shows some evidence of research. Good
understanding of subject. Predominantly focussed on
topic. Largely factually accurate. May contain some
irrelevant material. Analysis is generally good and
project requirements are clear. Decent attempt at
addressing issues of testing and evaluation.
Diagrams/maths/tables should be relevant and clearly
presented. Predominantly unambiguous and
grammatically correct English.
||Logical structure with sensible subdivision into
chapters and sections. Introduction chapter is
generally ok. Review is competent but generally
exhibits a basic understanding of the subject.
Largely focussed on topic. Largely factually
correct, but may contain some irrelevant material or
miss some important points. Analysis and
requirements are adequate. Evaluation and testing is
covered. Some use of diagrams/maths/tables, but may
be poorly organised. Clearly written overall, but
may be ambiguous in places and show lapses of
||Subdivided into chapters and sections, but not
particularly logical in flow of material within
chapters. Introduction chapter is unclear. Review,
analysis and requirements show an incomplete
understanding of subject. Poorly focussed with
either irrelevant material or a failure to
appreciate important points. Some material may be
incorrect. Poor or little use of
diagrams/tables/maths. Style and grammar poor.
|| Some attempt, but unfocussed with high content of
irrelevant material. Some material may be incorrect.
Poorly organised with major omissions and/or major
errors. Inadequate style and/or grammar.
In addition your supervisor will also be continually
judging your performance on
If either examiner has concerns about the report, it
may be necessary to hold a viva. This is likely when
progress on the project has been slow, and/or the
indicative mark is lower than 40%. It might also be held
if there are problems with the direction of the project,
and the student's attitude towards the work. In all cases
the viva will normally be held before the end of Semester
1, probably during the Semester 1 exam period.
You are required to submit the report electronically through MOLE by the deadline. You must include the declaration in your work.
You are required to submit the report electronically through MOLE by the deadline. BY SUBMITTING YOU AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING DECLARATION:
All sentences or passages quoted in this report from other people's work have been specifically acknowledged by clear cross-referencing to author, work and page(s).
Any illustrations which are not the work of the author of this report have been used with the explicit permission of the originator and are specifically acknowledged.
I understand that failure to do this amounts to plagiarism and will be considered grounds for failure in this project and the degree examination as a whole.