Gathering Material

This section outlines the kinds of material you need to collect before you can begin writing in earnest. Most of the necessary material will consist of your own ideas and experiences gained while carrying out the project, and your approach to solving the problem you have decided to address. For the background study or literature review you will also need references to various resources such as key books and papers, policy documents, Internet resources, related software, etc.

While working on the project you may find it helpful to keep a notebook handy and record all relevant information. Typically such information will include:

Also, we recommend that you keep a diary of all your project-related activities. This will show the progress made during the life of the project and will provide a record of how you spent your time. In particular, when you are validating, testing and debugging your work, keep a running log of your activities and their outcomes. You will then have a record of the unforeseen difficulties you met and, hopefully, how you resolved them. Summaries of these may well be worth including in the project report (see Implementation).

In general you should supplement the material you generate yourself with relevant material from other sources. A good project report will show that you are aware of relevant work that other people have done (see Background). You should include relevant references to such work in your project report. References to work in periodicals, i.e. magazines and journals, and conference proceedings may be more useful than references to textbooks, as periodicals and conferences are usually more specialised and up to date. References to technical manuals and national and international standards should also be included, where appropriate. You may also cite web sites as sources, if suitable. However, keep in mind that web sites may often contain incomplete or wrong information and in general textbooks or papers are a better reference and show that you have done a more extensive literature review than just searching for some keywords on the Internet.