Project Proposal

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In this course, you will complete a half-semester-long Class Project. This project will be completed in groups of two(please contact the instructor if you want to work independently).

At a high level, successful projects will raise an important research question, and plan and execute a methodology for answering that question. Often, this methodology will include building and evaluating a prototype system, but hacking is not strictly necessary. All projects require a study — obviously a much more thorough study will be expected of projects that do not involve system building. The goal of the project abstract draft (described below) is to help you scope your work appropriately.

A draft of your project proposal is due on October 21 . Course staff will provide feedback on the draft to assist in the preparation of a polished version, due on October 30. Both need to be submitted via email attachments to the instructor and the TA.


The draft project abstract should cover the following topics:

Research Question: What are you trying to answer? State this as clearly as possible in one sentence.

Hypothesis: what do you think the answer to your question is, and why?

Method: how will you explore your hypothesis, and why is that the right approach? (This should include the design of your study.) Grounding this in methodologies that other researchers have used (e.g. by drawing from the class readings) is a good idea. There are three major points you should hit here.

Study design: What are you going to do?
Evaluation: How will you know you succeeded? What will you measure? How will you measure it?
Ecological Validity: Why does your study answer your research question? Why does your evaluation address your hypothesis?

Study Recruitment Plan: how will you get participants for your study? For pilot studies, we suggest you recruit from within the class -- "trading" participation with other groups is a great way to learn about what others are doing. For larger studies (e.g. for those not building a system), you need a clear recruitment plan.

Biggest Risk: what's the riskiest component of your project? (may not be able to get the hardware you need, robustly implementing the ___ algorithm may take too long, the difference between conditions may not be measurable, ...)

For the draft, we expect you to cover all topics in 2-3 paragraphs--be concise but concrete in your descriptions. For the final version, you'll want to go into greater depth (approximately 2 paragraphs for each issue, with the exception of the research question, which should still be be one precise sentence).

We encourage you to iterate multiple times on this abstract. While there is only one formally defined point for receiving feedback from course staff, you should seek out more informal feedback as you work on this. E-mail us at any point if you'd like us to take a look at your current submission, or come to office hours if you'd like to discuss in person. You are free to change directions after submitting your draft, but the sooner you nail down a direction, the better your project is likely to be.

Submission Instructions

One submission is needed for each project group. Please send your proposal as an email attachment to the instructor and the TA by 10:00AM on the due date.