Getting on with your final year project: more tips

Josh Smith blog entry

November already and I will continue from last month’s blog and talk about projects and dissertations.
Once you have your project title, aims and objectives, you can begin planning the direction and focus of your project with the use of a range of sources of information. You will no doubt have access to a variety of literature to review in your Library or Learning Resource Centre at College/University. However, you should also push your searches further afield with journals, technical reports and other similar professionally written articles. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) have a huge online catalogue of journals which are very popular with our learners at Bridgwater College whilst other professional bodies such as the Institute IMechE also have a similar system.
On the internet, dependent upon your chosen topic, you can also find articles on websites such as http://retmonitor.com/ and http://www.racecar-engineering.com/
It is important to carry out a wide range of literature searches as you will most likely find more information, results, outcomes and technical detail that will help you with your testing, analysis and overall viability and effectiveness of the project. The Oxford Brookes Study Skills system on their website provides lots of useful documents on completing your Literature Review, see here. http://www.brookes.ac.uk/services/upgrade/study-skills/
You may also have a college Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) such as Blackboard or Moodle that you can use to help, and of course your module leader for the project and the other lecturers on the course that may have an interest or subject knowledge in your chosen topic.
The research you carry out should be ongoing throughout the whole project as you come across each phase of modelling, testing, improvement and analysis.
Within your research you may want to explore key words and topics associated with the project, what has already been tried and tested that has been successful or failed, possible methods of testing and validation (backing up your initial test results or proving them right or wrong) and further uses for the project itself.
Next month, we will continue this project process discussion more by moving onto the main part of the project and time planning, risk and contingency planning………

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