The Senior Project Planning Report
Identify The Project
Describe the specific project at its most basic level, including circumstances which may complicate the project and/or make it unique.
Analyze The Project
- Break the project idea down into its component parts. Consider this from inception to completion.
- Consider any parts which cannot be solved.
- Define the project’s goal. What is the ultimate reward, profit or significant learning you hope to gain from the project?
- What research will be necessary to complete your project?
- How will you document your learning?
Identify The Alternatives
- How many solutions to the project exist?
- Without prioritizing, create a list of possible pathways to complete the project while still achieving the project’s main goal.
Identify The Criteria
- Criteria are identifiable factors which help one to either select or eliminate possible alternatives. Your criteria are the factors upon which you will base your evaluation of which pathway is best for your project.
- After careful analysis of both your project goals and available resources, what are your criteria for identifying the best pathway?
- In detail, define each individual criterion as it applies to both you and your project. Be as complete as possible.
“A Few Hints”:
This should be an easy section, but it really seems to trouble most students. The criteria are reasons why you chose to select the alternative you did. In other words, did you choose a particular alternative because it was the only one you could afford? Then “cost” would be one of your criteria. If the other alternatives could not be completed in a reasonable amount of time, then “time” would be one of your criteria as well. Get it?
Evaluate The Alternatives
- Rate each possible pathway against the criteria you have established. Be thorough!
- Accounting for current needs and circumstances, convincingly demonstrate one pathway is clearly the best possible solution to accomplish the project’s primary goals.
“A Few Hints”:
This part is fairly straightforward if you completed the two previous sections correctly. Simply take the alternatives you have identified and then rate them against the criteria you have identified. Each alternative should be evaluated against ALL of your criteria. Hopefully, the results will show that you have selected the best method for completing your Senior Project.
In brief, identify the problem, its relative importance, and your plan to implement a solution.
“A few hints”:
This is a very brief summary of your entire project, no more than a paragraph at best. This is an important section because it is the first thing anyone will read when evaluating your work. This Abstract sets the tone for the entire paper. Many students give very little attention to this section because it is so short; however, this should be an example of your finest writing. Spend the extra time necessary to make this small piece of writing shine. Be sure to have several people read this section. It’s best if you ask people who know nothing about your project before they read it, then see if they “get it.”
The Senior Project Written Report
Describe the implementation process of your project. Give a detailed account of your activities from the initial first steps through the final stages of the plan. Be certain to account for all necessary research and provide documentation for as many aspects of your work as possible.
“A few hints”:
This is one of the longer sections of the written report, about 1000 words if the process of completing your project took much time. Hopefully, you have completed the project itself by this time. If you have not completed the project, you will have to use some guesswork anticipating the steps necessary to complete your work. The format for this is known as a process essay, basically a “how to” paper describing how you completed your Senior Project. If you have written a process essay in previous classes, go over your work to review the proper format. Remember how you decide to organize this section is very important. The two best methods of organization are either chronological or task oriented. This means you can organize your paragraphs by how you worked on your project throughout the calendar year, or you can organize by how you completed each major task.
Evaluate The Outcome
This is a complete evaluation of the effectiveness of your project. Using clearly defined criteria, evaluate both the success of your initial vision and the value of the project as an educational experience. Your report must define success, assign value, and provide evidence through clear and robust documentation.
“A few hints”:
If you know how to write a standard evaluation essay, you should be fine on this section. This is perhaps the longest written portion of the plan, averaging more than 1000 words. Selecting the proper criteria is very important. Make sure your learning stretch is your
key criterion, as this is one of the elements factoring in most heavily during grading.
Have Questions About Organizing Your Evidence? Look Here!
The Senior Project Website
This is where you provide any additional material supporting the work described in your report, such as timelines, work breakdown structure, charts, video logs, emails, texts, activity log, etc. This is also the section of your report which will provide required documentation of your research in a properly formatted Resources Consulted Page, Activity Log, Timeline, and Self-Evaluation.
“A few hints”:
This section of the report is often overlooked by students until the last few weeks. However, the “digital evidence box” weighs heavily in determining your final project grade. If you simply collect and organize your evidence as you go along, this is an easy way to give your project grade a real boost. If you wait too long, building your website may seem to be an overwhelming task. Save everything associated with work done on your project. It can all be useful later. Keep in mind how organizing your material may be an important factor in determining your documentation score. Cross-reference the materials on your website with statements made in your written report.