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This article with keyword: How-choose-Final-Year-Project-Topic s comprehensively discusses the steps involved in choosing final year project topic in Computer Science and Information Technology.
This is the third article of the five-series comprehensive guide on how to write final year project topic proposal in Computer Science and Information Technology for final year undergraduate students.
Because I made references to the first and second introductory articles, I advise that you click here to first of all read the part 1 and then here for part 2 before you continue with this. However you can still read and understand this particular article alone.
The article is based on research from books along with self-experimentation and experience. The book I consulted in this particular article is:
Hassani, H. (2012). How to do the Final Year Projects A practical Guideline for Computer Science and IT students.
Notwithstanding, I recommend you click here to check the books out.
The first step in writing a final year project proposal is choosing of the project topic or topics as the case may be. There has to be at least a topic to propose before writing the proposal.
Choose of Project Topic is not only a step in writing final project proposal. It is also the first step in the overall project involvements. And just as the foundation of a building, the success and failure of the entire project to a great extent depends on the topic the student selects. Let’s therefore look at the steps involved in choosing project.
Quickly just before we discuss the steps in choosing project topic(s), let us see the various sources of project topics.
Sources of Project Topics
There are generally about three sources of final year project topics. These include:
1. School/Departmental Publications
This is when the school or department publishes a list of project topics at the beginning of every semester from which the final year students for that year chooses from. The method and manner in which schools or department publishes the topic differs from school to school. While some schools publish the list of project topic only, others publish the list of topics with little explanation of the problem area.
From the list, final year students choose the project topic that interests them. This source of project topic however has a couple of drawbacks. For instance, more than one student may be interested in the same project topic. Usually in such case, if group projects are allowed such students are made to carry out the project as group work – you can fathom the inconvenience if one of such students did not plan working with others. If on the other side the school or department does not allow group projects, one of the students (usually the later one) will be forced to pick another topic.
Another drawback of school or departmental project topic publication is the inadequacy of the list – or when the topics do not go round for every student. Yet another is that the students may not have enough insight into the topics and therefore may face several unforeseen irregularities that may mar the entire work.
These and other reasons made many students not to bank on project topics from the school or department. Many schools and department also no longer see publishing project topics a necessity.
2. Project Supervisor Suggestions
This is when individual project supervisors publish the list of project topics which he or she wants the final year students under him or her to work on. Supervisors’ list of project topics usually comes with two conditions. First, the supervisor may mandate the students to pick one topic from his/her list. Alternatively, the supervisor may allow the students freedom to propose topic(s) of their choice – but subject to approval.
Note that some schools and departments publish supervisors list alongside the supervisors’ list of final year project topics.
This source of final year project topics also has similar drawbacks as the school and departmental publications. In addition, some academics (faculties), proponents of students’ choice of final year project topic, argue that given students final year project topics takes away the avenue for the students to demonstrate their critical thinking and problem-identification abilities. However, opponent (of students’ choice of final year project topics) academics or faculties counter that limiting students’ choice to a list of given problem builds their ability to adapt, concentrate and tackle any given problem.
3. Students Proposal
Now this is the last source of final year project topics – that which comes from the students. Regardless of the other sources of final year project topics discussed earlier, almost all schools allow final year students to suggest or propose their own final year project topics. However, whether the supervisor, project coordinator or school/departmental panel depends on the criteria they consider in their proposal acceptance process.
Generally, these criteria are what I stated as objective of final year project proposal earlier in the second part of this series.
Step By Step Guide To Choosing Final Year Project Topics
Alright, now that we have seen the various sources of final year project topics; let’s see the step by step guide to choosing final year project topics.
There are basically three steps to choosing final year project topic. These include:
- Self-Awareness Study
- Observation and Research
Whether picking branded clothes from the shelves or sowing tailored ones, one must know his or her measurement to get the best fit. In much the same way, the first step in choosing a final year project topic is to better discover self.
Self-discovery, it is said, is best accomplished in solitude. Hence, the student need to look inwardly to identify the person s/he is, what skills s/he has and the career path s/he intends to take. These realizations will not only help the student to choose a topic that s/he will be interested to work on but will also be delighted doing so because it will also means advancement in an intended directions.
Use these questions to discover yourself, in terms of academics and not in the general sense of the term.
- Who are you? Describe yourself in terms of your emotions or temperaments. What industry are you passionate about – is it education, health, sports, culture, religion, tourism, politics, entertainment, life style/fashion or what? This industry refers to what you love talking about when you are not on your work. Or the area from whose discussion or issues interests you. For example, some techies love talking about education. Although they may not be in education, they seem to be readily engrossed on education matters whenever it crosses their path.
- Write your ambition. Who do you want to be? What career path do you desire taking after graduation – android app development, web programming, windows application or what? The career path should be more than a mere want. It should be a strong desire. And you should be convinced to already possess foundation skills for such career.
- What is your current skill level? What technologies are you already proficient at or which technologies can you easily upscale to master level? This should be technologies you use to implement a given project to completion.
With these pieces of information down, the student should now be able to choose relevant project topic. The student uses these pieces of information to limit or streamline his or her choices only to topics that will interest him/her.
With that up-sleeve, let us now move on to Observation and Research
The second step in choosing a final year project topic is observation and research. The student, after self-discovery, observes or looks around the industry of his or her passion (as discussed above) and the various activities that is carried out in the industry. Afterwards try answering the following questions:
- What tasks tend to pose challenge to pupil in the industry, what problem? You can easily get the answer to the question using the key characteristics of computer – speed, accuracy and efficiency.
Look for activities that are seemingly slow – activities that cause delay on delivery.
Also, look for activities that are prone to error – activities that workers seem to make a lot of mistakes.
Finally, look for activities that workers/stakeholders are not doing right at all. That is, workers are not doing what they are supposed to do.
Try to get as many of this kind of activity as possible.
- Find out, what are the processes involved in these activities? Write the processes clearly in steps and in orderly manner. Also find out the reason for the delay, error and inefficiency in the system. Finally, gather suggestions to solving the problems of the system from the key players.
- Research and ascertain which of these activities can be automated? Which one do you think can be improved upon ‘using computer’? Write out the automatable activities from the in-automatable activities. Then strike out the later and use the former to proceed with the next steps.
- Finally, research – usually by discussing with colleagues – i.e. fellow Computer/IT professionals – to list out the technical tools and skills required for each of the automatable activities.
- Finally, creatively title each of the topics. Remember to give enticing, professional and descriptive titles. The title is the first thing people get to know about your project. And it determines whether they will be pick interest in the project to find out more about it or not.
With these, you should have enough topics to choose from. Then we move to the next step of deciding which final year project topic to select.
Note that the next (selection) section is also relevant to final year students who wish to pick from the other two sources of final year project topic that I discussed earlier.
Selection of Final Year Project Topic
Now that the final year student has a couple of final year project topics from the previous activities, it is time to demonstrate the power of choice.
Prior to outlining the steps to choose project topic, it is pertinent to note that you should not select a topic based on the topic alone. Instead, your choice should be informed and logical.
Now, let us see the steps to choose final year project topic from a list of topics. This list may be that which the students generated through the steps that I discussed earlier. Or the list may be given by your final year project supervisor. Finally, the list may be from departmental publication.
Wherever the source of the list of final year project topics, there are the same steps to select suitable one(s). I outline the steps below. Note that there are three key criteria to base the choice of final year project topics. These are:
- The interestingness of the topic to the student,
- The student’s background knowledge of the topic, and
- The technical skills required for the accomplishment of the topic which the student possess.
If you follow my guide on choosing final year project topic from the beginning, all these three variables should be available to you for all the topics in your list. You should get the interestingness of the topic as well as the background knowledge from questions 1 and 2 under self-awareness while the technical skills required for the accomplishment of the topic which the student possess can be gotten from comparing question three under the same self-awareness and number 4 tips under Observation and Research. We will now assign numerical value to each of the variables and determine how you can select the most suitable topics for you. Follow these steps to arrive at this.
- Make the list of available topics and the variables into a table in the format below.
|Technical skills requirement||Total score|
- Assuming a scale of 1 to 100% for each variable, grade the topics under each column
- Find the cumulative score of each topic and record under total score
- Select the first three topics for your proposal
This should leave you with three good topics for your final year project. Remember that the final year project is crucial to your successful graduation. Hence, do not rush things. Do it diligently and do it right. More so, do not lie to yourself, after the final selection; ask yourself if truly the topics interest you and if you can accomplish it within the available timeframe.
More importantly, this is not the end. You cannot just select the topics and start working on it – no! You still have to defend the topic you have selected and convince your final year project supervisor, coordinator or panel that the topics meet the basic requirement and that you will be able to accomplish the task.
This can be accomplished in two steps, a convincing proposal and a killing presentation (if applicable in your case). A number of schools or supervisors require students to write and submit a formal proposal for their topics and also make presentation on it to the department’s academic judge – the lecturers of which your supervisor is probably a member of.
This leads us to our next guide – how to make a draft and organize the proposal.
This is comprehensive guide on how to write final year project proposal in Computer Science and Information Technology at the undergraduate level. In order to make the guide and easy for our readers, the guide is broken down into a five-series post. This is the third of the series. If you haven’t already, click here to quick-check the first or click here to read the second. Also, you may click here to see the entire thread. Don’t miss out the next post, join our newsletter by submitting your email via the box at the right sidebar (if you are using tablet, laptop or desktop) or below (if you are using other mobile phones) of this page.