PROJECT ASSESSMENT AND PROJECT REPORT
While the object of research is the discovery of new
knowledge, effective communication of results to others is
nearly as important as the discovery itself. This is recognised
in the method used for assessing the honours research project
as detailed in part
A below. Part
B sets out the requirements for the form of the report.
SUBMISSION OF REPORT
Reports must be submitted to the 4th Floor Office no
later than Friday 4pm of week 12 of Second
Reports will not be accepted or will attract a marks penalty
(extensions of time will be given only for illness
documented with an appropriate medical certificate, as is
standard Faculty practice).
Exceeding 40 pages for the length of the report
proper (including figures but excluding contents,
research proposal, and appendices). Reports should be
printed double-sided, with 2cm margins on all edges, and
typeset in "standard" 12pt font on 14pt baselines (one and
a half line spacing).
Lack of supervisor's
endorsement as at (10) of part
Failing to include a separate one-page summary of student achievements, written in first person. This should outline exactly what you did.
Details of the mini-seminars, to be given in week 13
of Second Semester (ie, after submission of your
report), will be provided later.
Laboratory work should cease at the end of the non-teaching
break in second semester. This gives you three weeks to devote
to the report.
PART A: DISSERTATION (PHYS7400/1)
The following outlines the general method used in assessing
the Honours dissertation and should be taken as a guide
by both students and supervisors. Assessment is in three
The research work (assessed by the supervisors; all
nominated supervisors on the front of the report must
submit a supervisor's mark; all supervisors must also act
as report readers)
The report (graded and ranked by a panel of report
readers, each of whom must read at least one third of the
reports, not counting those of their own students)
- The seminar, judged on content
and presentation by a panel of markers
The mark for the 24 point Dissertation unit is computed from the weighted sum of the research mark (30%), the report mark (60%), and the seminar mark (10%).
Supervisors will assess the project work on the basis
Achievement of adequate understanding of the Physics
General approach and performance in a laboratory
Ability to recognise and solve problems as they
Effectiveness in using the literature, conducting
library and data base searches, etc.
Particular skills (workshop, electronics, computer
Application and determination to overcome
Capacity to bring work to productive and effective
conclusion within a specified time.
Overall level of achievement, given all the constraints
on an Honours project.
Conciseness of presentation. This is an important component in modern scientific
The outcome of the supervisor's assessment will be
documented with detailed justifications for the recommended
marks. These documents will form part of the evidence
considered at the examiners meetings at the end of the
The report will be assessed by a panel on its merits as a
report and as far as possible quite separately from the
assessment of the project work. The report, as its name
implies, should be written as a document reporting (to a
funding or host authority perhaps or to a consulting firm which
might have commissioned the study) on the complete period of
the project; it should detail the progress made (and the
failures), the positive (and negative) results and their
significance, the conclusions and possible future directions.
It is important to realise that a report can be an excellent
one, even though the project did not achieve its aims. The bulk
of the report should be aimed at the professional physicist,
not the narrow specialist; any highly technical or specialized
material should be in appendices. As a formal document, the
report should be well written, avoiding colloquial language but
easy to read.
The panel, which will also document its conclusions, will
look particularly at:
General style and presentation and acceptability as a
piece of professional scientific writing.
Clarity, conciseness, continuity, and understandability
for the reader, even one without specialized knowledge.
Considerable emphasis is placed on concise
presentation as this is such an important component in
modern scientific publications.
Clear focus, emphasis on important material, and
capacity to avoid the intrusion of less relevant
Awareness of the significance of the work and its place
in the wider field of knowledge.
Clearly, the panel will have to recognise the difficult task
of separating the assessment of the report purely as a
scientific document in isolation from the research project
itself. Furthermore, many projects are part of team enterprises
and this fact can add to difficulties of assessment. It is
recognised that some measure of reconciliation by the panel and
supervisors between the report and project assessments will
sometimes be necessary in arriving fairly at the final marks,
which are ultimately decided at the examiners meeting.
PART B: FORM OF REPORT
The report should be clearly set out and presented bound
and printed. A PDF copy of the report must also be submitted.
The use of colour in figures is permitted. However, colour should be used sparingly it does not photocopy well. The School of Physics will reimburse printing costs, up to a maximum of $15. Uniprint is recommended for printing theses from PDF as extra charges only apply for those pages requiring colour.
Since the report is a formal document, like a journal
paper it should be written as such, not in a colloquial or
journalistic style; nevertheless it should be readily
understandable to a competent physicist not only to a
narrow specialist. Usual conventions should be followed
particularly as to references (use correct style for books
as well as journal references).
While there is no set format, normal guidelines to style
in scientific writing should be followed. (Refer to style
and instruction to authors in Physical Review, Journal of Physics, or
publications on the techniques of scientific writing in the
MPS Library.) For ease of reading, the report should be
subdivided into sections, which are titled, numbered and
identified in a contents list. A short summary, in the
general style of an abstract should appear at the start of
the report. A LATEX template is
provided at http://physics.uwa.edu.au/pub/Theses/TeX.
A copy of the research proposal submitted earlier in the
year should be contained as an appendix in the report and
significant deviations from what was proposed should be
noted and explained.
The report should be written for physicists who are not
specialists in the field and should encompass only a brief
description of the experimental techniques and background
with the bulk of the report dealing with results and
discussion of them and their significance. Only sufficient
background and detail to make the report coherent to the
reader should be included in the body of the text which
should be as short as practicable; 20 or 30 pages will
often be sufficient. In any case it must not exceed
40 A4 pages.
Areas where help has been received should be identified
and acknowledged in the report, as would be done in a
journal publication or a thesis.
Students must consult with their supervisors over the
preparation of the report, preferably by preparing a
general layout for approval and then by submitting draft(s)
for editorial advice as to style, content and detail as the
report is cast into its final form.
The copy of the report finally submitted must be signed
by the supervisor to indicate that it has been produced
under adequate supervision. (This is similar to the
procedure for submitting higher degree theses.)
In many cases the report will serve as an important
document for future workers and is often seen as a
laboratory handbook. In this context, much material very
relevant to the project but irrelevant to the report (and
especially to the report assessment) should only be
included, if at all, as appendices or attachments. Do not
hesitate to use references to sections of lab diaries
rather than lengthy appendices.
Two bound copies of the report are required to be
submitted (physics office facilities may be used for
binding). These copies remain the property of the School
and will not be returned. If required, a copy for the
author and further copies for legitimate purposes can be
made using School facilities.
- Detailed background, experimental techniques, construction details, data, programs, etc., are essential parts of a
complete record of the overall project. These should be included, preferably in electronic format, as
appendices or as an "accompanying document" which will not be
considered for credit in the assessment of the report.