How To Write Your Final Year Project Chapter One (Introduction To A Research Project)
Before embarking on the journey to write your final year project, you should have this at the back of your mind that the introduction or the very first chapter should be written to aim at getting your readers interested and excited about the project, to encourage them to read the whole research work.
A good introduction of the final year project should tell the reader what the project is all about without assuming special knowledge and without introducing any specific material that might obscure the overview. It should anticipate and combine the main points described in more detail in the rest of the project report.
What is the Final Year Project?
The Final Year Project (FYP) consists of an individual piece of work of 9,000-11,000 words in length, on a subject of the student’s own choosing providing that it is within the area of course of studies, broadly defined. A working title and a brief description of your intended Project should be submitted when requested so that an allocation can be made to the most appropriate supervisor. After your first consultation with your supervisor, you may need to refine or to redefine your chosen project topics to ensure that you are manageable and feasible for undergraduate students. The supervisor who is allocated to you will have supervised many undergraduate projects before and is therefore in a good position to give you good general academic advice regarding the shape and general direction of your project. She or he may be well known to some of the specialist literature base that you intend to access and may be able to give you some advice and guidance along the way. However, it is not uncommon that students at times pick a project topic that accesses a wide range of literature with which the supervisor is not familiar - but this does not mean that your tutor is not able to offer sound, general advice on project planning and writing. It is not always a good idea to pick a project topic of which you feel passionately about, as there is a danger that the project can become polemical rather than analytical.
You can choose a project topic which is drawn primarily from one of your contributing field of studies or from a combination of disciplines. Many students choose Project topics that are topical in nature and in which the literature is drawn from a wide range of sources. Whatever project topic that is chosen, the Project should reflect the fact that you have acquired a particular knowledge base and academic skills and should be a showcase of the ways in which you can demonstrate such skills. The Project is an independent piece of work that allows the student the opportunity to apply theoretical perspectives to his or her field of study’s problems or to undertake work in real depth on his or her field of study’s problem in which they are interested. Many students take the opportunity to undertake some empirical work in their Project by undertaking a small-scale survey and in this case, it is particularly important to receive the advice of the supervisors to ensure that what you intend to undertake is feasible and methodologically sound.
How Do I Get Started?
The golden rule for an undergraduate Project is that it must be located in a literature base. This means that if the literature does not exist (as the emergent problem may be extremely topical) then it will be difficult to conduct a Project in this area. So it is important to read quite widely around the area to locate a starting point for the project. Often you will find that a good starting point is a relevant chapter for a comprehensive and up-to-date textbook that is highly recommendable in every academic discipline. You should also undertake more specialized literature searches using the resources of libraries, particularly CD-ROMS and the entire resources of the Internet. However, you do need to exercise a degree of care when using the Internet as there is no ‘quality control’ mechanism for material published on the Internet as there is for more conventional academic journals and the information you access may be inaccurate or not particularly relevant (if it applies to an American rather than an African audience, for example).
The outline below covers the primary components of a final year project, there may be some variation in how the sections are named or divided, but the overall goals are always the same. Here, this will article takes you through a basic final year project template and explains what you need to include in each part.
Give the introduction and the background information about the topic
Refer to the important findings of other researchers
Identify the need for further investigation
Indicate your plans for further investigation
State your hypothesis/research questions
State your aim
State your objectives
Indicate the scope of your study, i.e. the width versus the depth of your research
Refer to any limitations of your study
Give a definition of key terms
Outline the content of each chapter
It is not all the final year projects that would need to include all these eleven components. Some of the information will be covered more fully in other chapters. For example, the findings of other researchers will be dealt with in more detail in the Literature Review chapter.
Please note that every research project is different and it varies between the fields of studies and you, therefore, need to consider carefully what you should include. Use the above points as a menu from which to choose what is most appropriate for your own research work.
If you need to include a number of these topics in your final year project, the use of sub-headings would make the structure of your introduction much clearer for the readers.
Also, Read - How To Write Effective Research Project Abstract
Primary Components Of A Final Year Project
Introduction/Background of the study
This is an overall introduction to your topic of interest that provides an in-depth background to the topic. You must be precise and state the purpose of your research. This is the most detailed part of your chapter one; and here you would give a historical development of your project topics. State the different overlapping views in this area and significant investigations that researchers have been done.
Also, you should talk about the present state of your research work. Have there been any changes? You can cite a few paragraphs from your literature review but it must be a summary of the conflicts in your area of the project that has not been addressed.
Statement of the Problem
This is where you state the specific problem that you intend to address. It usually will begin with: This project addresses the problem of…” When writing your problem, make sure you address the problems that existed before that you intend to proffer solution to in your research.
Objective/Purpose of the study
This is the section where you give the overall purpose of your project. It must be related to your literature review and must also answer the questions raised in your problem statement. Ensure that your hypothesis is clearly stated and testable.
The significance of the study
This states the importance of addressing the problem that you are set to work on. You should link your work to any area that you think the study will help. Is it going to improve the human condition or state of education? Whatsoever it is, this is where you have to state the relevance of your research.
This is the basic theory that is used to provide an insight upon which your research work is built. There lots of theories depending on the topic you are working on. For example, research materials on evolution would be working with Charles Darwin’s theory.
These are guiding lights to your research and it provides insight into your objective/purpose of the study. Your questions should be structured in a way that it will provide answers to the researcher. Avoid Yes/No questions and try using the WH-questions.
When you ask a YES/NO question you cannot make headway in your project work because you will not have information to work. Stay away from closed-ended questions rather than use open-ended.
Your hypothesis must be tentative to the problem under study and should relate to the questions you have raised in your research questions
There may be constraints that may influence the outcome of your research; they are beyond your control so you must state them.
Some topics are broad and because of the time you have, you might have to deliberately chop off some areas; clearly define the length to which your project will cover.
Definition of terms
Make sure you define important terms and concepts in your projects such as variables, acronyms, and keywords.
In this section, we said that you should relate your work to that of other people. Other work explicitly cited should be listed in the Reference section and referred to in the text using some kind of key. It is important that you give proper credit to all work that is not strictly your own, and that you do not violate copyright restrictions. It may be desirable to provide a Bibliography section separately from the reference section. In general, references are those documents/sources cited within the text. The bibliography lists documents that have informed the text or are otherwise relevant but have not been explicitly cited. References should be listed in alphabetical order of author‟s surname(s) and should give sufficient and accurate publication details.
For example, Chikofsky, EJ, Cross, JH. 1990. Reverse Engineering and Design Recovery: A Taxonomy. IEEE Software, 7(1):13-17. Date, CJ. 2000. An Introduction to Database Systems, the 7th Edition. Addison-Wesley. are acceptable references.
There are various conventions for quoting references. For example, you can quote the name of the author and the year of publication, e.g. For more information see [Chikofsky et al, 1990]. A more detailed description is given by Date .
There are several other variations. For example, some authors prefer to use only the first three or four letters of the name, e.g. [Chi1990] or just to number the references sequentially, e.g. .
It can be helpful to the reader if, for books and other long publications, you specify the page number too, e.g. [Date 2000, p. 23].
Whatever convention you choose, be consistent. Information Services provide a number of leaflets which describe in detail accepted ways of presenting references.
For example, guidance on the Harvard Style of citing and referencing may be viewed at http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/insrv/resources/guides/inf057.pdf. Whatever style of referencing you adopt, it is critical that you are assiduous in acknowledging the sources you have used; failure to do so may lead to suspicions of unfair practice and an investigation into whether or not your work reflects the standards expected of academic research.
Guidance on plagiarism and how to avoid it is available at http://learningcentral.cf.ac.uk/bbcswebdav/institution/INSRV/S tudy%20Skills/plagiarism2/new/index.html. Note that it is seldom sufficient to simply “cut and paste” material from other sources.
Also, Read - How To Develop Effective And Unique Project Topics
When you take material from someone else‟s work, you are doing so because it helps support your argument, or justify decisions you are making. It is therefore essential to make it clear why - 15 - you have included material from other sources; in other words, you need to critically assess the work of others, whether it is supporting your position or not: If the material you are citing from another source supports your position, you must · explain why it should be trusted. For example, research materials from a published journal will, normally, have been peer-reviewed and can, therefore, be considered to have some validity, according to subject matter experts. Much of what is published on the Internet cannot be regarded in the same way, however. You will often find that there are conflicting views in the published material; in such · cases, you must explain which view you favor and why, before relying on the material to support your position. If other writers have taken a different position to the one you support, you must · explain why the reader should accept your ideas rather than those proposed elsewhere. In summary, you need to ensure that you have clearly assessed the relevance of referenced material to the development of your position, or your argument, and demonstrated that you are justified in taking this material to be authoritative.