Writing your FYP
The Writing Centre
The Shannon Consortium Writing Centre (www.ul.ie/rwc) is available to all students who seek support to enhance and develop their academic writing skills. They are based in C1-065, and offer one-to-one peer support, occasional workshops, and an extensive repository of online resources. The writing centre is able to provide support to students throughout the FYP writing process.
Lawrence Cleary, Regional Writing Centre
It is important to reference your work throughout, so that readers can locate the sources you have used; to indicate that you are familiar with what other people have written about your topic; to support the claims that you advance; and to avoid accusations of plagiarism. You must give a reference whenever you quote directly from another source (whether it is a book, journal article, website, movie, etc.). Likewise, ideas, theories, data and statistics must also be referenced, whether quoted directly or paraphrased in your own words.
Different disciplines employ different referencing conventions. If you are unsure, you should ask your supervisor to clarify what is expected of you. In History, references are given in footnotes, and you can find detailed instructions about how to do this in the History Department Handbook (pp. 28-38 ). English prefer you to use the Modern Languages Association (MLA) style guide, a copy of which can be found in the UL library, and a discussion is available here. Most other disciplines prefer you to use the Harvard system, detailed in the UL Library’s document ‘Cite it Right’.
Many students find it helpful to use bibliographic software to manage their sources, such as ‘Endnote’ or ‘Refworks’. You can find a detailed description of such software on the UL Library website.
The presentation of your FYP
It is important that you present the final product in a professional way, and two bound copies should be submitted to the appropriate departmental office. Your FYP should be between 9,000 and 13,000 words in length. These limits include annotation but exclude appendices, bibliographies, tables and graphs. A project may not exceed these limits without the consent of the supervisor.
The FYP must include an abstract, a table of contents and a bibliography (appendices may also be included, where appropriate). The project should be typed on one side only, on A4 sized paper or equivalent. One-and-a-half or double line spacing should be used, except for indented quotations and annotation, which should be in single line spacing. The left and bottom margins should be 3.5 cm wide and other margins should be 1.5 cm wide.
The cover of your FYP should include your name, the title of your project, and the name of your degree programme.
The title page of your FYP should include your name, your ID number, the title of your project, your supervisor’s name, the name of the external examiner, the name of your degree programme and the date.
The material within your FYP should be arranged as follows (Source: British Standard 4821: 1990):
- Title and subtitle
- Correction sheet
- Abstract (on separate page)
- List of contents
- List of tables, illustrations, etc. (if appropriate)
- List of accompanying material (if appropriate)
- Preface (if appropriate)
- Acknowledgement (if appropriate)
- Author’s declaration
- Definitions; List of abbreviations (if appropriate)
- Text, divided into chapters, sections, etc.
- Appendices (if appropriate)
- Glossary (if appropriate)
- List of references
If your FYP did not require ethical approval from the Research Ethics Committee, then you should include a signed and dated version of the following declaration in your FYP. If your FYP did require ethical approval, then the final sentence should be altered to reflect this.
‘I hereby declare that this project is entirely my own work, in my own words, and that all sources used in researching it are fully acknowledged and all quotations properly identified. It has not been submitted, in whole or in part, by me or another person, for the purpose of obtaining any other credit / grade. I understand the ethical implications of my research, and this work meets the requirements of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee.’
Advice from past FYP students
“Don’t be afraid to have your own opinion on things, it is your research project so you can write whatever you like as long as there is evidence to back it up.”
“Do your referencing as you go along and don’t leave it to the end. It will just take up valuable time at the end when you could be perfecting content.”
“Leave enough time to revise the drafts and ensure that you are happy with it, checking for basic mistakes and omissions.”
“Imagine an FYP like a big umbrella. This umbrella represents your main argument or thesis statement. Underneath the umbrella are spirals that hold the umbrella up, these are your chapters that are going to prove that argument. However these all stand for mini thesis statements. Last and not least is the handle which stands for the conclusion of the project, which without the umbrella and project would collapse!”
“Referencing is annoying but necessary. Make sure you cite each text as you go along, or else you will have a very difficult time when writing up your bibliography.”
“In the finishing stages proof-readers are essential, offer to proof-read a friend’s project in exchange for them proof-reading yours”
“Stay positive and think that in a short while it will all be a distant memory!”
“Make sure you give yourself time to properly look over everything before you bind. You’ve spent this long at it, you want it to be perfect!”
“Don’t lose faith in yourself. Keep in mind that it is just a big project and it will get done no matter how much you doubt yourself. Concentrate on your own project and don’t concern yourself with what your classmates are doing.”