Research Project
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2003-09-23 14:42

Peer Evaluation

DAT2330 - Research Project

Due Date - 17:00 Friday, February 8, 2002

Weight in Final Grade - 5%


  1. To become familiar with another operating system not covered so far in the academic programme. 
  2. To gain experience assessing the merits of an operating system according to predefined selection criteria.
  3. To showcase report-writing skills incorporating technical material in a summary presentation format.

Summary of Requirements

This is a summary.  See below for the details.  You are responsible for the all the details, not just the summary.

  1. Form a team of three, four, or five students.
  2. Each team will pick a different operating system or O/S distribution. 
  3. Reserve the operating system for your team online.
  4. Research the O/S using a variety of sources (not just the Internet!)
  5. Create an HTML Web page (or pages) with your team report.
  6. Submit the URL of the Web page online before the due date and time.
  7. Submit your peer evaluation forms on time.

Team Work

The reports are to be team efforts.  You select your own team.  A team may contain three, four, or five students.  A team may not contain one, two, or more than five students.  Students who are not in teams within three weeks of the project due date will be grouped into new or existing teams by the instructor.

Each individual in the team must expect to deliver at least five (5) hours of work on the project to earn a full 5% grade for the team.

Choosing an O/S

The following operating systems (already covered in other courses) are excluded from consideration for this project: DOS, Win3.1/Win95/Win98/WinME. If you choose a Linux O/S, choose a particular distribution of Linux (e.g. Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE, etc.)  Other variants of Windows and Unix are also accepted (e.g. Windows XP or SCO Unix).

To encourage variety, any particular O/S or Linux distribution may have a maximum of two teams researching it.  If the O/S already has two teams doing research on it, choose a different one.  The first two teams to select a particular O/S have priority.

Choose an operating system that has a reasonable amount of information available.  If you pick an obscure O/S that is only documented in one book, your report will not represent significant effort and your overall mark may be reduced for lack of substance.  Choose wisely.

How to reserve your O/S choice

Use this web page to reserve your O/S choice for your team.  The first two teams to select a particular operating system have priority.  You must pick a unique name for your O/S when you reserve it, even if one other team has chosen the same O/S, e.g. Mandrake Linux and Mandrake Linux 2.  You can reserve your O/S only when your whole O/S team is assembled - you need at least three Web-registered students to reserve an O/S choice.

Research Method

Research your O/S and briefly describe it in your own words using exactly the following four headings, in the following order:

  1. History and Present Market
    (where did it come from? who uses it now?)
  2. Strengths and Weaknesses 
    (relate these to O/S selection criteria [RASSIM] discussed in class) 
  3. Future 
    (your forecast for the future of this O/S)
  4. Research Sources
    (where did you find your information? for web content, use current, click-able links)

The Learning Resource Centre has an excellent web page describing how to select a topic, plan, organize, and write a research paper.

This report is worth 5% of your overall grade.  This means it will require about 5 hours work per student. (A team of five students should demonstrate 25 hours of work.)  Marks are awarded for being selective as well as being comprehensive.  (Your future boss won't have time to read huge, rambling reports either.)  Summarize the material you find.

Reports incorporating a variety of information sources will be valued more than reports generated solely from online searches.

Attribute and cite, with source, author, and date, your use of copied material and ideas that are not your own.  Use of copied material without attribution will be treated as plagiarism.  (The Learning Resource Centre discusses the issue of research report plagiarism; you must read it if you use material from the Internet.)  Research reports containing material copied from the Internet will be worth zero marks.

For top marks, research papers should have an organized document structure and use good, readable English.  Treat this paper as if you were submitting it to an employer and showcasing both your technical knowledge and presentation skills. 

Remember: Summarize your findings in your own words; don't expect your instructor (or your employer) to read dozens of pages of data.

Report Submission Format

The resulting brief report in your own words is to be formatted in HTML. To do this, you may use Netscape Composer, write your own HTML, or use any other HTML tool you wish.  The names and Algonquin EMail addresses of the authors should appear on the opening page of the report.  (A Hotmail address is not an Algonquin address.)

Save one copy of your report in a safe place and upload one copy to any public web server. You can choose to upload to any public Web server that will remain accessible until end-of-term (April!). The server is one good choice.  If you upload to a non-Algonquin web server, make sure the server is reliable and available until the end of the term.  Use any web server that is accessible from off-campus.  Project URLs will be posted on the course web page for our mutual edification.  All links to Internet research sources must be live and click-able.

Use the same online web form to submit the URL of your finished project when your project is ready for marking.  (You do not need to fill in the URL until you have finished the project.)

Each team member must also print and submit a written, confidential peer evaluation form (on paper) to the instructor within three days of the project due date.  For full marks, make sure your evaluation form is on time and contains peer evaluations of your entire team, including yourself. 

Resources and Bibliography

Research consisting of only Internet sources may be considered suspect and incomplete unless the sources are of high-quality.  Periodicals, books, and libraries existed long before the Internet; find them and use them.

The Learning Resource Centre describes how to cite sources and construct Bibliographies.  Unless you have experience with some other format, use the APA Format for your citations.

Additional Help - Questions and Answers

Questions regarding this project can be posted to the Course discussion news group: news:// 


Web Author: Ian! D. Allen      Updated: 2003-09-23 14:42

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