The Rule of 4C

A well-written description of any project makes it possible for the intended audience (sponsor, prospective student, parent, executive) to understand the concept and context of your project. Make sure you check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  Use the rule of 4C to guide you in your writing and remember this is not an abstract.

  • Clear: Use simple, generally accepted and unambiguous words and sentences to describe the key point. Use special terms/definitions only if necessary.
  • Concise: Describe the project briefly but comprehensively.
  • Complete: Make sure the content covers all critical aspects required for the reader to understand the project.
  • Credible: Include to up-to-date and relevant information only.
Project Title

The title should be direct, clear, descriptive, and attention-grabbing (75-character limit).

Examples:

  • A Holistic Approach to Harvesting Algae for Biofuels
  • Software Development For Home Energy Audits
  • Improving Snow Forecasts In Rockingham County
  • Using Robotics to Improve Spinal Surgery Procedures
Project Description

Introduction, Statement, and Description should be no more than 150 words.

Introduction

Capture the reader’s attention with an interesting fact or anecdote (1 sentence).

Example: Across the Commonwealth of Virginia, hundreds of university students are deprived of valuable minutes of sleep because of insufficient parking facilities on campuses.


Statement

Explain the project scope/activity (1-2 sentences).

Example: This project explores the multifaceted parking problem at James Madison University and considers two different solutions: building more spaces and using RFID to restrict access to authorized permit-holders 


Description

Describe the project, goals, and research questions. Include important open questions/limitations (2-4 sentences).

Example: Using Vensim software, we modeled the system dynamics of the parking problem on the East campus of JMU.  Our tentative conclusion is that RFID is not viable in the short-term, so building more lots is the more realistic solution, though the cost would be substantial.

Examples

Project Description Example 1 (96 words): Across the Commonwealth of Virginia, hundreds of university students are deprived of valuable minutes of sleep because of insufficient parking facilities on campuses.  This project explores the multifaceted parking problem at James Madison University and considers two different solutions: building more spaces and using RFID to restrict access to authorized permit-holders.  Using Vensim software, we modeled the system dynamics of the parking problem on the East campus of JMU.  Our tentative conclusion is that RFID is not viable in the short-term, so building more lots is the more realistic solution, though the cost would be substantial.

Project Description Example 2 (116 words): Degenerative disc disease affects more than 3 million people each year and is a leading cause of lower back pain. Our project identifies opportunities to improve spinal surgery procedures by using robotic capabilities. During spinal infusion surgery, the disc is removed and replaced with an artificial implant. Utilizing robotics can reduce the procedure cost and time, surgeon fatigue, and surgical inaccuracies in instrument placement. Our tentative conclusion is that a robotic system is capable of making contact with a patient, sensing a degenerated disc, and completely removing it. The system will address the pain points associated with current spinal fusion surgery procedures and will provide a safer, more reliable surgical procedure for patients across the country.

Back to Top