Information Technology: Project Description

Refining the Project Scope

Once you pick a topic, your next step should be to limit it, giving it a clearer focus. If your problem is too broad, the project is likely to remain superficial. If you make it too narrow, you may have trouble finding enough to make an interesting project.  

Consider, for example, the problem of Internet security.

No thesis could possibly encompass all the ramifications of this topic. Instead, you might examine one specific aspect of security, such as authentication, access controls, non-repudiation, or encryption. Within that aspect you will need to narrow the project either to specific algorithmic approaches or to a focused area of application, such as stock trading or online shopping.

Here are some examples of topics that are too broad or unfocused, and some suggestions for narrowing them down:

Unfocused

"Internet Security"

    Focused

"Algorithms for Detecting Computer Intrusion"

Unfocused

"Computer Based Software Engineering"

    Focused

"Building Reusable Components with C# in the .NETÒ Environment"

Unfocused

"The eXtensible Markup Language (XML)"

    Focused

"Using XML to Define Data Interchange for Stock Trading Applications"

Unfocused

"Computer Languages"

    Focused

"Comparing the Performance of Java JIT Compilers"

Unfocused

"Mobile Devices"

    Focused

"Using WAP/WML to Integrate a Mobile Phone into a Field Technician's Workflow"

Developing a specific problem from a general topic is the hardest step for many students.