Final Project Guidelines

The final project is intended to enable you to bring together some of the material we discussed this term. You will need to select an area of interest, and then identify a particular problem you might investigate in this area. (One use of this assignment is to allow you to think about larger projects that you might later pursue, or to perhaps formalize an idea which you may go on and complete -- so please interpret these requirements liberally, and feel free to contact Dan or Ramscar if you are not sure of a project's suitability.)

  1. Set up the problem
    1. Identify an area that interests you. The topic should be amenable to investigation using one of the broad range of methods (e.g. experiments, modeling) we looked at in class.
    2. Write a brief survey outlining the background of the area you have chosen.
    3. Identify a question within the area you have chosen, explain what the question is, then construct and describe a hypothesis through which you aim to address this question.
  2. Design of an investigation to test your idea.
    1. Describe and explain the design of a project (e.g. an experiment, whether computational or with human subjects) and how it aims to address your question.
    2. Specify what predictions you have formed in relation to your design.
  3. Analysis
    1. If you actually carry out your project, analyze the results. If your project is just a design, escribe how you would analyze your results.
    2. What criteria would you use to establish success / failure of your project.
  4. Discussion
    1. Assuming that your project found what you expected, discuss this outcome in terms of the effect it would have on the broader area in which your research is situated, and what future research questions it may suggest.
    2. What if the results of your project were not what you expected, what would that mean? (If your project is a design -- i.e., if you don't have any results -- you may find it as useful exercise to write two discussion sections.)

    The whole document should be 12ish pages double-spaced.