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Department of Computer Science and

Technology

Student Handbook
CIS000-6 MSc Project
Academic year 2014/15

Project Co-ordinator
Dr Simant Prakoonwit
Simant.Prakoonwit@beds.ac.uk
Rm C105a

1. Introduction
Whether the you progresses to further study or into employment, one of the most
important skills expected of a computing professional is the ability to work on your
own project successfully. MSc projects provide the opportunity for you to engage in
an extended piece of independent research. Projects are not extended labs or
practicals - you are expected to work primarily on your own, while liasing regularly
with your supervisor. The guideance given in this handbook is addressed to students
taking CIS000-6 MSc Project unit.
knowledge and skills gained from other units, and from their wider educational and
working background (e.g. their first degree which may be in a subject area rather
than computing), in a major integrative exercise. The project unit is an ideal vehicle
for this purpose. You will be expected to develop an idea (most likely generated by a
member of academic staff) and demonstrate your ability to develop it further,
producing a suitable artefact by applying their technical, analytical, practical and
managerial skills in an integrated manner. You are required to emphasise on a topic
which sufficiently reflects on the course you are studying.
1.1 Aims

demonstrate that they have the appropriate level of intellectual skill i.e. the
abilities to synthesise, criticise, develop and integrate material that they have
met in the taught part of their particular course of study
develop the ability to identify problems, analyse situations and develop
solutions
develop the ability of project management to schedule their time and work,
and schedule resources, assisted by supervision
carry out and present in an organised way a substantial body of original work.

1.2 Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Assessment Criteria

On completion of this unit you should be


able to:

To achieve the learning outcome you must


demonstrate the ability to:

Demonstrate competence in abstracting a


wealth of current information from literature
or situations

Comprehensive literature review in the


project area,
Comparative study / analysis of existing work
where possible,
Useful conclusions drawn from literature
review for the project work.

Devise and follow a clear process of


investigation, assimilating material in an
effective manner and work creatively under
guidance of a member of staff

Clear definition of project problem and related


issues,
Effective investigation process proposed and
applied in the project work,
Good project planning and management
including regular and effective meetings with
the supervisor.

Demonstrate the ability to analyse


situations, isolate problem areas and
propose solutions in relation to their course
of study

In-depth analysis of problem identified,


Clear and appropriate project specifications
and design,
Suitable methodologies / technologies
proposed.

Critically evaluate a specialist area,


applying knowledge and skills in a practical
way

Effective implementation and testing of


project design,
Identification of appropriate evaluation
methods / measures,
Qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation of
project work with the methods / measures.

Establish and specify the contribution to


knowledge achieved through in-depth
research and extend current thinking to
cater for future developments in the field

Incorporation of research findings in the


project work,
Substantial conclusions made from the work
undertaken,
Demonstration of potential of further
developments of the project work

Plan and present a comprehensive thesis in


a professional manner according to the
project timescale

Thesis logically laid out and well presented,


Thesis drafted from early dates of project and
developed progressively,
Sufficient coverage and concise description
of project work.

More details can be found in CIS004-6 Unit Information Form.

2. Instructions
You need to have 120 credits to be allowed to officially register for this unit and begin
your project. In other words, you need to pass all eight taught units.
MSc projects are conducted individually. Each project will be supervised by an
academic.
Project preparation will begin before or at the beginning of each semester. A series of
project workshop will be held by the Project Co-ordinator to:
- familiarise students with project process
- inform students of project requirements

- support students in research methods


- enable students to prepare a Project Proposal Form
- provide students with guidance to poster production, thesis writing up and oral
presentation
You are given an opportunity to find your own supervisor. If you cannot find an
academic who agrees to supervise you, a supervisor will be allocated to you by the
Project Co-ordinator.
If your supervisor does not have a project topic for your. You are expected to discuss
with your supervisor to determine possible project topic. You are encouraged to
suggest topics and agree a project title with your supervisor. However, you cannot
choose a topic without the active involvement of your supervisor.
Your project topic must sufficiently reflect on the course you are studying.
Your Project Proposal Form (PPF), see Appendix A, must be completed by you
under the supervision of your supervisor. The appropriateness, academic level,
technical content, resource requirements, time scale, original nature, vocational
relevance of the proposed project must be considered in your Project Proposal
Form. Your supervisor and you must agree on a finalised proposal and project plan.
Your Course Co-ordinator and, if necessary, the academic members of the Course
Team will then screen all project proposals in your course to ensure that your project
is relevant to your degree pathway and to ensure a consistency across the course.
You also have to submit your Ethics Form (Appendix A). The form must be
completed and signed. If you do not submit the form, you are not allowed to
complete your project.
Important project elements

Artefact - As potential Information Systems Engineers (the British Computer


Societys definition) students will actually need to engineer (i.e. build)
something. This will probably be an artefact in the form of software, but it
might be more conceptual (a design or method for example).
Contribution to knowledge - The project is the main way in which
postgraduates show their potential for PhD work. This is achieved by making
a contribution to knowledge in the field of Information Systems Technologies.

3. Assessments
3.1 Deliverables
Interim report (20%)

Project Proposal Form (5%)


Project proposal that details the problem statement and objectives of the
project, including an outline of the artefact, methodology to be used, required
resources to realise the artefact and identification of any ethical issues.
Contextual Review (15%)
Comprehensive primary and secondary research to support the workings of
the project. The analysis of which should result in artefact specification and
design blueprints (which in turn would be used to realise artefact).

Final report (80%)

Project Management (10%)


Management of project work (effective meetings with supervisor, initiatives
shown in project definition, documentation, timing, process of investigation,
etc).
Thesis Report (50%)
Quality of analysis, originality and depth, artefact produced, research
conducted and references used, and overall presentation including structure
and clarity.
Poster (10%)
Presentation of overall work via a poster (conformance of requirements,
relevance, detail, quality of presentation, ability to defend, etc).
Oral Presentation (10%)
Presentation, clarity, knowledge and questions and answers.
See project guidelines in Appendix B.

3.2 Tasks and deadlines

Assignment
Ethics Form

Deadline/task
(the exact dates and times for each semester are announced
on BREO)
Student
Supervisor/2nd Marker
End of teaching week 2
Supervisor: check if the
- Submit your signed Ethics form to Ethic form is properly
CATS Faculty Office.
signed and upload
- Scan your signed Ethics form and correctly on BREO.
submit it on BREO.
Notes:
- Your Ethics form must be signed
by you, your supervisor and Course
Co-ordinator, otherwise it is not
valid.
- If you do not submit your valid
Ethics form, both on BREO and the
hard copy, you will not be allowed to
proceed with your project.

1. Interim report (20%)


1.1 Project proposal
form (5%)
1.2 Contextual review
(15%)

End of teaching week 7: submit


interim report (project proposal
form, and contextual review).
- Interim report: submit on BREO

2. Final report (80%)

3. Viva

End of teaching Week 12


- Final report: submit on BREO + 2
hardcopies to the Assignment Office
During teaching weeks 13-15

End of teaching week


10
- Complete double
marking by supervisors
and 2nd markers.
- Supervisors submit the
agreed marks to the
Project Co-ordinator and
PG Programme
Administrator

Teaching weeks 13-15


Supervisors and 2nd
markers mark the final
reports and arrange
vivas.
End of teaching week
15
- Supervisor submit the
agreed marks to the
Project Co-Ordinator and
PG Programme
Administrator

3.3 Important note on the submission process


You must follow the submission instructions carefully. According to the University's
policy, "where students have been requiredin the assessment brief to submit written
coursework in hard copy throughthe assessment handling system in addition to the
standard Universityrequirement of electronic submission through Turnitin, but have
failed tosubmit through both methods (but have submitted through one method), it
hasbeen agreed with the Director of Teaching & Learning that this work shouldnot be
viewed as a non-submission (i.e. should not receive an automatic 0 Ggrade). In
these cases the student should receive a grade 1 F-."

3.4 Project marking process


Second marker will be appointed for your project. All assessments will be
independently double marked by your supervisor and the second marker according
to the process described in the University Quality Handbook Chapter 8. To ensure a
consistency of the grades awarded across the course, the Course Co-ordinator and,

if necessary, the academic members of the Course Team will check all grades to
make sure that they are consistent and conform to the marking schemes.

Marking Scheme

Final report and viva

Interim report

G/F
0/1/2

E
4

D
567

C
8 9 10

PROJECT
PROPOSAL
FORM
50% Description
of artefact
50% Project
methodology

No submission
Description of
artefact does not
match course
of study Vague
discussion of
artifact
Irrelevant/vague
methodology

Description of
artefact
rather
superficial
Lacks
intellectual
challenge
No added
value
Methodology
lacks depth
and rather
superficial

Basic
structure of
artefact,
but with
notable
shortcomings
Minimal
added value
highlighted
Basic
methodology
described, but
with notable
shortcomings

Satisfactory
attempt at
depicting
features of
artifact, with
some
relevant
added value
Satisfactory
attempt at
depicting the
development
approach

LITERATURE
SEARCH
50%
Comparative
presentation
50%
Comparative
analysis

No / poor
literature
research.

Weak
literature
research.
Rather vague.

Acceptable
literature
research,
though
requires
better
description of
existing
products or
systems.

Satisfactory
literature
research, with
some useful
insights.
Basic
comparative
analysis
provided.

PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
/ CONDUCT
50% Planning
and
Meetings
30% Initiative
20% Process of
Investigation

No / rare
meetings
arranged/attende
d.
No initiatives
undertaken.
No motivation
shown.
Did not follow
schedule/
instructions.

Infrequent /
irrelevant
meetings
arranged /
attended.
Showed
some interest,
but weak all
round.

Satisfactory
meetings
arranged and
attended.
Satisfactory
initiative
shown, but
could have
done better.
Some
investigation
undertaken.

POSTER
30% Content
20%
Presentation
50% Q/A

No / poor, or
irrelevant poster.
Poor explanation.

Basic poster
but lacks
relevant detail
and
presentation.
Some
understandin
g.

Some
meetings
arranged /
attended.
Showed
some
initiative, but
rather limited.
Undertook
some
investigation,
but rather
brief.
Basic poster,
with relevant
content that
needs
improving
Satisfactory
understandin
g.

THESIS
5%
Presentation
5% Structure
30% Analysis
and synthesis
30% Originality
and contribution
10% Research
and references
20% Quality of
artefact

No / poor, or
irrelevant thesis.
Poor structure
and presentation.
No research,
analysis or
synthesis.
No / poor or
irrelevant artefact.

Weak thesis.
Basic
contents, but
lacks flow,
structure and
understandin
g.
Minimal
research with
textbooks,
analysis and
synthesis.
Weak artefact
requires the
addition of

Reasonable
thesis.
Reasonable
presentation
and structure.
Some
research with
refereed
publications,
analysis and
synthesis, but
rather limited.
Some original
ideas, but
rather brief.

Satisfactory
thesis. Good
presentation
and
structure.
Satisfactory
research with
refereed
publications,
analysis
and synthesis
using good
range of
references.
Original ideas

Satisfactory
poster, with
notable
content and
presentation.
Good
understandin
g.

B
11 12 13

A
14 15 16

Weigh
t

Good artefact
description
based on
relevant
context
Relevant
features
showing
some real
added value
Methodology
described
shows good
understanding
of project
needs
Good
literature
research with
useful,
relevant and
in- depth
discussion.
Good
comparative
analysis
presented.
Good
productive
meetings
arranged and
attended.
Good initiative
shown. Good
investigation
undertaken
with
necessary
documentatio
n.
Wellpresented
poster, with
clear
diagrams and
detailed
content.
Good
knowledge of
relevant
issues.
Good Thesis.
Overall good
presentation
and structure.
Good
research with
refereed
publications,
analysis and
synthesis
using a wide
range of
references.
Good original
ideas leading

Excellent
artefact
portrayal,
with clear
range of
added
features and
context
Excellent and
clear
exhibition of
methodology.

0.05

Excellent
literature
research with
substantial
discussion.
Excellent
comparative
analysis
demonstrated
.

0.15

Excellent
productive
meetings
arranged and
attended.
Excellent
initiative
shown.
Excellent
investigation
undertaken
with a full
portfolio.
Excellent
poster.
Excellent
understandin
g and
knowledge of
relevant
issues.

0.1

Excellent
thesis. Well
structured
and
presented.
Excellent
research with
refereed
publications,
analysis and
synthesis
with welldefined
methodology
and

0.5

0.1

Superviso
r
Grade
point

ORAL
PRESENTATIO
N
20% Technical
presentation
30% Clarity
50% Q/A

No / poor
presentation.
Poor presentation
of work.
Poor Q/A.

relevant and
important
features.

Reasonable
artefact but
requires
improving.

leading to
satisfactory
relevant
artefact.

to good
relevant
artefact.

Weak
presentation.
Shows little
knowledge
and work.
Weak Q/A.

Reasonable
presentation.
Shows some
knowledge
and work, but
rather basic.
Reasonable
Q/A.

Satisfactory
presentation.
Shows good
knowledge
and work, but
not
widespread.
Satisfactory
Q/A.

Good Thesis.
Overall good
presentation
and structure.
Good
research with
refereed
publications,
analysis and
synthesis
using a wide
range of
references.
Good original
ideas leading
to good
relevant
artefact.

evaluation.
Excellent
original ideas
leading to
excellent
artefact
overall.
Excellent
presentation.
Shows
excellent and
original
widespread
understandin
g
and work.
Excellent
Q/A.

0.1

3.5 Referral and retake


If you fail to meet the learning outcomes for the above assessments and are
referred, there will be an opportunity to repeat the assignment and examination at a
time to be indicated on BREO.
If you do not submit the interim report and/or final report by the deadlines, this will be
considered as a non-submission case. You will not be given an opportunity to submit
your referral work. You have to retake the whole unit and start your project again on
a new topic from the beginning.

4. Plagiarism and Referencing


Note that any help or use of external sources must be clearly acknowledged and
referenced. This includes asking other students for help, asking for guidance and
help in internet forums, use of example code that is available on the internet or in
books, use of third-party, open-source source. Any embedded code which does not
originate from you must be clearly marked as such in the source code. If in doubt,
ask your tutor if and how you can use a particular source.
Referencing must follow the UoB Harvard Referencing System.
See http://lrweb.beds.ac.uk/guides/referencing for details.
The project report must be self-contained and will therefore contain a literature
review. You can re-use your contextual report as part of the final thesis.

5. Referrences on computer science projects

Dawson, C., Projects in Computing and Information Systems: a Students


Guide, 2nd Edition, Addison Wesley, 2009
Berndtsson, M., Hansson, J., Olsson, B., Lundell, B., Thesis Projects: a Guide
for Students in Computer Science and Information Systems, 1 st Edition,
Springer, 2007

APPENDIX A
MSc Project Proposal Form
AY12/13, Semester 1

Student Number
Student Name
Degree Course
Supervisor Name
Title of Project
Description of your artefact

Context of project with reference to


relevant existing products, services
and work (ie how does your artefact
relate to what other people have
done)
Aim & objectives of the project
List of features that the artefact will
include
Identify added value that the project
provides
Identify the intellectual challenges
involved

What methodology (structured


process) will you be following
to realise your artefact?

Describe approach that will be


employed to develop your project
artefact (this should also show how
you plan to test and evaluate the
work)
Justify the appropriateness and
suitability of your approach for
realising your artefact

How does your project relate to


your degree course and build
upon the units/knowledge you
have studied/acquired
Resources

Highlight aspects of the project that


correlate with knowledge and skills
acquired from your course of study

List ALL the resources required to


develop your artefact
Be clear on which packages, tools,
languages and environments will be

used and are available on campus

Note: this form must be accompanied by Ethics Form


Supervisors Signature

Date:

Course Co-ordinators
Signature

Date

IMPORTANT:
After the proposal form and ethics form have been signed off by both the Supervisor
and Course Co-ordinator, the student must scan both signed proposal form and
ethics form, then upload both of them on BREO in one file.
The original hardcopies of the proposal form and ethics from can then be submitted
to the Faculty Office.
Failure to follow this process will result in the cancellation of the project and there
will be no compensation for any time lost.

SECTION B

Check List

Please answer the following questions by circling YES or NO as appropriate.


1. Does the study involve vulnerable participants or those unable to give informed consent (e.g.
children, people with learning disabilities, your own students)?
YES

NO

2. Will the study require permission of a gatekeeper for access to participants (e.g. schools, selfhelp groups, residential homes)?
YES

NO

3. Will it be necessary for participants to be involved without consent (e.g. covert observation in
non-public places)?
YES

NO

4. Will the study involve sensitive topics (e.g. obtaining information about sexual activity,
substance abuse)?
YES

NO

5. Will blood, tissue samples or any other substances be taken from participants?
YES

NO

6. Will the research involve intrusive interventions (e.g. the administration of drugs, hypnosis,
physical exercise)?
YES

NO

7. Will financial or other inducements be offered to participants (except reasonable expenses or


small tokens of appreciation)?
YES

NO

8. Will the research investigate any aspect of illegal activity (e.g. drugs, crime, underage alcohol
consumption or sexual activity)?
YES

NO

9. Will participants be stressed beyond what is considered normal for them?


YES

NO

10. Will the study involve participants from the NHS (patients or staff) or will data be obtained
from NHS premises?
YES

NO

If the answer to any of the questions above is Yes, or if there are any other significant ethical issues,
then further ethical consideration is required. Please document carefully how these issues will be
addressed.

Signed (student):
Signed (Supervisor):
Signed (Course Co-ordinator):

Date:
Date:
Date:

APPENDIX B
MSc Final Project Report Guidelines
Structure of the Final Project Report
The main body of the Report is subdivided into logical sections, or chapters. The structure
should follow the following example format (the details may vary depending on your
particular project):

Title page
-

Abstract

Acknowledgements

Dedication

Key words

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction, Aims and Objectives

Chapter 2 Literature review

Chapter 3 Artefact Design, Development & Testing

Chapter 4 Testing and Evaluation

Chapter 5 Conclusions & Further Work

References

Appendices

Title Page (Report Frontcover)


This should give:
-

the students name


the students number
the title of project
the degree title (e.g. MSc Computer Networking)
MSc Final Project Report
department
[e.g. Department of Computer Science & Technology
The University of Bedfordshire]
the supervisors name
the date (AY11/12) of writing the report

You are expected to use the following template for the Title Page

Your Name Here


Student ID Here

Title of Report Here


Degree Title Here (e.g. MSc Computer Networking)
MSc Project Final Report
Department of Computer Science and Technology
Supervisor: .
Semester and Academic Year here (e.g. Semester 3, Academic Year 2012/13)

Abstract
The abstract should be a concise summary of the study, identifying the nature and scope,
the major findings and the contribution to the overall field of the subject. Abstracts give the
reader an overview and feel for the work without first having to study the whole project.
The abstract must be succinct (not exceeding 200 words) and clearly written. It is important
to note that the abstract is not an introduction.
Acknowledgements
This section should be used to state the names of the individuals who provided substantial
help. Care must be taken not to forget the supervisor!!
Dedication
The author usually dedicates the project to their spouse, parents, dog, or whomever they
choose. This decision is left to the individual.
Keywords
Assume that the project is to be converted to electronic form (e.g. CDROM or Internet). You
need to supply key words and/or phrases so that researchers can locate the project by
means of searches. The total number of key words must not exceed eight.
The Contents Page
The Contents should be structured by 'nesting' as shown in the example:
Contents List
1.
1.1
1.2

CHAPTER TITLE
Sub-section Title
Sub-section Title

2.
2.1
2.2

CHAPTER TITLE
Sub-section Title
Sub-section Title

APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B
APPENDIX C

TITLE
TITLE
TITLE

Introduction
This is always the first chapter and informs the reader about the nature of the artifact, the
project, the aim and objectives. It should put the work into context, including history and the
background to the study. The introduction presents a broad general development of the
work covered in the project. For example, the introduction should be presented under the
sub-sections:

Introduction to Problem
Introduction to Project, Aim and Objectives
Introduction to Artefact

The introduction should also detail the structure of the report.


The Main Body of the Report

In the various chapters of the main body, the findings of the literature search, pertinent facts,
evidence, data, analyses, findings, discussions and arguments are all presented. These
chapters and the nested sections and sub-sections should be well structured and must
remain focused. It is essential that the chapters, sections, sub-sections are all clearly linked
together and are presented in a logical sequence. There should be a clear match between
the contents of these chapters and the hypothesis, the questions asked and the aims and
objectives presented in the Introduction.
Conclusions & Further Work
This section is used to bring together and summarise the main points and findings, along
with any recommendations. The conclusion must not be used to introduce new material.
You should finish your discussion with thoughts on future developments and/or
recommendations.
References
These should be presented as per the Literature Review.
Here is a Harvard Reference Generator - http://www.neilstoolbox.com/bibliography-

creator/
The Appendices
The appendix or appendices can be used to present detailed information of relevance that is
not essential in the main text. Appendices help to minimise 'clutter' in the main body of the
project, making it more readable. The project plan should be made the first Appendix. Any
completed forms for the supervisor-student progress meetings might also be included as an
appendix as per the advice given by the supervisor. Any source code listings should be
included as an appendix or submitted as a separate document again as advised by the
supervisor. Appendices may include, for example, data, graphs, tables, data sheets,
background theory and lists of relevant names and addresses to support the main text. It is
not acceptable to include photocopies of materials from books, journals or the Internet
merely to show that certain documents were previously consulted. Material in appendices
should be closely linked to the main document.
Every appendix should be coded with a letter, Appendix A, Appendix B, and so on, and
should be titled. Each appendix begins on a fresh page. All material in the appendix should
be cited in the main text.
Presentation

The final document must be word-processed using the 'formal' font Times New Roman.
The font size must be 12 point. The text should be left justified. You should use 1.5 line
spacing.

Paper size should be A4 and printing must only be on one side of the page.

The margin on the left side of the sheet should be 4cm to allow for binding.

Length
The length of the main body of the thesis should be approximately 20,000 words.
Proof-reading
As the writing progresses, every aspect of the entire project should be read and re-read,
checked and double-checked to minimise errors. Electronic checking is also helpful with
errors in spelling and grammar. Calculations should also be thoroughly checked.

References must be scrutinised for accuracy. Mistakes, sloppy presentation, numerous


typographical errors, all give a very bad impression.