Description of Assignments


Write two objective technical summaries with a discussion following each one: Charles Hannon's "Just Say No to Poorly Designed Software" and Barry Cipra's article, "Divide and Conquer." Use your own language with no quotations. Evaluation will be made on the basis of clarity, technical style, concise wording and mechanics. This assignment will also serve as an introduction to proofreader's marks. Use of near quotes, personal responses, and inaccuracies will reduce the grade.

See separate link to Summary instruction.

Visualization Assignment

This assignment asks you to diagram a process, working from a textual description, and to analyze some poorly prepared graphs and tables. There is one table and two graphs (figures 4 and 6). Use Zobel’s discussion of poorly designed tables, graphs and flowcharts. Analyze what makes these graphs and tables difficult to understand and explain how they could be improved. Use complete sentences and check your spelling.

N.B. The symbol µ is a metric symbol for 10-6 and R is a standard statistical operation, as is Std. Dev. Figures 4b and c share the same x axis.

When diagramming a process, use the ISO Flowchart symbols found in the Handbook under Flowcharts. Symbols are in MS Office. If drawing by hand, use a ruler.


Analysis of Research Paper

Using the questions in Zobel, review the paper listed in the schedule as if you were preparing a reviewer's report.

Cover Letter and Resume

Locate a real job (or internship) you might be qualified for, update your resume, and write a cover letter addressed to the potential employer. Submit the position announcement with your work. Imaginary jobs are not acceptable. The idea is to shape your responses to someone else's needs, not manipulate the world to fit your desires. Resume and letter must be grammatically correct and give a visually "balanced" impression. If you are applying for an entry-level position, use chronological order, if you have 5+ years in a profession, use function organization. See examples in Handbook.

Find links to job postings at

Or apply for an internship at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Also check out job listings on

Cover Letter contains:


Introductory paragraph that identifies the position you are applying for

Education paragraph that details course work and skills

Employment paragraph that given work experience and indicates responsibility

Graceful conclusion indicating that you look forward to hearing from the potential employer and pointing to inclusion of resume

Your signature


Peer Response Checklist


___Contact information in given on both resume and letter. See Handbook for models.

___ Real experience is given

___ Spelling is correct

___ Concrete detail is used

___ Layout is clean and clear. White space is used effectively

___ Font is no smaller than 10 pt.


__ Reverse chronological order is used.

___ High school graduation date has been removed.

___ Location of colleges have been given.

___ Proposed date of graduation is listed.

___ Degree program is properly identified.


Application Letter

___ Formal salutation is used.

___ Letter is dated

___ Source of position announcement has been identified. If there is a job number, it is mentioned.

___ Job experience and education are given in separate paragraphs.

___ Follow-up is suggested

___ Signature is present

Annotated Bibliography and Study Proposal

Locate at least 10 potential sources for your Survey Research Paper. See discussion of Survey Research paper below. Topic must connect to the field of Computer Science. Write a study proposal, a one-paragraph introduction indicating what you intend to study.  Sources should include scholarly journals and professional material. Use the Web of Science database and ACM websites. If all you can find are commercial websites, you will need to broaden your topic. Set-up a bibliographic works cited entry in APA format for each entry. Use your handbook to format the citations. In my experience, most citation formatting software, such as found on library website, will not give you a correctly formatted entry. Note that the librarian expect you to edit your citations.

Following each entry, write an annotation that explains how this source is potentially useful for your project. See example on Zobel's website. Consider the history of the topic, different methodologies, and different applications. From this bibliography, you will write a survey of literature for your formal proposal. Documentation must be correct. Please note that a URL is not an author. You should have authored sources. Plagiarized annotations will result in an F grade.

APA format example for an abstract obtained through a database:

Nakazato, K., Shimonaka, Y., & Homma, A. (1992). Cognitive functions of centenarians: The Tokyo Metropolitan Centenarian Study. Japanese Journal of Developmental Psychology, 3, 9-16. Abstract obtained from PsycSCAN: Neuropsychology, 1993, 2, Abstract No. 604.

APA format example for an article obtained from a library database (notice there is no URL):

Borman, W. C., Hanson, M. A., Oppler, S. H., Pulakos, E. D. & White, L. A. (1993). Role of early supervisory experience in supervisor performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78, 443-449. Retrieved October 23, 2000, from PsycARTICLES database.

Survey Research Paper

Here you write a research paper that focuses on and evaluates research done in the area of computer science. This is not an Eng. 102 paper. This is a survey of the research done in an area of computer science, not a lower-division argument paper. I expect it to be carefully edited and organized for the reader/end-user. This paper should show that your writing has progressed during the quarter. Use strong verbs. You will be downgraded for word confusions, vagueness, organization, incorrect punctuation and grammar that were covered during the quarter. Failure to correctly document the paper, including the use of in-text citations, will also result in a lowering of the grade.

Subjects no longer accepted because of overuse in English composition classes: Digital rights management (DRM), Violence in video games, developing a website for your business.

Cannot think of a subject? Research use of AI techniques in Spam control.

Page length is 7 pages or longer double-spaced; the document is organized into sections using subheadings. The paper needs to stay in 3rd person. By convention, the second person "you" is seldom used in research papers. Although various subheadings can be used and you can include more, you should have:

I. Abstract of about 250 words. Defines the problems, gives key terms, uses specific language. Do not forecast what you intend to do. Just state what was done. At the end, move to a new line and add “Keywords:” List the important subject terms—a bit like hash tags.


II. Introduction that helps the reader understand the context, scope, and organization of the proposal. The introduction should also address the following questions:

What is the problem or opportunity?

What is the purpose?

What is the background of the problem or topic?


III. Narrative that uses the sources listed in the annotated bibliography and organizes them into a discussion of the history and importance of your topic. Don't say "professors" or "researchers" if you can name names or organizations.

Use subheadings to organize by date, methodology, or application. See the example in the Handbook under Literature Review. This must be focused and thorough. Indicate what period of time is being covered.


IV. Conclusion. Explain any suggestions you may have for further research.

V. Reference page listing only the sources you cited in your proposal. This must be in alphabetical order, not in the order of occurrence.

VI. Optional Appendices: budget, charts, graphs, task schedules, etc.



Give a 7-minute PowerPoint presentation of your proposal. Don’t talk to the screen/whiteboard. Make eye contact with your audience.