MAT 534 Fall 2005

GROUP PROJECTS

1. __Background __

The goal of the project is different than that of homework problems. The
project is a research assignment that has a general goal, but may not have a
clear answer. You are supposed to use the knowledge acquired in class, to think
about the problem for several days, to ask new questions and to try to answer
them, to stir your imagination, and to search for suitable references. Start as
soon as possible, and let your subconscious work for you. Solutions will come
to you at the strangest times!

Each project will be based on one of the Explorations at the end of Chapter
11, 12, or 13 of your text.
The description given in each Exploration section includes a list of
questions but since the project is not a homework assignment, do not simply
hand in a list of solutions to each question. Use these questions to guide your investigation of the
problem.

2. __Written
progress report:__ * *

This will be a short report on your progress. Include any unexpected problems and how you have resolved or are planning to resolve them. This report does not need to be any longer than one (typed) page.

You and your partner will give a presentation on your work. Presentations should be 15-20 minutes long with about 5 minutes for questions.

The presentation
should follow this outline

I.
Problem description. In your own words expand the description given in your
book. This should take 2-3 slides and your goal should be to motivate why one
would want to study this problem.
For example, justify the equations, describe what type of phenomena they
describe and outline the questions you intend to answer or explore in your project.

II. Approach. Do not spend a lot of time going through the math but outline the approaches or methods you used from class (or outside of class) to study your problem. This should take 2-3 slides.

III. Results. You may want to show a lot of graphs or tables at this point but make sure there is a summary slide which lists your conclusions about the graphs or tables. Do not show a table or graph unless it explains a point you want to make or one of your conclusions.

Some general
suggestions:

a. Make the presentation simple, and do not include too many details. If someone is interested in your work, they can read the full report.

b. Realize that your audience is the other members of the class.

c. Do not put up a slide with very complicated drawings or millions of numbers. Less is more.

d. Begin with a slide containing the title of the project, and the names of the people in the group.

e. Use a large font, or write large enough so people can see in the back of the room. I would use no more than 12 lines per slide.

The final
research paper should include an introduction, methods, results, and discussion
section accompanied by tables and graphs illustrating your results. Follow the basic instructions I gave
above for the oral presentation.
In addition, use complete sentences, good grammar and correct
punctuation in your mix of equations, formulas and prose. Your report should be
written in such a way that it can be read and understood by anyone who knows
the material in this course. You will be graded on your written presentation as
well as the mathematical content.

A one-page executive summary or abstract should also be included at the
beginning of the report. Write this in non-technical language for the reader
who has an interest in the research question but does not have any technical
training. It must state briefly: (1) the research question and why it is
important; (2) the methods used to study the question; (3) the findings and
what they mean; and (4) what action you recommend on the basis of your
findings.