Proposal FAQs (from CM51075)

Do I have to use LaTeX?

Q:  Will we lose marks if we utilise a word processing package other than latex?

A:  First of all, latex isn't really a word-processing package, it's just a text-formatting package.  You could actually write your latex in Word if you saved it as ASCII text rather than as a Word file.  I wouldn't recommend this; I'd recommend learning emacs!  Emacs will do colour highlighting & help you write your bibtex entries.

But anyway, you aren't going to lose marks just because you didn't use latex.  However, you will lose marks if you do the bibliography incorrectly, or if your formatting isn't neat and readable.  Latex could solve these problems for you.  So if you don't use latex, you will have to be extra careful.

From 2003

My articles aren't here yet!

Q:  Not all the articles I requested have arrived -- they are on interlibrary loan from Siberia.  Does this mean I can't do my Lit Review?

A: You are submitting a proposal, not a lit review!  There are three purposes for the proposal:
  1. To get a bunch of your dissertation and research done in advance of the summer.
  2. To make sure you communicate thoroughly with your supervisor before you spend any more time.
  3. To prove you've learned the content of CM50175.  That is, that you can do research & write dissertations.
You don't have to have done your complete literature review to do any of these three things.  Just write up what you have learned so far.  Refer to the articles or books you have discovered but not yet read as future work, just like the rest of your research project you will be doing this summer.

What about LaTeX?  OR  How do I do proper referencing?

Q: Weren't you going to make us a latex template?

A: OK, I finally did this!  It's on the BUCS unix computers.

Login & then cd to ~cssjjb/easy and read the README.

This isn't the full dissertation, but from what I've seen this is more like what people are doing for their proposals.  It's also an easier first thing to learn.  People who are using Word may still want to look at the document proposal.pdf in that directory to see some examples of how to correctly do quotes, references and section numbering.  Pay particular attention to how you reference figures and block quotes.

I learned something without reading!

Q:  Dear Dr. Bryson,
I am writing this email in order to ask you about something that might be
useful to include in my project proposal at some extent. I should better
mention that my project is in the computer vision research area and it is
at attempt to reconstruct 3D objects from a sequence of 2D images. During
my Easter holiday's back in Greece I managed to experience the usage and
evaluation of three commercial 3D scanning systems in a technology
research institute in my city. I though it would be useful such an
experience for my project and I have compiled a small report mentioning
the pros and cons of those systems and now I wondering if something like
that would be appropriate to be mentioned within the project proposal and
if yes I was looking forward for any guidelines of where I could fit such
I am looking forward hearing from you
Kind Regards,
Anestis Koutsoudis

A:  (Don't worry, I got permission to print that letter!  You can email me without necessarily winding up on this page!)
Yes, you should absolutely include the information from your report!  That 
sounds like very valuable research you have done, and may help motivate or
even determine some of the approaches you take on your project. So it
would actually be incorrect to leave it out of your dissertation, and a
shame to leave it out of the "proposal". Don't forget that the proposal
is, among other things, a head-start on writing your dissertation.

Where exactly you put the information from your report depends on the
rest of the proposal structure -- I can only guess since I don't know
what you have chosen to do. I should think you would have that in a
chapter/section called "related work" or "background", or possibly even
reviewed in your methodology or motivation sections if it leads directly
into the methodology you are using yourself.

You will probably need to rewrite the report a bit to make it fit
into the style of your dissertation -- it should be a subsection of the
text. You also should cite any references available in the literature
describing the set up you've seen (ask the people who gave you the tour
for them!) That will help people who want to know more about what you have
seen but don't have the same opportunity to visit.

page author: Joanna Bryson
last updated: 25 April 2004