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Module Introduction for Engineering Projects


Module Introduction
Projects are about change. The prpose of your project should be :

To bring about change or
To investigate the feasibility and consequences of a proposed change.
This change could take many forms, for example
Physically changing some engineering component, equipment, plant etc.

Changing the established working procedures to bring about greater efficiency, effectiveness or accuracy
The following sections set out what you need to do to complete the project. 

Select The Project
Please note : you need to select a project within your discipline e.g. students on HNC/D Mechanical Engineering should select a µMechanical
Engineering Project. It is worth spending some time on selecting a suitable project. The project needs to be large enough to provide sufficient interest, activities and outcomes, but not so large that it lacks focus.

It is best if the project addresses a problem which needs an engineering solution. For employed students this is usually something identified in the workplace, these make the best projects. If you are not employed in engineering, then you can make a project around your interests, it may be useful to conduct a project which would be interesting to a prospective employer.

The project does not have to be something that is carried out physically, it can be a theoretical project, whereby you determine the expected results of your proposed modification or change through calculations, research or otherwise.

Before beginning the project you need to confirm the topic and objectives of your project idea with your tutor. In a brief email to your tutor :

a) Set out the background for the project, the situation in which the need for the project came about e.g. is there is a problem with the functioning of some plant or equipment, or, is the efficiency of a process poor? Set out the background which describes this situation, use photographs or diagrams if this helps. 

b) Write out explicitly the aims of the project, what the project aims to achieve. i.e. : The SXUSRVe Rf Whe SURjecW iV WR.

If you have recently carried out a real project then this can be written up retrospectively.

Once you have agreed the project topic and objectives with your tutor you can commence with planning the project

1. Plan The Project
You need to plan the activities of the project. The implementation of the project requires you to carry out activities, these could include : carrying out research, collecting data, performing calculations, designing components, writing the project, making the presentation, writing the
report etc. Whatever activities you feel are necessary for your project. You need to record the planned the activities of the project using an
appropriate chart e.g. a GANTT chart. 

Module Introduction

2. Implement The Project
You need to carry out the planned activities of the project. Do not worry if your activities need to be different from those planned, this is the nature of projects, things change. There is no need to update your plan each time you make a change, however you will need to reassure yourself that the project is still feasible in the allotted timescale.

As you work through your project, keep a log of your activities, these should include contact with your tutor and any other communications with external bodies. If you did need to make changes to the project activities, record these changes in the log.

Keep a record of your thoughts and ideas, even if these were not used or implemented, they will contribute to the report.

Ensure you keep a clear record of all results or outcomes you produce while working on the project. 

3. Formulate Your Discussion/Conclusions
Think about these questions :
To what extent have the objectives of the project been achieved?
Where the objectives have not been fully achieved : why is this ?
What do your results or findings tell you, what conclusions can you draw from these?

4. Formulate Your Evaluation
Reflect or look back on your project and evaluate how well the project was designed and conducted. If you were to begin the project again how
would you change it? This is not about how good the results of the project are, but about the process you used in carrying out the project. For example : should you have included more research; was the project too broad/narrow? What have you learned (about projects) in carrying out this project?

5. Write The Report
You need to write a project report using the following sections (but if your report needs further sections, please add these).

A brief overview of the following sections of the report, i.e. a brief outline of the background and objectives of the project, with the overall results and main conclusions.

Contents Page
Showing all sections, including appendices.

The background to the project, the situation in which the project arises. This helps the report reader to put the project in context. Photographs and diagrams are particularly useful here.

A statement of the purpose of the project. What does the project expect to achieve. A statement beginning : The purpose of the project is to

A record of the activities which were carried out, for example the calculations which were made, the research which was carried out or the sketches/procedure used which led to the final design. You need to show how your results were achieved/produced.

The outcomes of the project, what was produced by the activities, for example the final drawings for a design project, or the final results of  9
calculations. Where multiple calculations are carried out, please set out an example calculation and tabulate the results for the remainder (there is no need to show the calculation for all results)

Costing information relating to the overall cost of project implementation. What are the financial benefits of carrying out the project?

Compare the results/outcomes of the project with the initial project aims and objectives. Did the project achieve its objectives? If not, what are the differences?

This is an evaluation of how you carried out the project, not an evaluation of the subject of the project, but the process you used.  

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