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Marking Criteria

  • Demonstrate that they have acquired specialisation in a particular part of the subject area, including enhanced or new technical skills that build on taught theory. Examined in the overall project report.
  • Demonstrate that they have acquired suitable skills to undertake a substantial computer systems engineering project, including design, implementation and evaluation. Examined in the overall project report.
  • Demonstrate that they have engaged in research and critical understanding of advanced scholarship in their chosen area. Examined in the project report literature review and evaluation.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of engineering methods and techniques, through coverage, as appropriate, of requirements, specification, design, implementation and evaluation (an engineering "lifecycle").
  • Contribute in an original way to an established area of research or development, demonstrating a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge. Examined in the overall project report. The project report must present some original (and relevant) contribution. It may present a new approach to a known problem, or an existing approach applied to a new class of problems. It may present a new analysis or critique of well-known work. It may devise a new method, or extend an existing method into new areas. The student should be able to clearly identify what is new and to evaluate the contribution made.
  • Formulate a moderate sized problem, to select and justify an appropriate approach, and to follow the approach systematically. Examined in the design/implementation chapters of the project.
  • Recognise alternatives, selecting and justifying the approach taken at each point in the report, identifying parts of the project area that are feasible within the time (etc) constraints of the project. Examined in the design/implementation chapters of the project.
  • Appreciate the latent issues of the subject area (for example, they might meet and tackle emergent requirements, design flaws, equipment/application problems). Examined in the project design/implementation and evaluation chapters.
  • Prepare a written report on the work done, according to the defined criteria, aiming for a standard that would be acceptable for wider publication.
  • In particular, the student should be able to prepare a report the structure and presentation of which is uncontentious, and in which the referencing is of publishable academic standard. The report must demonstrate critical abilities and evaluation of work done and methods applied. Examined in the presentation aspect of the report mark.
  • Make a short oral presentation (assessed) that should accurately summarise their work and demonstrate the end product.

Overall Report

  • Rather than describing only a series of events and a final product, try to establish criteria, present arguments, derive principles, pose and answer questions, measure success, analyse alternatives and so on.


  • Defines the project area and its place within the subject.
  • The introduction proceeds from the wider concerns of Computer Science to the specific subject of the report by way of an orderly and natural progression of ideas.


  • Reviews the background to the project comprehensively, incorporates relevant issues succinctly, omits the irrelevant.
  • Uses the review to identify all the main issues, which are then analysed and developed.
  • The review is a penetrating analysis showing an impressive grasp of the subject and excellent judgement in the selection of previous work that should be applied in the project; it gives new insights into the project area not immediately identifiable from the literature.
  • A critical analysis of a segment of a published body of knowledge through summary, classification and comparison of prior research studies …[and previous] reviews …
  • A lit review for a project is also focussed on providing the necessary background to your work, not a general survey of the area.
  • It provides the rationale for what you do in your project
    • Start from general considerations, build an argument which ends with your particular problem/topic.
  • Summarize key points from previous papers - all the while building the argument.
  • What are the research papers trying to do, or what do they do for your argument, what is their nature/contribution ?
  • Also critique:
  • Are there important things that you think papers have not considered ? Logic/ Method ?
  • Often critique comes in the gaps between different papers.
  • Incosistencies between papers are interesting. Why are they interesting ?
  • Lit review has to tell a story. It’s mainly about good, precise and focussed summarization (Classification/High level thinking) of previous work.
  • Critique can be negative or positive.


  • From the review, explains the rationale behind the design of the work done, comparing all alternative designs and justifying the particular choices made.
  • Describes the work done succinctly, but in enough detail for the reader to appreciate all the significant points.
  • There is something distinctly ambitious about what has been attempted and the student has carried off the attempt with style, rarely defeated by problems encountered and more typically finding some clever solution.


  • Evaluates the artefact, comparing results expected from the theory (including those for alternative designs) with those obtained in practice


  • States clear conclusions from the work done, making accurate predictions of results that would be obtained by applying the present work in new areas.

Word Count

  • Limit is 50,000 words and 100 pages.
  • The limits include all material that is to be marked (including the title page, abstract, tables of contents, body of the report, and marked appendices).
  • Bibliographies and unmarked appendices that are included for completeness (such as program listings and tables of data), are not included.