Chap1 - 1 Introduction One of the strongest instincts we...

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1 Introduction One of the strongest instincts we have is the desire to learn new things about the world we live in. In fact, through our entire life we never stop learning new things. This has been crucial for our survival, but it also stimulates our curiosity. Very young children learn by copying the behaviour of others. Learning is later extended to acquiring knowledge through other modes of communication, e.g. through books, lectures and labs. One of the primary goals of academic training is to learn how to learn, i.e. to learn how to continuously absorb new knowledge. This is increasingly important in rapidly changing areas such as computer science and information systems. The process of exploring the unknown, studying and learning new things, building new knowledge about things that no one has understood before – that is what we think of as performing research. Undertaking a thesis project is one step towards an increased understanding of how to study, how to learn about complex phenomena, and towards learning how to build new knowledge about the world around us. A thesis project is a capstone in undergraduate and graduate education, and as such, it builds and tests the skills and knowledge acquired during your education and training to become professionals. The thesis project is different from a tradi- tional course in several ways; in its size, in its goals, in the form of examination, in the form of supervision and in the form of communication (personal dialogue, as opposed to lectures). A project represents a significantly larger workload than a single course. While traditional courses include lectures and lab work, where the focus is on acquiring knowledge in a specific subject area, the thesis project focuses on deepening your understanding of a subject. But above all, it should give you training in carrying out projects independently, at an advanced level, using a sound method. This introductory chapter sets the scene for the book, discusses the characteris- tics of thesis projects, and explains how best to use this book in order to complete your project successfully. 3 M. Berndtsson et al. (eds.), Planning and Implementing your Computing Project - with Success! © Springer 2008
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4 1 Introduction 1.1 Motivation and Purpose of the Book According to the ACM/IEEE Computing Curricula 2005 there are five major com- puting disciplines: Computer engineering, Computer science, Information sys- tems, Information technology, and Software engineering. Although the material covered in this book is applicable to all five computing disciplines, we will focus on examples related to computer science and information systems. Computer science and information systems are two areas spanning a wide range of topics, for example, artificial intelligence, CASE-tools, database systems, human-computer interaction, information systems assessment, programming lan- guages, operating systems, and web based information systems. The areas are multi-disciplinary in the sense that they have elements from the natural sciences
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Chap1 - 1 Introduction One of the strongest instincts we...

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