CSCI 5828

Foundations of Software Engineering

Course Location
   1B 28

Course Time
   Tuesday and Thursday
   11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

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CSCI 5828 Project Report Requirements


The final project for CSCI 5828 asks each student to explore a topic of software engineering in order to gain a deeper understanding of the surrounding issues and/or to gain experience in applying the techniques related to the topic. The project should involve the effort it would take for a 25 page paper. Thus, if a student decides to perform a survey of a particular topic, then the final report should consist of a 25 page paper describing the results of the survey. If the student spends time performing experiments, building software, collecting data, etc., then the student can trade some of that effort for pages and turn in a report that is less than 25 pages. In no case, should a student turn in a report that is less than 15 pages. A good formula is that for every two hours of work doing activities not related to writing the report, you can reduce the project report by one page.

Report Requirements

The report should include a title page, a table of contents, and a references section. These three items should not be included in the final page count. That is, if each of these sections take one page each, your final page number would be 28. The report should be singled spaced in a 12pt font with one line of space between paragraphs. Section headings should be in a 14pt font, and should be numbered with the Introduction being section 1.0. Figures and Tables should be numbered, both starting at 1.

Citations should be included in the text using the following format [2]. If you cite a particular reference multiple times in a single section, you can include page numbers in the citation like this [2, pg 23]. Then in your references section, a reference should appear like this.

2. Author. Title. Year.

References should be listed alphabetically by first author's last name. Author names should be listed last name first, followed by a comma, and then the initial of the first name. Multiple authors should be separated by commas with the word "and" in front of the last author. Like this:

Anderson, K., Taylor, R., and Whitehead, J.

Report Sections

While there are no explicit requirements on the sections that should be included in the final report, here are some standard sections that often appear in a research paper: Introduction (describe project at a high level, introduce research questions), Background (describe related work), Approach (describe your approach to the problem), Results (describe the results of your work), Conclusions (reflect upon the lessons learned by the work). If you have questions about the sections in your report, send the outline of your report to the instructor for final approval.

Things to Remember

You should remember that I am not interested in a report that simply describes what you did for the project. That is an important component of a successful report, but not the only one. You must also reflect on the important software engineering aspects of your proposal. Why is your topic important to software engineering? Do your results show a need for improving a particular technique? What are the software engineering implications of your suggested improvements? How does your project embody software engineering principles, etc.?

If you have questions about this aspect of the project, then please contact me before you turn the proposal in. I can discuss your proposal with you and give you hints on how to include this type of discussion in your report.

Writing Skills

If you are concerned about your writing skills and how they might impact the project report, you need to take a proactive approach. First, start early. Your project report will be much better if you are able to revise it, rather than turning in the first draft. Second, seek help: the campus provides resources to help students with their writing, take a walk over to the UMC or check the CU website for details. Third, ask a friend with good writing skills to read your report and check for errors, typos, and unclear text. Fourth, read your report out loud and decide if its sounds the way you want it to. Fifth, make an appointment to meet with me. I'll take a look at your report early and offer suggestions.

This issue is important, since poor writing skills will impact the grade of the report. In particular, poor writing can reduce your final grade by a step (e.g. "A-" to "B+") in most cases or even complete grades ("B+" to "C+") in extremely bad situations.


This cheating policy will be covered in class and applies to the whole class, not just the semester project. If a student is caught cheating in this class, they will receive an "F" for their class grade. I have discovered in the past that a less strict policy is not enough to discourage cheating. Cheating for this assignment includes:

  • Plagiarism: Presenting another person's words as your own. You are allowed to use small quotes (with citation) to back up your arguments but you are not allowed to copy large amounts of text from another source (even with citation). I want to read about your experiences and your thoughts, in your own words. Last year, I had a student turn in a report that was a word for word copy of a software engineering website! Enough is enough!
  • Misrepresentation of Work: You are to work independently on this project. Do not present the work of another student as your own. Also, do not share materials between projects, without my prior approval.

In addition, the more general Computer Science department policy on cheating applies to this class. See <> for details.

Due Dates

In-class students should turn in a hardcopy report on Tuesday, April 18th. CATECS students should mail me a hardcopy report, postmarked by Tuesday, April 25th. Note: I will be keeping the reports, so if you want a copy for yourself, be sure to make one before sending me your report.

© Ken Anderson, 2000.
Last Updated: 8/16/00; 2:45:44 PM