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University | Computing Science | Modules | CSCU9Z7 | Final stage
CSCU9Z7 Honours Projects Autumn/Spring 2017-18
menu Honours Projects Autumn/Spring 2017-18


Module details
Class of 2017-18
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Final Stage

At the final stage, during the Spring semester, you are required:

Please consult the deadlines to see when each item is due.


Copyright in reports and project results lies with the student and supervisor. You must acknowledge any material you use that was produced by others, and must obtain permission to reproduce copyright material.

Final Presentation

You are required to give a brief oral presentation of your project results. Please see the general information about the presentations and the schedule of presentations.

All project students are expected to attend all the presentations.

Final dissertation - general information

You must submit three unbound paper copies of the final report ("Honours Dissertation"). See the separate note about formatting and printing reports. The Division will bind the copies you submit. In addition, you must submit a digital copy of your report, your code and other project materials to the project repository.

One copy of the report will be returned to you after assessment, one will be retained by your supervisor, and one will be lodged in the Division's library. The Division may select the best reports for entry into competitions such as the "Young Software Engineer" award organised by the Scottish Software Federation. A selection of high quality dissertations may also be lodged in the University Library for future reference.

You may borrow past reports from the Division's "library" in 4B94 as a guide to what reports look like. If you borrow a report, please leave a note that you have done so. Past reports are apt to vanish accidentally! You can find dissertation examples in the University Library using this search.

If you use Microsoft Word (recommended) to prepare your dissertation, you must use the dissertation template. If yours is a more technical dissertations, and you prefer to use LaTeX, then please ask about a template. Remember to number the pages.

The final report should be roughly 15,000 words including appendixes (i.e. about 60 pages). Note that you should not artificially pad your report because it seems to be too small. In the past, successful dissertations have ranged from 12,000 to 20,000 words. The size of a report is rather project-dependent. Your report should cover the project adequately without being too terse or too verbose.

Supervisor feedback

You should discuss your plan for your dissertation with your supervisor, and show them drafts of your dissertation chapters before submitting the final dissertation. You are entitled to receive feedback on the content and structure, and you may wish (or not) to make revisions in the light of their feedback. However remember that it is your report and you have the final responsibility for its contents. In particular, correct spelling and good grammar are your responsibility - your supervisor may make general comments, but will not give detailed corrections.

Discuss with your supervisor how you would prefer to provide the drafts (all at once? chapters as finished? ...). It is recommended that you ask your supervisor for early feedback on your dissertation plan, and for feedback on individual (or groups of related) chapters as they reach "final draft" form - this will give you the opportunity to revise content and style for your continuing writing. Remember that your supervisor will probably also have several other supervisees' drafts to read!

You should not expect your supervisor to read drafts given to them less than two weeks from the final submission deadline.

Final dissertation structure

The following structure is suggested for the final report, although it will vary according to the project. This structure is not mandatory, but significant deviations should be agreed with your supervisor:

Cover Sheet
Give your project title, student name, student number and degree.
Summarise your project and its results - up to one page maximum.
You are required to include a short statement that you are aware of the nature of plagiarism, that you are aware of the University's policy on this (see section 6.8.4 onwards), and that your work is original. If there is any exception to this (e.g. you used text, diagrams or code from another source), you must acknowledge this and cite the source. If any of your work was undertaken away from the University (e.g. in conjunction with a company) or outside the project period (e.g. during a vacation job), you are required to state this.
Acknowledge any help you have received (e.g. from your supervisor, technical staff, other software that formed the basis of your own, financial and personal support).
Describe the problem that you tackled. Explain the scope and objectives of the project. State your achievements and the contributions you have made. Explain how others will benefit from these. Give a brief overview of the dissertation.
State of the Art
Discuss the work of others in the same area as your project. Show a critical awareness of what others have done, and how you extended or complemented existing capabilities. Avoid a banal description of related work that does not carefully analyse its strengths and weaknesses.
Technical Description
This part will consist of a series of chapters describing the system you built, and how you built it. For a software development project, you might consider basing chapters on the software life-cycle: requirements, system architecture and high-level design, low-level design and implementation, testing. Besides functional aspects, you should also describe non-functional aspects such as performance and reliability. For a non-software project, some other logical structure should be adopted.

It is important to demonstrate that your approach has been that of a computing professional. Systematic procedures should therefore be seen to have been used. Awareness of relevant professional issues should arise at appropriate points. Where appropriate, you should report on acceptance testing with your "clients" and trials with potential end-users.

The technical description must not consist mainly of a series of screenshots of your system's user interface - a few pages of illustrative screenshots is acceptable, but the dissertation must describe and discuss the work done.
Summarise what you have achieved and the main results. Give pointers to possible future developments from your work. Reflect on your results in isolation and in relation to what others have achieved in the same field. This self-analysis is particularly important. You should give a critical evaluation of what went well, and what might be improved.
Cite any documents that your refer to within the report. You should use the IEEE convention. Please see the separate note about the IEEE referencing style. You should not use footnotes to give the details of references.
Put bulky or reference material into appendixes. Material suitable for an appendix includes things like a software installation or usage guide, detailed algorithms and data structures, and extensive tables or graphs of results.
You must not put full code listings in the appendices. Your code and other project materials must be submitted to the project digital repository.

Final Report Assessment

Work which is submitted for assessment must be your own work. All students should note that the University has a formal policy on plagiarism (see section 6.8.4 onwards). Plagiarism means presenting the work of others as though it were your own. The University takes a very serious view of plagiarism, and the penalties can be severe. Specific guidance on computing assignments may be found in the Computing Science Student Handbook.

You are required to submit your dissertation through Turnitin as well as on paper. Go to the Succeed module page for CSCU9Z7, login using your University username and password, then click Turnitin Submissions in the menu on the left, then View/Complete below Final Report, and provide a Microsoft Word or PDF version of your report. Check the TurnItIn response for anything that needs attention. For example you might quote from other sources when discussing state-of-the-art but forget to cite these, or you might use a diagram without acknowledging the source. Even if TurnItIn says the report is OK, check for other potential issues (e.g. using third-party code but forgetting to acknowledge this).

The final work is formally assessed and counts as 80% of the overall project mark. Two aspects of the final work are assessed: the technical content of the work (weighted 70%) and its presentational standard (weighted 30%). The markers will be looking carefully at the following aspects of your work:

  • problem discussion: well defined? properly analysed? aware of state-of-the-art?
  • problem solution: methodical approach? decisions justified? limitations noted?
  • level of difficulty vs achievements: technical challenges? problems beyond student's control? completeness?
  • presentation: standard of writing? quality of diagrams? logical exposition?

The technical content (weight 0.7) is marked against the University's Undergraduate Common Marking Scheme Descriptors, with the following rough weightings of the different aspects of the report:

Abstract/Introduction 10%
Background/State of the art 20%
Technical description 40%
Evaluation and Conclusions 20%
References 10%

Project Work Book and Source Code

Along with the final report you are required to submit the original of your project log book. The log book is not assessed in itself, but is taken into account when the technical aspects of your work are graded. The log book will be returned to you after assessment.

Project source code and materials

You are also required to submit to the project repository one copy of all programs, specifications and data that you developed during the project. This is usually bulky archival material that is not appropriate for the final report. Your supervisor is also likely to appreciate a copy of your files.

Final Demonstration

You are required to demonstrate your final "system" to your supervisor and second marker before the end of the Spring semester. The demonstration is not assessed in itself, but is taken into account when the technical aspects of your work are graded.

Updated 11/09/17 21:44
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