The most difficult part of writing a Final Year Project (FYP) is often 'where to begin'. Here are a few tips to help you..
- Think of a topic in your course that you have found particularly interesting. This may be a chapter or an issue in a book associated with your course. Or it could be the wole or part of an assignment that you wished to explore in more detail. On the other hand, in the social sciences and business, there may be an issue in the news (read a good newspaper regularly!) that excites your attention.
- Make sure that the issue is researchable. This means that there must be a literature base either in textbooks or periodicals. The literature base needs to be academic and not journalistic to add to the credibility of your FYP
- Be prepared to spend several hours in an academic library to help you search out good sources on your intended topic. Remember the Internet is good for some things but there is no 'quality control' so some of the articles you get might be too emphemeral or journalistic for an academic piece of work.
- It is probably better to think of the whole of your final year project as essentially answering a question rather than researching a field.
- Make a plan of the chapters. Your plan is likely to look like this:
- Literature review
- Updating/applying new research
- Recent developments
- Case study/small survey
Think of reading around the subject and writing your initial plan as a process in which each activity reinforces the other in a circular process. Do some initial research, then make a tentative plan, then do more reading to 'flesh out' the plan, then revise the plan and so on. Your plan only needs to be tentative at this stage - in all probability it will actually get revised as you make progress through your project. You should provide your tutor with a copy of your plan on your first substantive meeting.
- Do not think you have to do all of the reading around the topic before you start to write. Read or research sufficiently to write the first chapter (literature review) and then start writing a first draft
- When you start writing, set yourself a target - say 500-1000 words per day and then you will feel that you are making progress
You might also like to consult the document Planning.doc which details three stages in the formulation of a final year project. [The large document may take a minute to load]