The course project is built up over the course of the semester in stages. All written submissions should be formatted according to either ACL 2012 guidelines or in the ACM SIG Conference style used by SIGIR (see formatting instructions and Word and Latex templates). Use of Latex is encouraged.

Groups will be required to organize and coordinate their projects with Pivotal Tracker (PT) and submit generated reports from the system.

All submissions should be made via Blackboard and via two printed copies handed in in class.  Only one submission per group is necessary.

Project ideas

Articulate some ideas for what you might like to do for your course project. 


  • Length: 1 page
  • Discuss 1-3 project ideas
  • you should have at least three references
  • You may also suggest any names of others students you might want to work with; instructors will assign the final project groups.

Project proposal

Describe the project, relevant background.  Topic ideas will be discussed in class prior to the project proposal draft due date.


  • discuss the topic with the instructor before writing the proposal
  • Length: 3 pages + 1 page for references
  • contains at least 6 references
  • no acknowledgements
  • Describe the project, relevant background.
  • Administratively, chart out project schedule and milestones, as well as assignment of tasks to distribute work evenly across team members. Your group's PT account and subsequently generated reports should reflect these milestones and task assignments and expand upon them.
The draft will be evaluated primarily on written expression, coherence of argument, and originality of research topic. Feedback will be given both on writing and content.

Progress report

The progress report is a revision and extension of the proposal. It should take into account all comments given on the proposal. Expect it to require significant rewriting, as opposed to just editing of the proposal. In addition, it should include an update on progress to date.


  • Length: 6 pages + 1 page for references (Ten percentage points will be taken off for every page over the limit)
  • contains at least 10 references
  • no acknowledgements
  • PT generated report
It will be graded primarily on written expression and coherence of argument and evidence of progress in implementation and execution. Feedback will be given both on writing and content.

Project paper

The final report builds on the progress report and presents the project results and conclusions


  • 8 pages in length (plus up to one additional references-only page). Ten percentage points will be taken off for every page over the limit.
  • contains at least 15 references.
  • you may include acknowledgments (but you don't need to acknowledge us)
  • PT generated report
The grade will be based on the final product (program, corpus, etc) and the written report.

Rubric - The scoring rubric we will use is as follows:

25    Structure & Writing
 5     Formatting & Length & PT generated Report
10    Spelling/Grammar   
10    Clarity of exposition   

15    Literature Review
 5    References (at least 10 from non-UT Austin authors)   
10    Situating project in context of prior work   

40    Content
 5    Creativity         
10    Methodology       
10    Evaluation rigor     
10    Analysis/Interpretation of findings   
 5    Brought to completion   

20     Overall quality

If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.” ~ Lord Kelvin


Each team will give a presentation on their project in the last week of class. Requirements: