MSci Projects 2011-2012
This web page contains general information about the 4th year MSci modules
G54MIP and G54MGP.
For more information, you should read the module details
in the UoN Module Catalogue.
Dissertation submission instructions
Dissertation submission instructions (paper and electronic) are available
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- G54MIP MSci Individual Project
The G54MIP MSci Individual project is similar in concept to the third year Individual Dissertation project (G53IDS and similar module codes) that you will have already undertaken as part of your third year of studies. However, the major difference is in the extent of the project and the intended target deliverable. There are two broad types of MSci Individual project:
- Research Oriented Projects: The project will be undertaken with a supervisor with specific research experience in the topic area, with the intended target deliverable of one (or more) external reports, such as research manuscript(s). Any manuscript will be authored jointly with the supervisor, and may include other post-graduate students and/or research staff. There should be a realistic expectation at the start of the project that a manuscript will be written which may be submitted to an external research conference (or even a scientific journal).
- Software Development Oriented Projects: The project will be undertaken under the guidance of a supervisor and should aim to deliver a software product to, or evaluate the software with, a specific external sponsor. This external sponsor could be another member of staff within the University (including in Computer Science), a Research Group, a user group, business, charity, local organisation, etc. The external sponsor may be involved in the specification, design, implementation or evaluation of the product, or any combination of these parts.
- G54MGP MSci Group Project
- Group Development Project: The project will be similar in nature to the second year Software Engineering Group Project (G52GRP), but of a greater scope and extent. A group of (normally) between 3 and 4 students will work collaboratively to develop a specific deliverable product of substantial size which, again, should have some form of external aspect. A group project may, as with individual projects, be tailored towards either research or software development, but must require substantial efforts from all members of the group and have specifically identified roles for the participants. That is, it must be clear as to how and why the project justifies the need for a group effort. Examples might include: (i) a collaborative research project combining a set of interlinked theoretical and practial studies, incuding carrying out series of experiments, which will then be written up in the form of several research manuscripts; or (ii) a software development project requiring extensive design, implementation and evaluation, which may gather requirements from an external customer, implement software, evaluate the software on a substantial user group, and demonstrate the software at an external event (such as a trade show).
Choosing a Project and Supervisor
You need to find a supervisor and agree your project topic by the 7th October 2011. The sooner you do this, the more choice you will have, as supervisor places fill up and you may not be able to find a supervisor who is willing to supervise the project you want to work on.
A list of supervisors and project topics areas they offer is given on
http://groups.cs.nott.ac.uk/G53IDS/ (i.e. the same topic areas as for third year projects).
You can also come up with your own project topic, but you need to discuss it with a supervisor to make sure it is appropriate and the supervisor is happy to supervise it.
Once you have identified a topic area, you must discuss the manner in which it will constitute an MSci project (as opposed to a third year project) with the supervisor, bearing in mind the descriptions above.
Please ask your supervisor to sign you up using the CS marks server at http://groups.cs.nott.ac.uk/G53IDS/.
If you wish to undertake an MSci group project, then you should identify the other students with which you wish to work, and approach a supervisor as a group. Normally, this will be done in response to any supervisor who has specifically indicated the possibility of a group project on their ideas pages. However, it is possible for a group to identify their own project and approach a supervisor.
Once you have identified your project topic area, either as an MSci Individual Project or an MSci Group Project, you must write a brief (one to two page) description, discuss this with your supervisor and email a draft to the module convenor, Jon Garibaldi by the interim deadline (see below). You must have your project approved by the convenor prior to commencing any work on it.
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Deliverables and Dates
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- 7 October 2011: Deadline for students to agree a project topic with a supervisor. Students who have not found a supervisor by this date will be randomly assigned to available supervisors.
- 14 October 2011: Interim deadline for submission of your project proposal in the form of an outline project plan (approximately 2 pages) to your supervisor, and emailed to the module convenor, Jon Garibaldi. See below for the required contents of the project plan. Your supervisor will give you formative feedback on your project proposal: you must revise your project plan according to your supervisor's feedback.
- 28 October 2011: Final deadline for submission of your revised project proposal (in pdf). You should make your submission using the cw coursework submission system, using coursework id 410. Your project proposal and plan are not marked (see above), however if you do not submit a project proposal you will not be allowed to proceed and may fail the module.
- 12 December 2011: Interim presentation. You must present an outline of the progress of your project so far, and a plan of work for completeing the project. Individual projects will be allocated 10 mins for the presentation, plus 5 mins for questions; group projects will be allocated 25 mins, plus 5 for questions. The interim presentation comprises 10% of the module mark.
- 17 May 2012: Deadline for submission of your dissertation. You must submit your project dissertation (in pdf) and code in electronic form, and two paper copies of the dissertation. Details of the suggested dissertation structure can be found in the Dissertation section and assessment criteria in the Assessment Criteria section. The dissertation comprises 80% of the module mark.
- 18 May 2012: Final Presentation/Demonstration Day. You will give a final presentation / demonstration of your project. Assessment is based on the overall quality of the project, specifically focussing on the external deliverable aspect (e.g. software for a Software Development Project, research deliverable for a Research Oriented Project). The final presentation / demonstration mark comprises 10% of the mark for the module.
For a Software Development Project, the final presentation / demonstration may consist of a few slides outlining the aims and objectives of the project, and summarising the achievements, with an associatde 'live' demonstration of your working software.
For a Research Oriiented Project, the final presentation / demonstration is likely to consist of a presentation (only), with a specific focus on the external deliverable aspect. If, for example, the external deliverable was a research (conference) publication, then the final presentation should focus on presenting the contents of this publication.
The final presentation / demonstrations will take place in C1, and it is the student's responsibility to ensure that they can adequately present / demonstrate the project and any associated software. If any specialist hardware is required, then this should be arranged before-hand (it is perfectly acceptable to carry out a software demonstration on your own laptop, for example).
The MSci project plan should be a two page document (two sides of A4), containing:
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- Project Title
- Background: Briefly describe the background to the project, importance / need of the area, and motivation for carrying out the proposed work.
- Aim(s) and Objectives: The aim is a single sentence describing at a high-level what the point of the project is and what will be achieved. The objectives are sub-components of the general aim, detailing the individual aspects which need to be achieved in order to deliver the aim(s).
- External Aspect: Briefly identify the external aspect (customer/ deliverable/ user group/ etc.) of the project which distinguishes the project as an MSci project rather than a third-year individual dissertation project.
- Workplan: Describing the tasks to be carried out, timescales, deliverables and key dates (interim, final report, etc.). The timeplan should be realistic and should take into account other commitments such as exam periods, holidays, etc.
Requesting hardware and software
The School policy on software and hardware support for project work is explained here .
If you need special hardware and software for your project, and your supervisor agrees, you can submit
an equipment request here . When you submit the request,
an email will be sent to the supervisor to approve it.
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The recommended dissertation structure for a Software Development Oriented Project is given below, but note that this is for guidance only: variations are possible depending on the type of project. In particular, Research Oriented project dissertations may have a quite different structure, with far more empahsis on methods and analysis, such as a classic scientific layout of Introduction, Background (literature review), Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions, etc.
You should discuss the structure of your dissertation with your supervisor prior to submission.
- Individual Projects: Word limit: 15-20,000 words
- Title page with a signed declaration that the dissertation is your own work. You are reminded of the University's policy on plagiarism
- Abstract giving a short overview of the work in your project.
- Table of contents giving page numbers for all major section headings.
- Introduction setting out the aims and objectives of your project.
- Motivation explaining the problem being solved.
- Description of the work explaining what your project is meant to achieve, how it is meant to function, perhaps even a functional specification.
- Related work explaining what your project does that is new or is better than existing work in the same field.
- Design containing a comprehensive description of the design chosen, how it addresses the problem, and why it is designed the way it is.
- Implementation containing a comprehensive description of the implementation of your software, including the language(s) and platform chosen, problems encountered, any changes made to the design as a result of the implementation, etc.
- Evaluation and External Aspects explaining how your software was tested (using different datasets or in different environments), statistical evaluation of performance, results of user evaluation questionnaires, etc. You should explicitly address how your project fulfilled (or not) its original intentions with regard to its 'external aspect'.
- Summary and Reflections including a personal reflection on your experience of the project and a critical appraisal of how the project went.
- Bibliography containing a complete list of books and other publications that are either explicitly referred to in the text, or which are recommended for further reading on the topic.
- Appendices e.g., User Manuals, supporting evidence for claims made in the main part of the dissertation (e.g. a copy of a user evaluation questionnaire), samples of test data, etc. Note that Appendices are optional.
- Group Projects: Group Report and Individual Report (provisionally: each equally weighted, i.e. each contributing 40% of the 80% available)
- Group Common Report (Word limit: 10,000 words) A common group report of similar overall structure to the individual report structure as described above, but without a section on Summary and Reflections (as this part is included in expanded form in your individual report as described below).
- Group Individual Report (Word limit: 10,000 words)
A structured report containing your personal contributions to the group work, and a critical appraisal of how the project went, including comments on how the group functioned together and the repsective contributions of other group members. This individual report does not to have to follow the same structure as above, nor should it simply duplicate material contained in the group report. It should describe your personal contributions in more detail than in the group report. Consequently, the headings within your group individual report should be tailored to your contribution. For example, if you carried out software development, while your group partner carried out all other aspects, your individual reports would be structured completely differently. Whatever the exact structure, you must include explicit separate sections on self-reflection (what you contributed to the group), group-reflection (how the group functioned together), and peer-reflection (what you believe other members of the group contributed). The collective 'reflection' sections may be used by the supervisor as a basis for moderating the mark awared for the Group Common Project to individual members of the group. That is, it is possible that not all members of the group will receive the same mark for the Group Common Report, if it is decided that group members have made unequal contributions. Note that, 'unequal contributions' does not mean all group members must do the same thing; group members almost certainly will have different roles and will make different contributions. The supervisor will assess, in conjunction with the respective reflections, whether these various contributions deserve equal or unequal marks.
Note: Word limits do not include appendices or other supporting
documentation. Your dissertation should not exceed the word limit. You
do not have to use up your word limit to get a good grade; never `pad
out' your dissertation, this will only annoy the markers.
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The general guidelines on the assessment criteria for MSci 4th year projects are broadly similar to those for 3rd year Individual projects
There will, however, be a particular focus on the external aspect of your project, as previously agreed in your project specification.
MSci projects are not just repeats of 3rd year projects, and a generally higher level of performance,
specifically in terms of delivery of the external aspect, will be required to achieve the respective grades.
This file is maintained by Jon Garibaldi