This article gives tips on how to document your project report. If you would like to know how to present your project to the audience visit guidelines while presenting your project.
Your Final Year Project is probably the largest piece of work that you have written and you should feel justifiably proud of it. It might be that you wish to show it to potential employers to demonstrate your interest and commitment to a particular area. Here are some tips and hints to help to ensure that the document looks its best:
- You will have been given some guidance by your college and department as to typefont, layouts etc. – make sure that you follow it. Generally it is safer to employ a more formal font e.g. Times Roman 12, line spacing 1.5 lines, margins of at least 1″ all round with preferably a 1.5 ” left hand margin to allow for binding (gutter margin).
- Aim for a professional ‘look and feel’ for the whole document. How you have presented material can say as much about you as what you have written.
- Good presentation may not earn you extra marks: poor presentation will certainly lose you marks!
- Paradoxically do not spent so time on presentation that might well have been spent in other areas. Good presentation may be immediately nullified by elementary spelling, typographical or grammatical errors (particularly on the title page).
- Your title page should include details of your college and course. Make sure that these are quoted absolutely correctly. Similarly, do not forget to include the year of presentation.
- Your document should be page numbered and a List of Contents page should direct the reader to relevant chapters (and perhaps sections within the chapters). You may want to include your Chapter titles in a footer – make sure you know how these work before your final print run.
- If you put in a dedication, do not make it too flowery. Acknowledge major sources of help such as people who have helped you, perhaps your guide and so on.
- Allow plenty of time for a good proof-reading, preferably by a friend. After a period of close association with a document, you lose objectivity and read what you imagine is there and can fail to spot elementary errors. A good proof-reader is invaluable at this point. Psychologically, say to yourself There is at least one error on this page and I am going to try and find it!
- Check the length meets the institutional requirements. Excessive length is typically penalised (as it demonstrates that you cannot write to a specified brief, a required professional skill).
- Make sure that all tables, figures and graphs are correctly labelled and correspond to the citation in your text (e.g. as Table 2 on p. 2 shows…)
- Ensure that all quotations are acknowledged.
- Bulleted points should be indented from the rest of your text.. Learn how to use your word-processor’s indent function to do this correctly.
- Take particular care over your List of References. These should be adequate for the task, accurate and comprehensive. Make sure that every work cited in the text is cited in the List of References and that every item in the List of References has been quoted in the main body of the text (i.e. a 1:1 correspondence). Complete accuracy is vital – otherwise it casts doubt on whether you have actually consulted the work cited and hence on your own professionalism.
- Finally leaving yourself enough time to check and re-recheck your work is probably the most important advice of all. Rushed projects often show their imperfections!