In your project, considerable emphasis is placed on how you tackle, define and analyse a problem rather than just on finding a solution or reaching a definite conclusion. In effect, the assessment of your conduct of the project will take into consideration your attitude and motivation during the implementation of the set tasks, as well as your self-reliance, initiative and ability to determine or modify the course of the work, and adaptability to unavoidable factors affecting the project.
Here are some useful hints to assist you with the conduct:
- You must keep a good, daily, dated record of work carried out.
- This should be in the form of a bound hard or soft cover lab notebook (loose-leaf folders should not be used, as it is too tempting to remove pages).
- Everything that is done and thought about should be recorded as you do it.
- It is just as important to record what has gone wrong as what has gone right. A good lab/project-book is an essential part of a successful project.
- As early as possible in your work, prepare a work plan of your proposed approach to the problem. The work plan may be in the form of a bar or Gantt chart.
- This should have identifiable goals, decision points and milestones.
- Consult it regularly: are you on schedule? Are you deviating? Have you missed anything?
- You should meet with your supervisor as required, to give a summary of your progress and what you plan to do next. This enables you (and your supervisor) to keep a check on how you are getting on. Compare your report with your work plan.
- The first step in any project is usually an extensive, thorough and up-to-date study of relevant literature and background material.
- The aim here should be to gain a firm grasp of the background to the project and how it fits into your intended work. A balance must be struck between examining the literature too superficially and reading every article published on the subject or, worse still, irrelevant articles.
- Familiarise yourself with essential equipment, materials, and procedures, programming languages or software that may be essential to carrying out your project.
(Source – University of Aberdeen School of Engineering Project Guidelines for Students)