project writing skills for higher education
Projects are now a major part of most undergraduate and postgraduate courses – especially in sciences, business studies, and information technology. Students are required to draw on a number of different but important skills to complete their projects, and it’s not easy to know what’s involved. The Essence of Computing Projects is designed to explain what’s required. It covers surveying the literature, project writing skills, documenting software, time management, project management, and presentation skills.
The chapters follow the logical sequence of undertaking a project, starting from defining the nature of research itself, choosing a project and writing a proposal, then planning what you are going to write – including timing and scheduling.
When it comes to the process of searching and reviewing the literature, Christian Dawson makes sensible distinctions between what is required at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The chapter which deals with actually writing the project confronts some of the most common problems – and how to overcome them. Running out of time, dealing with interruptions and computer crashes; dealing with your supervisor; and working in teams.
The latter part of the book deals with the presentation of your report in written form. Here he stresses the importance of abstracts and structure, presenting data in graphs, pie charts, and bar charts, academic referencing, and two items of special interest – commenting on program code and writing user guides.
Finally he deals with the oral presentation skills required to present your project. It also looks forward to what follows in academic terms – publishing your work, funding, and intellectual ownership and copyright issues.
If you have a project as part of the next stage in your studies, this guide will give you an excellent account of what’s required. You will have to flesh out the details – but that’s exactly as it should be, isn’t it.
© Roy Johnson 2000
Christian W. Dawson, The Essence of Computing Projects – A Student’s Guide, London: Prentice Hall, 2000, pp.176, ISBN: 013021972X