University of Exeter Handbook (Physics) Questions/Comments Department (Physics)

BSc Stage 3 Projects

The BSc project module descriptors (PHY3138, PHY3147 and PHY3150) refer to various assignments which are described in greater detail, along the with the criteria that will be used to assess them, below. The relative weighting of these assignments is given in the module descriptors. Please also note the strict rules

that penalise late and/or plagiarised work.

There will be a number of laboratory supervisors in the laboratory at any given time whom students may approach for advice. One or other of the supervisors will have specialist knowledge relevant to each project and they will oversee that work. Students may make appointments to see this supervisor each week to discuss progress, ideas and to obtain help to solve problems. There is a wealth of expertise in the Department and part of the project training is to learn how to tap this resource effectively.

Allocation of Projects

Stage 3 BSc students choose their own partners and nominate their top 3 project choices from the project handbook, with staff consultation available during this process. It is normally possible to accommodate their first or second project choices, with Stage 2 grades taken into account as a discriminator if necessary. Project allocation is finalised in the first laboratory session, and works this way in both terms.

Project Work and Notebook

Students are required to keep a diary notebook detailing the work undertaken on their project. It is mandatory that a bound book is used; scraps of paper or loose-leaf files will receive fewer marks. Only the original notes will be considered, not neat copies.

Oral Presentations

Students are expected to give an individual presentation of their project to an audience consisting of at two members of the academic staff and a number of students also undertaking projects. Each talk will last for ten minutes with up to an additional five minutes allowed for a question-and-answer session. The presentation will be assessed by the two staff and one of the students (taken in turn).

Talks must be prepared and delivered using Microsoft PowerPoint, or similar presentation software. It is good practice to:

A good presentation endeavours to convey the essence of the project, and explain the significance of the results obtained as clearly as possible. It explains the relevance of the work to the audience, and provides the explanation at a level appropriate to the student audience. It conveys understanding and shows that the speaker understands the work.

The date and venue for the presentation session will be published by the projects co-ordinator, and students will be required to attend the whole session. When not giving their own talk, students are expected to participate by listening, attentively, asking appropriate questions at the end of each talk and provide an assessment of one of the talks in the session. Students are expected to co-operate by asking each other questions.

The assessment pro-forma for oral presentations [pdf] lists the aspects that will be assessed in detail.

Formal Project-Reports

The production of a good piece of technical writing for a project report is as much a part of the training as is doing the project itself. However excellent and original a piece of project work may be, it is useless unless the results can be communicated to other people. The main part of the report should be understandable, without great effort, by another Stage 3 student. If more detailed information is to be included about some aspects (for instance, a complicated mathematical derivation, only the result of which is essential to the main discussion) this may be included as an appendix.

It is not necessary, or even desirable, to describe every minute detail of what was done. One of the most important aspects of good technical writing is conciseness. The ability to select what is essential, and to omit what is merely incidental detail, is something every practising scientist needs to develop. In view of this, the main part of your report must be restricted to the word limit specified on the applicable module descriptor. An overlong report will be penalized and receive a lower mark than it otherwise deserves.

The report should written while paying attention to the following points:

A more detailed Guide to Writing a Project Report is available. Students who have worked in pairs must write and present independent reports, stressing those aspects of the project for which they were individually responsible, if any. Pages, diagrams and tables must be numbered. The front page should contain the project title, author's name and the date, and should be followed by an abstract - no longer than one side of A4.

The report must be prepared and submitted (two copies) following the instructions for presentation of the backgound review above.

The assessment pro-forma [pdf] lists the aspects that will be assessed in detail.

Poster Presentations

A poster should provide a succinct summary of the project. It is important that it makes a good visual impact and holds the attention of the reader. Use a word-processing package and choose a suitable font size and line spacing for the text so that it is clearly visible from a metre distance, with the amount of text kept to a minimum and clear diagrams used wherever possible. You should include a title, name of the authors, abstract, diagram of the experiment (where appropriate), the important features of the technique used, fundamental equations (avoid detailed algebra), summary of results, discussion, comparison with theory, conclusions and references (if appropriate).

You will be allocated a space, 90 cm wide by 100 cm high. in which to display the poster and are advised to used A4 paper sheets (either portrait or landscape format). You will be advised of the deadline for completion of posters.

To decide if you have included the right information you may find the following check list helpful:

The assessment pro-forma [pdf] lists the aspects that will be assessed in detail.

University of Exeter Handbook (Physics) Questions/Comments Department (Physics)