|MRes - Collaborative Design Project 2002
septuagenarians the real cyberpunk generation
faq - reports - what goes where
Interfaces for the elderly and their carers
I'll attempt to clarify the distinction between the report and essay.
(c) will not in itself be assessed, but will be the foundation point for your individual reports and essays, especially (a) which comprises half the total marks for the module.
The critical phrases for (b) include words like 'critique' and 'process'.
note though the 'how' in (b) is not 'we used task analysis' but the nature of meetings, decision processes, project planning, delegation of tasks, personal dynamics (with an academic slant not too bitchy please!!)
(a) should include:
(b) should include
Do avoid very personal remarks, especially in (b) DO NOT say things like "X blew his/her mouth off all the time during meetings, was as a complete pain in the butt and never did any real work".
Remember any project you will be involved in in the future will involve a mix of people with different abilities, personalities, motivations - you will get upset, frustrated, annoyed, homicidal - but the purpose of the report is NOT catharis but reflection!
For (a) imagine that the management have sent a technical advisor to assess the work you have done - you are trying to convince her of the quality and validity of the work, but also (as she is too bright to have the wool pulled over her eyes) to say where deficiencies lie and how they might be dealt with in future on this project or if similar work were done again.
For (b) imagine it is a management consultant and you are writing for who is trying to look at ways to optomise the collaborative working of your team - not to assess your personal contribution or sack any of your colleagues.
Alternatively imagine you are were an ethnographic observer sitting in on all your meetings, but not actually taking part. Issues such as disparity of skills and motivation, external pressures, personality differences during meetings etc. are all important, but dealt with in an impersonal way.
If you do end up describing a difficult incident, but which seems valuable to analyse in terms of the general issues it highlights (e.g. how well you as a team dealt or failed to deal with a conflict and why) then anonymise it. Imagine the report was being produced by an ethnographer for external publication but required agreement of ALL parties before publication.
Don't avoid discussing issues of conflict as they are clearly a critical part of group processes, but do avoid writing things that if your colleagues were to see them would cause enmity for life!
A final way to look at (a) and (b) is in terns of the transferable knowledge you have gained in the CDP.
(a) is about things that you could use to apply to continue and improve the current project or to apply to a very similar project (e.g. site for a national poetry competition site where people submit poems that are then ranked by popular opinion)
(b) is about things that you could apply if you were involved in virtually any collaborative 'design' project (e.g. asked to plan the UK tour of a major rock band including choice of venue, stage design, publicity, business plan etc.)
Do feel free to use existing knowledge from your background disciplines: social psychology, software engineering etc., but for maximum marks you should stretch your coverage to give a broad treatment (i.e. a report that only referenced Sommerville or only referenced Jung[**] would not get high marks!)
[[** OK so I know I'm tarring psychologists with a psycoanalytic brush, but I don't know the right equivalent of sommerville!]]
If you are uncertain as to whether to include a certain point under (a) or (b) please ask.