Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Readings, Thoughts, Project Plan!

I've been doing a lot of reading over the past week on the following topics:

  • Translation management - i18n & l10n.
  • Spring Framework.
  • Current Java i18n/l10n solutions.
  • ACS-Lang by OpenACS.

In my readings I came across encoding, which I hadn't yet considered. It looks like it shouldn't be a problem because everything should support UTF-8 which will cover all the characters required. I will probably devote at least a small section of the final thesis document to encoding as it is both relevant to the topic and interesting.

Other difficulties that I hadn't previously considered also arose:

  • Versioning - what happens when the core text changes?
  • Left to Right text!!
  • Text on images.
  • The importance of tracking the author and the translation history of the text.
  • Nuances in languages, different ordering of sentences.

These considerations are going to factor heavily on what limitations I put on the scope of the project.

My proposed solution, 'very' broadly will be to develop a webapp similar to that of the ACS-lang demonstration but using Java/Spring. These design should be such that the translation management objects are independent and can be used in other projects. Unfortunately, I'm still not 100% clear how I'll actually go about the design at this stage.

Project Plan due Friday 1st Aug!
Structure will be as follows:
  • Title & Project Brief
  • Description of Project
  • Introduction
  1. What is Spring?
  2. What is internationalisation?
  3. What is localisation?
  • Overview of relevant research
  1. OpenACS solution
  2. Existing Java solutions
  3. Other research
  4. Questions raised by research and my thoughts
  • Proposed procedure
  • Timetable
  • Bibliography

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How to Write a Thesis

I felt it important to do a bit of a review of the Thesis/Project process/structure and get my head around it a bit more as well as get something down on paper that I could refer back to in the weeks ahead.

I have summarised some information from How to write a better thesis, 2nd Ed, David Evans, Paul Gruba, Melbourne Univ. Press 2002.

Making A Strong Start

It is essential that the thesis be structured in such a way that the reader is taken from the aim to the conclusion in the clearest possible way, and by the most direct route.

The Standard Structure

4 Parts:

1) Introduction

· Introduce the research

· Outline the problem

· State the aim

· Limit the scope

· Overview of what lies ahead

· 3-5 pages should suffice

2) Background

· Position own study in the context of what:

i. Has gone before

ii. Is currently taking place

iii. How research is conducted

· Brief historical review

· Describe study area and its characteristics

· Usually a chapter reviewing current theory or practice

· Possibly preliminary experiments

3) Own Work

· Own response

· “This is mine”

· Design of experiments, surveys or reviews to test hypothesis or answer questions developed from the background

· Results and critical analysis of results

4) Synthesis

· Develops own contribution to the state of knowledge and understanding of the topic

· Compare own results with previous state (part 2)

· Evaluation of model

· Conclusion

· Respond directly to aim

· Neglecting any of the 4 areas will cause strife.

· The issue to be careful of is the differentiation of part 1 & 2, how to explain the problem without detailing what has been done before.

· Need to find some thesis examples for structure.

· Don’t ignore the need for critical thought!!!

Possible Project Plan Structure

· Title of Thesis

· Description of Research Project

o Introduction

o Overview of relevant research

o Questions raised by this overview

· Proposed research procedure

o Research methods

o Data sources & Data collection

· Research Timetable

· Bibliography

First piece of research:

· Review of existing work

· Don’t ‘data dump’

· Try look at chronological development.

· Should help understand topic and put limits in place.

· Will help find the real unanswered questions.

· Expect to have to modify introduction later.

· It would be useful to have a folder, broken up by chapters and sections. Then, as pieces are written, build each section.

· Finally, be sure when writing to link the chapters for the reader.