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CSCU9Z7 Honours Projects Autumn/Spring 2017-18
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Module details
Class of 2017-18
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Project Work Book Structure

You must submit a project work book along with the interim and final reports. Although the work book is submitted only at these times, your supervisor will expect to review it regularly and to initial it as having been seen. The work book must be written as you go along, not after the fact!

The work book is intended to be a collection of informal notes for your benefit. For example you may find it surprisingly difficult to remember why you made certain design decisions six months earlier, or may have lost a reference to a paper or web page you found useful. Every entry should have a date so the history of the work can be reviewed and it is not just a loose collection of notes. At a minimum the work book must contain:

Title page
Give your project title, name, student registration number and supervisor name.
Weekly Progress
Record what you did on a week by week basis at a minimum - though actually you should be adding notes continually, it is most useful that way.
Supervisor Meetings
Record key items from discussions with your supervisor.

The work book should be maintained spontaneously. For this reason, it is acceptable that entries be handwritten, and do not need to be in perfect polished prose! Indeed you should treat it like a scrapbook in which you record anything useful - a simple strategy is to never write anywhere else!

Sample entries from a fictitious work book are appended. Your entries might include things like:

Write down references to any paper you read or URL you consulted. Also references and URLs that you hear/read about that might be useful.
Problems and Solutions
Record any problems you found. Also record the solutions you considered and why you chose a particular approach, or what approaches failed and why.
Design sketches/diagrams
We often sketch out ideas for data structures, algorithms, processes, user interfaces, interaction storyboards... They are not throwaway rubbish!
To Do
Make a note of things you have to do so that you do not forget them.

Be honest in your work book! You will not be penalised for recording things that went wrong. On the contrary, a work book that reports smooth progress may look suspicious. Do not try to go back over your work book and edit out the 'problematic' parts.

Some work book advice on ScienceBuddies:

Project Work Book Assessment

The project work book will be formally reviewed by your supervisor and your second marker at both the interim and final stages of the project. The work book is not assessed in itself, but it is considered when allocating a technical grade. For example, your work book could confirm a methodical approach to the project or could act as evidence of difficulties beyond your control.

The scientific greats kept notebooks...

Project Work Book Entries

The following two examples suggest the kinds of things your work book might contain. The first is very basic, straightforward style, whereas the second contains a large amount of detail (possibly too much!) and would be well suited to an electronic work book.

First sample

Project Work Book: Telecommunications Service Engineering

Student: Kurt Jenner, 9801432

Supervisor: Dr. John Brown

25/05/09: Agreed preliminary project definition with JB

To Do: Write up more detailed project plan over summer, get hold of Recommendation Q.1200

18/08/09: Meeting with JB

Reported work over the summer: studied IN recommendations, looked at BT's Select Services, experimented with Visual C++.

JB suggests using Java rather than C++ for implementation. Also look at papers in LNCS 1049 and March 09 issue of CACM. Study credit card billing and charge card services first; leave call waiting and call return till later.

To Do: For next meeting, update project plan with changed deliverables. Get hold of good Java book! Check SUN web site for current version of Spring.

20/08/09: Downloaded JDK 1.7 but it doesn't work. Maybe the search path is wrong or I forgot to install some classes?

21/08/09: Got Java working - wrong version of class library. 'Hello World' and 'Calculator' examples run OK. Found a URL that explains how Tomcat handles Java:

Also found Hinge & Bracket book in library on developing telecomms software in Java. Don't forget to reference JB's most recent paper:

John Brown. An Architectural Foundation for Relating Features. In P. Dini, R. Boutaba and L. Workrippo, editors, Proc. Feature Interactions in Telecommunication Networks, pages 226-241, IOS Press, Amsterdam, 2008.

Found following picture in this paper. Stick into dissertation, but get permission first!!

Work Book

Second sample

An extract of an actual project work book is available online. This shows examples of good practice such as:

  • entries are made regularly (every couple of days), showing evidence of steady work and a record of the challenges faced
  • entries are detailed and contain useful information for a future write-up
  • entries note problems and solutions for future reference.

Updated 11/09/17 22:54
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