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CPSC 502: Research Project - Assessment


The University policy on grading and related matters is described in the university calendar.

This course aims at providing each student with an extended research experience under the guidance of a faculty member (supervisor). Part of every research is also the presentation of the results and in general communicating about the research in different stages of the project. The assessment of each student will center around this communication of the research to the outside world, represented by the course instructor.

Research usually starts with a problem and some ideas how to tackle this problem. In theory, this should be enough to write a project proposal that allows the researcher to apply for funding. To mimic this usual process, the first assignment of this class is to write such a project proposal.

Very seldomly a researcher works in a kind of vacuum with regard to other research related to his/her project. Therefore, it is important to be aware of what other research is out there that relates to what you want to do. In fact, related work and how the proposed research differs from what is the state-of-the-art with regard to the problem one wants to solve is usually already part of the project proposal, but to make it a little bit easier on you there will be some additional time to put together a list of related work. Naturally, a researcher should know and understand all of the papers on this list of related work. To enforce this a little bit, each student has to write so-called "critiques" to the two papers on the list that are most relevant to his/her project.

We now assume that we got the funding for the project and can really go on with doing the research. For larger projects (and in 502 we want to do a "small" large project) it is important to -from time to time- reflect on what has already been done and to re-focus the research based on what has been discovered. And one of the best ways to do this is to write some kind of interim report documenting the results of this reflection. For this course, each student will be doing one such interim report.

At the end of a research project, there are usually two things to do:

  • write a paper (report) about the results of the research, and
  • present the content of the paper to an interested audience in form of a talk.
From a scholarly point of view, these two things are the most important products, which is reflected by the following table. The following table describes the percentages with which the grades for the deliverables described above will be weighted to compute the final grade of a student.

Research proposal        15%
Related work list and critiques        15%
Interim report        10%
Final report        30%
Final presentation        30%

I will grade each of the items above individually (with input from the project supervisor) and then use the percentages to get the final grade. So, if, for example, a student got a C for the research proposal, a B for the related work list and critiques, a B+ for the interim report, an A- for the final report and an A for the final presentation, we have: (15*2 + 15*3 + 10*3.3 + 30*3.7 + 30*4)/100 = 3.39, which will be rounded to 3.3 (i.e. B+).

An A+ will be awarded to every student who got an A in each of the above components.


to the materials for the course.

Last Change: 7/7/2008