What is a final year project?

The project is the most important part of your course, worth one-third of the credits in the final year. Your project is important for a number of reasons:

● it is the largest single piece of work you will do during your degree course
● it allows you to specialize in a topic you are good at or enjoy
● it is what prospective employers will most likely ask you about at interview
● it allows you to apply the skills and knowledge learned during on your course

You will work with a supervisor, a member of staff who helps and guides you through the project process. You should aim to be in contact with your supervisor on a weekly basis to discuss progress.

The project has two parts:

*For the engineering project: The artifact*: An engineering project involves practical work to solve an information systems problem. It usually consists of the design and implementation of some information systems artefact, such as a piece of software. It may be a piece of work for an external client.

*For the study project: A piece of research:* A study project involves setting out a research question, relating to the use of IT in business or society. A research methodology is chosen and justified and the question is investigated, which can be done using primary research.

*The report (both project types)*: Evidence of your thinking is provided in the 8,000- to 10,000- word project report which discusses and evaluates the process of development.

*This document is what is marked.*
The project report should provide evidence that you have a good understanding of your chosen topic area and that you know where your work fits into the context provided by wider research. This is provided in the literature review.

The project should show that you have developed and questioned your own thoughts and ideas during development. For the engineering project, you should follow some appropriate process or methodology that leads from requirements to design to implementation and testing. By doing this, it is much less likely that you will fail to take some crucial factor into consideration – an important aspect of professionalism. For the study project, you should use a research methodology, which will allow you to arrive at findings which are justifiable.

The critical element involves showing what you independently (in your professional judgement) believe to be good and bad about what you’ve read, what you’ve been taught, what you’ve been asked to do, what you’ve done, what you haven’t done and the consequences of those.

The project is an individual piece of work; although you can seek advice from your supervisor or others with technical expertise, the work should be your own, both the artefact you develop and the report you write.

The project must be big enough to fill your time (normally 15 hours per week for a 40-point project) from September to April. On the other hand, it must also be small enough for you to have a reasonable chance of completing it within that timeframe.

*Information from the unit description*
The aim of the project unit is to “develop the skills of independent academic research, academic writing, self expression and project management in a technical domain”.

On successful completion of the unit, you should be able to:

● Initiate and manage a large individual project
● Summarise the problem you are trying to solve and put it in its context
● Conduct a formal literature search
● Design, implement and test a substantial artefact (or several smaller artefacts) that might be software or other models of an information system (engineering)
*Or*
● Carry out some relevantly focused fieldwork; analyse primary/secondary data and draw conclusions from that analysis (study project)
● Critically evaluate your work against its objectives and reflect on and generalise the learning achieved
● Present your work in report form.

*More information*

Past projects are available on the library website (Information Resources/Dissertations). Select “Browse”, followed by “Departments”. Then view the projects available at the “School of Computing”. There is also a link to them on Moodle.

These projects were given first class marks in the School of Computing within the past ten years. We recommend that you read some of these to get an idea of what is expected and to gain some guidance on how reports are structured.

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