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Pg Cert Module 1 / 2 (Exemplary Report Structure)

Eyad Elyan

February 10, 2018

February 10, 2018

Overview
Pg Cert Modules 1/ 2 is one form of assessing PhD students at the University. Students at the School of
Computing Science and Digital Media are required to complete these modules and submit a report.

As a CSDM student at the PhD / MPhil level, you are supposed to be able to describe the problem you are
addressing, discuss some of the relevant literature, explain methods and results (if any) and more importantly
outline the future direction, the main research questions, and the plan on how to realise it.
In other words, we want to consider these report as a mini-thesis, that describes a problem, relevant work
and solutions/ or potential solutions.

1 Introduction
Chapter 1 (the introduction to the whole report) must set the seen for your whole report. Briefly describe the
problem, clearly defines it and outlines the main research questions/ or objectives. This chapter shouldn’t
exceed 3 to 5 pages (with the illustrations. A possible structure for such chapter can be outlined as below:

1.1 Overview
Brief overview of the main research problem you are working on. Use simple and clear language.

1.2 Motivation
Why this is important? Why should we care about providing better solutions? Discuss this with your
supervisor and read as much as you can in the core subject area, etc. . .

1.3 Problem Definition


Identify clearly the problem. At very early stage of the PhD, this may not be very clear, however you should
still be able to define the problem statement (this might slightly change over time). Again, discussion with
your supervisor is very important.

1.4 Research Questions


Outline the main research questions or objectives. A list of bullet points is a good practice.

1
1.5 Summary & Report Structure
Conclude and summarise this chapter. Explain to the reader how the rest of this project will be structured?
In summary, this short chapter should provide a good and enough information to the reader about the whole
report.

2 Background Research
Chapter 2 is very important and critical part of your report. Literature review is an on-going process through
out your PhD. It is important to show that you are aware of the state-of-the-art and that you have done
proper investigation.

This is not just a summary of the existing methods, but critical discussion and contrasting of ideas. A good
practice is to try to categorise methods you are reviewing into sections and subsections (i.e. existing methods
addressing similar problem can be broadly categorised as . . . ).

3 Methods / Experiments
Chapter 3: This might include some initial work that you have done such as reproducing an experiment, or
even comparing two different learning algorithms (if you are at the early stage of your PhD). An outline of
such Chapter can be as follows:

3.1 Datasets
What datasets you have used in the experiment (if any)? Data is critical part of the research at CSDM, and
often as a PhD student you will be using more than one dataset to validate your methods. A good practise
is to use datasets available on the public domain.

3.2 Methods
Describe the method/s that you have used. Using illustrations is very good practice and help the reader
know more about your approach. Illustrations might include diagrams, algorithmic pseudo code, etc...

3.3 Experiment-Setup
This section could be part of the method section. Alternatively, you may provide a separate section that
describes in details the experiment technical details (i.e. if any pre-processing methods have been applied to
the data? How the data was split, if you are doing machine learning / AI related topic? How did you sample
the data? Technology platforms/ libraries you used, and where necessary the hardware that was used to
carry out experiments.

3.4 Results and Discussion


Report and discuss results in details. Results are better reported in tabulated format as well as diagrams
(i.e. ROC curves, etc. . . ). It is important to report all results, whenever your algorithm produces better
and/ or worse results than the baseline.

4 Conclusion & Future Work


This is very important chapter in your report. You will summarise you report, discuss methods and results,
and draw conclusions upon your findings. It is import to outline a clear way forward or what is often referred
to as a future work.