Quick and Dirty View of an Artefact Project

This is only intended to help you conceptualise the requirements of a project. Please do not use it as a true reflection as you will lose marks or even fail because there is a lot of missing project requirements.


TitleImprove whole school students attendance through targeted policy change
Context/ BackgroundSchools are judged by Ofsted and parents using an array of indicators which influence the schools’ league table ranking. Whole school attendance is one of these indicators which influences not only the stakeholders’ judgment (Campbell, 2013) but students day-to-day behaviour within the classroom (Campbell, 2014). Research has shown that tackling attendance increases the level of students positive behaviour and learning (Campbell, 2015) which results in an increased students performance (Campbell, 2016). This in turn impacts on the schools’ league table ranking.
ProblemCurrently, whole school student attendance (83%) is lower than the 95% statutory requirement (DoE, 2017).
ImpactStudents are missing literacy and numeracy lessons which means they are falling short of their expected learning target, which will influence the schools’ league table ranking.
AimCreate a new attendance policy and associated procedures which identifies and tackles absenteeism on a daily basis. 
SolutionThe creation of a new attendance policy based on best practice. For example, office staff to phone parents by 930am to identify why their child is not in school. After two phone calls home, the child is referred to the educational welfare officer with a view to issuing an attendance fine.
  1. To investigate best practice and absenteeism 
  2. To examine how a new system could be implemented
  3. To explore how software can be used to support the attendance policy procedures, tracking and monitoring. 
  4. To document the attendance policy procedures and in line with the new absenteeism policy
  1. Write a literature review covering absenteeism best practice and policy design 
  2. Create a project plan in the form of a Gantt chart
  3. Create a risk assessment plan
  4. Produce policy procedures for staff to follow
  5. Manufacture a prototype of the ‘software’ to test the tracking and monitoring process of attendance.
  6. Demonstrate that the new approach to absenteeism is more effective

Project Success Criteria

  1. The attendance figure will improve to 95%
  2. Students will have more assessment evidence in their subject books
  3. Students learning levels will start to improve

The principal actors of the new attendance policy and the associated system will be the school’s administration team. Data will be transferred to other stakeholders such as teachers and the school leadership team but they will not have any day-to-day interaction.  There are two critical constraints a) time availability at the start of the school day and b) access to the tracking software. (Note, some students prefer to mindmap their scope.)

Project Resources

  • Hardware
    • Bullet point list of all required hardware
    • Based on all the software demands
  • Software
    • Bullet point list of all required software
  • Electronics
    • Bullet point list of all required electronics
      • Camera
      • Specialist equipment
  • Library
    • Bullet point list of all required library needs
    • State what topics you will need access to
Project Management Approach 
  • Justify why your approach is this the best management approach for your project
  • Linear (waterfall) or non-linear (agile) management style
    • You may use a different approach during the artefact creation
Project Plan
  • Gantt Chart and narrative of time scale
    • Milestones are reference points (literature review), they are not tasks
    • Must have sub-milestones which are tasks and positioned within a milestone. 
    • All milestones and sub-milestones must have predecessor identified, where apropirate. 
Project Risk Assessment
  • You must state your fall back position if your project fails e.g. the system will be restored to its current state. 
  • Provide a list of risks (resulting in time slippage or project failure) which demonstrates you understand your project
  • Include the likelihood of the risk and the severity of the impact if it happens. 
Research Approach
  • You need to use specific keywords to outline your research approach
  • You do not need to define or reference them, just use them in a sentence. 
  • This section will be a small paragraph 
  • e.g. A positivist-deductive perspective, with a mono-method cross-sectional approach will be used to….
Secondary Data
  • Approaches to improving whole school attendance within the UK
  • Approaches to improving whole school attendance within the outside the UK
  • What is the best practice for writing a whole school policy
  • What design features will increase accessibility and usability of the new attendance policy.
Primary Data
  • Whole school attendance figures (before/ after)
  • Number of students who are persistently absent (before/ after)
  • Classify persistently absent students by risk level (high, medium, low)
  • Number of phone calls home per child
  • Number of referrals to the education welfare office per child
  • Teachers book scan data (evidence of student work) (before/ after)
  • Student assessment level identified by the teacher (before/ after)
Ethical Consideration
  • See this link for details – Ethical and Legal Factors
    • Data Protection (GDPR)
    • Ethical Framework
    • Consider the impact on user and organisation
  • Complete a proportionate ethical form 
  • Create a participant ethical statement (this is the statement which the respondent will agree to just before they answer your questions)
  • Workbased Learners & Apprenticeship students need writtern conformation from the workplace approving the project.
Artefact Success Criteria
  • Create a list of indicators that when achieved will demonstrate that your artefact is successful
  • Identify each success criteria with a unique number
  • The success criteria must link back to your project success criteria
    1. Identify the number of students not attended (whole school attendance rate)
    2. Identify the number of phone calls home (reducing number of phone calls supports an increase in students attendance)
    3. Identify the number of referrals to the educational welfare officer (reducing number of referrals supports an increase in students attendance)
Artefact Requirements
  • This is like saying explicitly identify everything that the artefact will do.
  • What key information from the secondary research will you include in your new attendance policy
  • What key information from the primary research will you include in your new attendance policy
  • Identify each requirement with a unique number and link to your stated artefact success criteria (and because your artefact success criteria are linked to your project success criteria you are closing the circle)
Testing/ Validating
  • Use focus groups with senior managers to identify their understanding of what a new attendance policy will include and look like (and map across to secondary research).
  • Check to make sure that the employees job role allow for the change/ increase in workload (and get this signed off by senior management)
  • Make any changes to the new attendance policy and send out to all stakeholders requesting feedback.
  • Have office staff to enter data into the data tracking tool and act on their feedback.
  • Make any further changes based on feedback and get final approval from senior management
  • Demonstrate (using data) that your artefact requirements have been achieved successfully
Test/ Pilot Study
  • Speak to individual (groups) staff who are required to implement the new attendance policy to make sure that they are able to fulfill the policy requirements.
  • Run the new policy for one week and review the collected data
  • Make any changes and implement
Results/ Discussion
  • After one term (12 weeks) analyse the data and present it in charts, graphs and tables
  • Link back to your secondary research
  • Link back to your project title
  • Link back to your stated success criteria
Critical EvaluationWriting your Critical Evaluation
ConclusionWriting Your Conclusion
RecommendationsWriting Your Recommendations
Critical Reflection
  • Link back to your logs
  • Link back to your updated Gantt Chart

For more detail click here

Summaries Testing Results

  • It is important that you summaries your testing as this helps you to make sure that you have fully completed the testing stage.
  • It also helps you to ensure that you can prove that your artifact has achieved the stated project success criteria (outcomes).
  • Within the summary you to:

You need to be explicit if you have achieved your success criteria (outcomes) using evidence (data/ feedback).

Table 1) Success Criteria – Achievement Summary

NoSuccess criteriaEvidenceAchieved
1Increase in website salesThe data outlined in the web metric section (pg64) indicates that the number of sales has increased by 10% when comparing the four weeks before the website updated to the four weeks following the website updates.Yes


You need to be explicit if the artefact has achieved the stated requirements using evidence (data/ feedback). In your viva, you may want to highlight a few of the critical requirements rather than all of them!

Table 2) Testing of Requirement Summary

NoRequirementSC NoEvidenceAchieved
1The time taken to navigate to an item will be recorded1The test data displayed in table 15 and figure 12 (pg72) indicate that this web metric feature is working. Further testing information is displayed in the test plan (see page 65)Yes


Midpoint Assessment

  • Most students will have to complete a midpoint assessment to:
    • Check that the student is on target to complete (done some work!)
    • Check that the first marker and student have not missed anything (fresh eyes)
    • Provide additional guidance
    • For the second marker to gain an insight into the project before they mark it
  • Every course and university will require different components to the midpoint
  • However, they are either a formal presentation or a informal chat

Your Midpoint

  • Have a chat with your first marker and ask them for advice
  • Look at the assessment criteria and make sure you understand what they mean
    • Make a list of requirements (things to cover) for each assessment point
    • Discussion them with your first marker
  • Be clear about the etiquette (rules) and expectations of the midpoint
    • Who contacts who?
      • Does the student request a meeting or does the second marker issue one
    • What information (evidence/ work) does the second marker require?
      • Sometimes this is explicitly written other times you may want to ask
    • Who is in-charge (controls) the midpoint?
      • Often it is assumed that the student will direct the midpoint as it is your presentation
    • When does the second marker ask questions/ provide feedback
      • Some students and markers prefer addressing questions as they go other students find this off putting.
      • However, most second markers will take lead from the student
  • Think of ways to visualise your project to make it quick and easy for the second marker to understand your project (here and here), this significantly increases your grade potential.
    • It demonstrates to the marker that you understand your project and it requirements
    • It also provides as a talking frame
    • It also provides a very quick summary of your project which you can share with stakeholders

Typical Midpoint Requirements

  1. The reason the project was chosen including a background to the problem
    • This was covered in your project proposal
    • What are the key factors which influence the current situation
    • What are the key factors in the current situation which creates your problem
    • State your problem in one sentence
  2. Identify your artefact
    • This was covered in your project proposal
    • State what your artefact is in one sentence
    • Explain how this artefact will overcome the stated problem
  3. Explore the ethical issues of your project
    • This was covered in your project proposal
    • What are the ethical concern for your project
  4. Identify your research strategy (approach)
    • Discuss your population and sample
    • Discuss your data (qualitative and quantitative)
    • Discuss your experiment design
    • Discuss how you will achieve triangulation
    • Harvard referencing to ensure academic robustness
  5. Identify what you will cover in your secondary research (Literature Review)
    • What information will you need to read about
    • How will this information link to your artefact
    • Harvard referencing to ensure academic robustness
  6. Identify what primary data collection tool(s) you will use
    • What data collection tool(s) will you use?
    • Why will you use this tool(s), link to triangulation?
    • How will the data be used to inform your artefact?
    • Harvard referencing to ensure academic robustness
  7. Identify what analysis tools (software/ hardware) and techniques you will used
    • Spreadsheet to generate central tendencies
    • Harvard referencing to ensure academic robustness
  8. Identify your artefact requirements 
    • What are your artefact success criteria?
    • How do the success criteria link to your secondary research (triangulation)?
    • How do the success criteria link to your primary research (triangulation)?
  9. Justification of your chosen Development Methodology (SDLC) for the artefact
    • What project management approach will you use to manage the artefact development
    • Why is this the best approach (Linear vs Nonlinear)?
  10. Identify how you will testing and validation your artefact
    • How will you test the artefact to make sure it achieves the requirements?
    • How will you test the artefact to demonstrate that it overcame the stated problem?
    • Create a test plan


Look at this report outline as a way of summarising your project

Work Based Project – Kick Start

Remember that this is a university academic report and you must write it to achieved the academic requirements of the university. It just so happens that you are using your workplace as a context.

  • When you are thinking about your Work-Based Project I recommend the following:
    • You turn something you are currently doing into a project
    • Consider doing something which will enhance your status or opportunities
    • Recognise that your project is likely to be very different to that of other students
  • The project needs an output (artefact) e.g.
    • Software Application
    • Best practice guidance
    • System drawings for a proposed new system
  • The report itself is not an output (artefact), the artefact is the output

Start to think about your project

  1. What primary data will you collect to prove there is a problem?
    • System performance data
    • Customer complaints
    • Personal observations supported by colleagues
  2. How will this primary data be used later to support artefact success?
    • The system performance data will indicate ….
    • Customer complaints regarding specific issue will reduce\ stop
    • Colleagues feedback data will indicate a change
  3. What key themes will you need to research (secondary research)?
  4. What are the artefact requirements (success criteria)?
    •  This is determined by:
      • Your primary data collected from question one
      • Your secondary research, question three
      • Current system integration requirements
  5. How will you test your artefact?
    • You need to prove that your artefact is fit for purpose otherwise, how do you really know that you can achieve question six! (here and here)
  6. How will you prove that your artefact has made a difference?
    • See question two

Now look at this report outline and Undertaking a midpoint assessment

The Population for Computer Science

  • Within your research methods section you need to identify your population
  • The population can refer to user, computers, hardware, software, data etc…
  • The population is different to the sample
  • Make sure you understand the difference before your start writing
  • You need to define\ describe your population
    • Highlight the common characteristics of your population
    • Consider the implication of your findings
    • Consider the confounding variables

Key Information

The data (population) you used will determines the implication of your results

  • Testing data from the university can only be applied to the university
  • Testing data from multiple universities can be applied to a range of universities
  • Testing data from multiple places like universities, colleges and schools, means that your findings are useful when talking about all education establishments

Confounding (variable) issues faced by your respondents need to be considered in relation to your hypotheses which you must acknowledge and limit (control) their impact on your findings (results)

  • Where the data comes from
    • Who created it
    • Who stores it
  • The value of the data
    • How useful is it
    • Who uses it
  • What are the characteristic of the data
    • Uniformed and normalised
    • Different formats types and lengths
  • Special issues
    • Different languages (human and computer)
    • Different use of symbols (use of comma with in a sentence or to separate a set of variables)

You will need to define characteristics or requirements which you are looking for within your population

  • It must conform to standard UK/ USA English
  • String values can consist of alpha, numeric and special characters
  • Numeric values must be whole numbers and less than one million

Experimental Design for Computer Science

  • We undertake experiments to identify if there is a difference or relationship
  • Data which is collected is either:
    • Quantitative (numeric)
    • Qualitative (non-numeric or opinions)
  • Computing students are in a difficult situation and may have to consider a range of experiment designs:
    • Experiment design to capture system data (below)
    • Experiment design to capture human data (e.g. interface testing)
  • Where possible I recommend that you capture your data during the computational process (benchmarking, hit counters, mouse and eye tracking maps etc…) as this reduces your workload
  • By using the computer to capture data during the computational process it can very quickly be turned into graphs, charts and tables within your testing section.
  • Most computer science student will use the Single-Case Experiment Design (A-B-A Design) or Prototyping

Key Information

Single-Case Experiment Design (A-B-A Design) or Prototyping

  • Used with individual computers (laptop, raspberry pi) or one group of computers (network)
  • A base-line assessment is completed to benchmark system (speed, range, bandwidth etc…)
  • Apply the changes (implement your artefact)
  • Complete the base-line assessment again, to test your changes
  • If there is a difference then the intervention worked (had an effect)
  • This is called ‘related samples,’ as the data comes from the same sample (set of data) but at different times

System Modelling or System Simulation

  • Used to simulate real-world
  • A base-line assessment is completed to benchmark the real world system (speed, range, bandwidth etc…)
  • Create a test sample (data set) to represent real-world input
  • Create artefact to process test sample and simulate real-world
  • Move to Non-Experimental Design or Single-Case Experiment Design (A-B-A Design)

Non-Experimental Design (Descriptive Study)

  • Non-experimental designs has no control (testing or randomness)
  • Examples of non-experimental designs could be monitoring the computer system to understand what is happening
  • Create an idea (hypothesis) base on the monitoring data
  • Move a Single-Case Experiment Design

Critical Evaluation

  • The critical evaluation is where you justify that your artefact has achieved the project aim
  • It is about highlighting key events and data which supports the artefact success
  • IMPORTANTLY you need to link (not re-explain) to different components of your report
  • You need to consider all elements of your report, see figure 1 below.
  • You need to include the following:
    • Identify strength and weakness in your research, artefact and results
    • Discuss your result in relation to your requirements or problem (Fit for purpose)
    • Link your results to theories and practices in your literature review
    • Link your result back to your aims, objectives, and deliverables

Figure 1: Snapshot of a critical evaluation (pass level)

Testing Evidence

Prove It Works (black and white box testing)

  •  Visual indication of system checks can be used for:
    •  User interface testing and development
    •  Algorithm testing and development
    •  System connectivity
  • You may have a developers or admin page which presents the status of ALL data within the system in a table format which updated in real-time.
  • This could be used during the viva to show that the artefact internal control is responding to issues
  • For example


Refine Your Artefact (user testing, algorithm manipulation)

  • You must be able to prove to the markers that you have actually refined your artefact
    • Algorithm
      • Benchmarking
      • Display results in a chart and analysis
    • Interface
      • User testing
      • Display results in a chart and analysis
  • For example, a simple time-to-target test can provide a wealth of knowledge, see below
    • Now combine this with other tests like eye and mouse tracking


Plan Your Literature Review

  • Planning your literature review will help you to:
    • Focus your research
    • Achieve your stated project aims and objectives
    • Link your literature review to your artefact requirements
  • There are lots of different ways to plan your literature review here is one:
    • Start with your project aims and objectives
    • List key theme which you will cover (linked to project aims and objectives)
    • List some key questions which your content will need to cover or answer
    • Link the content to the three critical factors a) Context, b) Problem and c) Solution
    • List some key questions which a solution will need to consider (these are likely to be your requirements)
  •  For example:


The Use of Feedback Within eLearning Software Aimed at Secondary Schools


Research Approach – Overview

  • You need to outline how, why and what data collection you will undertake
  • You need to list examples of primary and secondary data collection
    • This could include initial data collection, literature reviews and artefact test
  • You need to tell me the following:
    • Tell me what data you will collect
    • Tell me how you will collect this data
    • Tell me how you will analysis this data
    • Tell me how this data will be used to overcome your problem
    • Tell me any problems you may encounter
    • Must include keywords linked to research methods and statistical analysis
  • There are lots of different ways of doing this, below is a simple example:
    • This example is missing all the associated keywords to stop students copying and pasting
    • You need to include words linked to descriptive analysis (quantitative, qualitative, continuous and discrete data, central tendency etc…)
  • To get you thinking, look at this image


Indicate the research approach which your study will use

Read each of these links and tell me which ones apply to your project. (Please note, the number of keywords which you will use is dependent on your project. However, terms like population, sample, time horizon and data collection approaches are common in 99% of student reports.)

Initial User Assessment to Understanding the Problem

A quantitative survey will be used identify user barriers and reason for not engaging with the University App.  This data will be analysed using descriptive statistics and displayed in charts, tables and graphs to identify key reasons for poor engagement with the current app.  A potential issue with using surveys to collect users feedback is the poor response rate.  To increase the response rate the survey will be presented digitally through the students’ email account and the university website. The survey will also be presented in a paper form in popular student locations such as the student union.  An optional prize draw of £20 will be offered to all respondents.

Exploring the Literature

The key findings will be used to identify specific topics to investigate, such as human-computer interface design and web accessibility requirements relating to mobile technology. The literature will be used to identify best practice, current solutions, and methodologies used within mobile software design.  This knowledge will feed into the artefact requirements and development increasing the success of this research project. A possible issue which may be encountered is the volume of research on mobile interface design and the differing views and approaches. To help reduce this possible issue the additional documents such as International Organization for Standardization and the World Wide Web Consortium will be consulted.

Creating the Artefact

Based on the findings from the ‘initial user assessment’ and the ‘literature review’ the artefact requirements will be listed and explicitly linked to either the initial user assessment and/ or the literature review.  This will ensure that the artefact achieves all the identified requirements and thus overcome the stated problem of poor student engagement with the university app.

Technical Documents

Technical diagrams and drawings will be created to visualise the system.  These technical documents will be used to ensure that all the requirements are present within the artefact and thus overcoming the problem.  These technical documents will then be used to create the artefact ready for testing.  The following technical document will be created:

  • Diagrams which show data flow around the system such as, UML activity diagrams
  • Diagrams which show the database structure such as an entity relation diagram
  • Diagrams interface design and layout, including Cascading Style Sheets tables

Testing the Artefact

  • Prove your artefact works
    • black and white box testing
  • Refine the artefact process for accuracy
    • test group feedback – change interface – feedback – change interface – finalise documentation

Real world testing (Student feedback)

  • Release and get feedback from students
  • Compare feedback with initial student feedback to show artefact improvement