Specification and Proposed Design (Documentation and Presentation)


By this stage of the project students should have completed the preliminary research and analysis required for the project and so have a clear (preliminary) idea of how they will carry out their project. Typically, this understanding will be recorded in a design using some standard methodology. The purpose of the two deliverables for this stage, a specification and design document, and a presentation, is to present this information both in written form and orally.

Learning outcomes

Students should be able to:

Description of the task

Your task is to produce a specification and design document for your project, and to conduct an oral presentation.

  1. The specification and proposed design documentation should comprise a brief summary of your activities since the project began, a plan of what you intend to do in the realisation phase of the project, together with an outline of your design. Your design will depend upon your chosen methodology, but should cover all important aspects of the system, at an appropriate level of detail. The suggested structure of the design document is described below.

    It is recommended that this document should be no more than ten A4 pages long (with reasonably-sized font and margins), but there is no penalty for exceeding the recommended length.

    The specification and design document must be written by yourself using your own words (see the University guidance on academic integrity for additional information).

  2. The presentation is intended to give a description of what you have done by way of research and design, rather than a detailed presentation of the design itself. Such detailed information will be given in the documentation submitted earlier. The suggested structure of the presentation is described below.

    The use of presentation software is strongly recommended (such as the LaTeX "beamer" document class, Powerpoint, etc). You should give a copy of your presentation to both assessors. Is is assumed that 10 minutes will be allocated for the presentation, plus time for questions from the assessors, typically 5 minutes.

    IMPORTANT Due to the current pandemic (COVID-19) restrictions all presentations will take place online (recommended) or can be prerecorded. In the latter case the online session is reduced o 5-minute long QandA session. The recommended systems for the online presentations are MS Teams and Zoom which are supported by the university. When arranging the presentation/QandA session take into account the geographic locations of all parties involved as they may be at different time zones.
    If you have problems with scheduling an online presentation/QandA sessions please let the project coordinator know via the e-Project system as early as possible, so some alternative ways of assessment can be considered.

Structure of documentation and presentation

A suggested structure for the specification and design documentation is as follows:

  1. SUMMARY OF PROPOSAL: A brief statement of what the project is about (likely both a non-technical summary and a more detailed technical summary could be appropriate). A summary of the research and analysis carried out so far should also be included.

  2. DESIGN: Outline of both system design, according to the chosen methodology, and evaluation design. Although designs will vary according to the needs of particular projects, typical cases are as follow:
    1. If the project involves the development of a substantial software system and an object oriented design method is used for the system, then the system design might include: use case diagrams; an interaction chart (also known as an event trace); class diagrams; pseudo-code for the key methods; interface design consisting of interfaces sketches, navigation chart/story boards; test design consisting of test cases. The evalution design would state what criteria will be used to evaluate whether the system is suceesful; how these criteria will be assessed; who will be involved in the evaluation; what kind of conclusion you expect from the evaluation.
    2. If the project involves the development of a substantial software system but a more traditional (such as SSADM) style design is used for the system, then the system design might include: data flow diagrams; entity relationship diagrams; entity life histories; pseudo code for the key processes; interface design consisting of interface sketches, navigation chart/story boards; test design consisting of test cases. The evalution design would state what criteria will be used to evaluate whether the system is suceesful; how these criteria will be assessed; who will be involved in the evaluation; what kind of conclusion you expect from the evaluation.
    3. For a project involving the empirical investigation of some hypothesis one would normally expect to see things such as: a statement of the hypotheses to be tested; a description of the test data to be used; an experiment design, the experiments to be performed, any control to be used; a description of how the results will be analysed, including any statistical techniques that will be used; anticipated conclusions; program designs for any software that needs to be developed to generate the test data or conduct the experiments.
    1. What data is necessary for the project, and how will it be obtained?
    2. Ethical use of human data
  4. PLAN: A description of the progress to date and an outline of planned activities for the future (e.g. you could include a Gantt chart). This should be at an appropriate level of detail (discuss the level of detail with your supervisor).

The design presentation should follow the same structure as the design documentation but focus on the most important elements of the design.

The presentation and document should clearly show a design method that has been followed, and that the design has been carried out with sufficient attention to detail to inspire confidence that it can be realised, tested, and evaluated in the time remaining for the project.

Submission of work and arrangement of presentation

Submission of the specification and design document and a copy of the presentation slides is done in electronic form (PDF format only) via the Coursework Submission System.

A zipped version of the document is acceptable for the electronic submission. Do not use any form of compression other than ZIP!!

The deadline for the submission of both the specification and design document and the presentation slides is Friday 9 July 2021 (5:00pm).

Note that during submission of the work, you are also making an online Declaration of Academic Integrity.

You should arrange (with the markers) a convenient time for the presentation. The presentation is expected to take place during the week of Week 6 (July 12-16) (naturally, some variations might be expected due to the absence of assessors).


The assessment will determine to what extent learning outcomes stated above have been achieved and will cover both the specification and design documentation and the presentation. The assessment will be conducted by two markers. Each marker will produce separate feedback and grades (according to the COMP702 project marking descriptors below) that will be reported back to you as well as a combined mark (with a maximum of 100 points).

This mark will count for 20% of the overall final grade for the project. Failure in this task can be compensated by higher marks on the other assessments of the project.

For your guidance, a copy of the feedback form that will be used to assess your design and presentation is available.

COMP702 project marking descriptors

Table 1: Project marking descriptors
GradeClassificationPercentage Qualitative Description
A*Good Distinction80+Factually almost faultless; perceptive and focused treatment of all issues. Clearly directed; logical; comprehensive coverage of topic; strong evidence of reading/research outside the material presented in the programme; substantial elements of originality and independent thought; very well written. critical and scholarly presentation.
ADistinction70-79Logical; enlightening; originality of thought or approach; good coverage of topic; clear, in-depth understanding of material; good focus; good evidence of outside reading/research; very well written and directed.
BGood Pass60-69Logical; thorough; factually sound (no serious errors); good understanding of material; evidence of outside reading/research; exercise of critical judgement; some originality of thought or approach; well written and directed.
CPass50-59Worthy effort, but undistinguished outcome. Essentially correct, but possibly missing important points or inadequate treatment. Largely derived from material delivered in the programme, but with some evidence of outside reading/research; some evidence of critical judgement; some weaknesses in expression/presentation.
DCompensatable Fail40-49Incomplete coverage of topic; evidence of poor understanding of material; Poor presentation; lack of coherent argument. Very basic approach to a narrow or misguided selection of material. Lacking in background and/or flawed in structure.
FFail< 40Serious omissions; significant errors/misconceptions; poorly directed at targets; evidence of inadequate effort. Shallow and poorly presented work showing failure in understanding.

Late submissions

The University's standard policy on lateness penalties will be applied with respect to the latest electronic submission of the specification and design document and/or design presentation slides. See Section 6 of the Code of Practice on Assessment for further details.

Other Penalties

  1. For every 5 minutes (or part thereof) in excess of the 10 minutes reserved for your presentation (excluding time spent on questions from the markers), 5 marks (out of 100 available for the assessment) will be subtracted.
  2. If the electronic submission of the design document or the presentation slides is not a PDF file, then 5 marks (out of 100 available for the assessment) will be subtracted for each non-PDF file submission.
  3. NOTE: The use of a compression format other than ZIP poses a serious risk that your work may not be marked. If we can't decompress it, then we can't read it!

However, penalties will not reduce the mark below the pass mark for the assessment. Work assessed below the pass mark will not be further penalized for exceeding the presentation time limit or electronic submission in an incorrect format.