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Seminars. 2004. Ciara O' Sullivan. Second Lecture. 23.11.2004. Concise Writing & Research Planning ... Delete uninformative words and avoid redundancy. Use one ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: IMEC Presentation

Concise Writing Research Planning
Ciara O Sullivan Second Lecture 23.11.2004
Overview of class
  • Guide to writing concisely
  • syntax
  • tutorial
  • Guidelines to writing abstracts
  • Guidelines to planning research
  • identification of tasks
  • task timing and resources
  • GANTT and PERT charts
  • MS Project
  • contingency planning

Common syntax errors
(syntax rules for sentence building)
  • Word choice
  • Delete uninformative words and avoid redundancy
  • Use one word to replace a phrase
  • Avoid grandiloquence or grandiose phrasing
  • Avoid clichés and euphemisms
  • Use synonyms
  • Sentence structure
  • Agreement of subject and verb
  • Pronoun reference
  • Active and passive voice
  • Nouns from verbs
  • American and British styles
  • Paragraph structure

1. Word choice
A paper will be more readable if words are used
economically. Writing concisely may be contrary
to common practice in some countries where
authors are paid by the number of words
published! Remember, your goal is to facilitate
communication, which is accomplished through
concise and lucid writing in a well-organized
a. Delete uninformative words and avoid
redundancy Examples brief in duration
sufficient in number The wound was of a
serious nature The rock is red in color It
was precooled before use We repeated the
experiment again and again
1. Word choice
past history mix together
original source advance planning
globular in shape more preferable than
seem to appear for a period of two
days the work will be completed in the
not-too-distant future The reaction rate
was examined and found to vary considerably
The results would seem to indicate the
possibility that impurities might be present
As far as my own experiments are concerned,
they show It has been found that
It is interesting to note that (del)
Needless to say, (del).
b. Use one word to replace a phrase
Many popular expressions can be expressed as a
single word, or are better omitted altogether.
For example,
At this point of time
The reason was because
In view of the fact that
Was observed to be
In the near future
In most cases
It would appear that
Is suggestive of
As to whether
In the vicinity of
It was evident that
In the event that
If (should)
c. Avoid grandiloquence or grandiose phrasing
The word grandiloquence is itself grandiose. It
implies a pompous style that impresses no one and
provokes ridicule. Conciseness and clarity
should apply to scientific writing. Compare the
following sentences Computations were conducted
on the data - The data were calculated. It may
seem reasonable to suggest that the necrotic
effect may possibly due to toxins - Necrosis may
be caused by toxins. In studies pertaining to
identification of phenolic derivatives, drying of
the paper gives less satisfactory visualization -
Phenolic derivatives are easier to see if the
paper is left wet. A method, which was found to
be expedient and not very difficult to accomplish
and which possessed a high degree of accuracy on
the results, was devised whereby . - An easy,
accurate way to
d. Avoid clichés and euphemisms
cliché - fr printing plate negative
phototype  banalité  chenqiang
landiao euphemism - eu ( well), phem ( to
speak) weiwan de shuofa e.g., eugenics, eulogy,
euphony (pleasing sound), euthanasia
(an-le-si) Clichés and euphemisms are rarely
helpful and often cryptic (secret, with a hidden
meaning or a meaning not easily seen). all in
all - (delete) if and when if Some common
euphemisms are simply awkward For ex., The
patient expired The patient passed away The
patient succumbed The patient breathed his
last The patient has gone to his rest.
These can be replaced by  The patient died 
d. Avoid clichés and euphemisms
The following terms are usually better omitted
or rephrased a majority of, an
order of magnitude faster, are of the
same opinion, as a consequence of,
as a matter of fact, as seen from our
study it is evident that, based on the
fact that, first of all, for the
reason that, has the capacity of,
in a satisfactory manner, it has long
been known that, it is clear that much
additional work will be required before a
complete understanding, owing to the fact
that, the question as to whether,
there is reason to believe.
e. Use of synonyms
A synonym is a word that has the same or nearly
the same meaning as another word. The principal
reason to employ synonyms is to avoid monotony
from using the same term repeatedly. For
ex., The subject demonstrated a marked
sensitivity to the allergen. After receiving the
medication, she showed marked improvement. This
is a marked medical achievement. Improved
version The subject demonstrated a marked
sensitivity to the allergen. After receiving the
medication, she showed significant improvement.
This is an extraordinary medical
achievement. Synonyms for common words can be
found in a thesaurus, a dictionary, and some word
processing programs. Understanding the nuances of
synonyms can be difficult for non-native-anglophon
e people. The best way to improve your grasp is
to read English-language authors and practice
your own writing.
2. Sentence structure
  • 1. Agreement of subject and verb
  • The number of the verb must agree with the number
    of the subject. e.g.
  • From this work has come improved antibiotic

From this work have come improved
antibiotic drugs.
An evaluation of the experimental results, as
well as the clinical findings, are described.
An evaluation of the experimental results, as
well as the clinical findings, is described.
2. Sentence structure
2. Recognising irregular plurals. (for ex., a
common mistake is to use a singular verb with
data, formulae, and radii) 3. When singular and
plural subjects are joined by either or and
neither nor, the verb must agree with the
nearest subject. For ex., - Either the samples
or the apparatus were contaminated. - Either the
samples or the apparatus was contaminated.
(correct) Note - Either and neither always take
a singular verb. For ex., Either of the
explanations is acceptable Neither of the
samples is large.
b. Pronoun reference
An antecedent is the word, phrase, or clause to
which a pronoun refers. A sentence may be
confusing if the pronoun and its antecedent are
not clearly identifiable. A missing antecedent
cannot be assumed to be  obvious from the
context , and an ambiguous reference should
always be corrected. e.g., The monkey was
operated on by the surgeon when he was 6 weeks
old. (who was 6 weeks old?)
The ambiguity is removed by positioning the
pronoun closer to its antecedent The monkey,
when he was 6 weeks old, was operated on by.
Better still is to move the relative clause to
the beginning, where it will not separate the
subject from the principal verb When he was
6 weeks old, the monkey was operated on by ..
c. Active and passive voice
English verbs have two voices active and
passive. In the active voice, the subject
performs the action, while in the passive voice
the subject receives the action. As
fashions change with time, so does the style of
scientific writing. Prior to 1900, scientists
routinely used the active voice and personal
pronouns in their reports, making such statements
as,  I made the following experiment ,  I
cannot say , I would point out that  .
Then the passive voice gradually gained
popularity, perhaps from the belief that its
impersonal style denoted greater professionalism.
However, the consistent overuse and misuse of the
passive voice devitalized scientific writing.
Today, the trend is once again turned toward
clarity of expression and the freer, more concise
writing that results from habitual use of the
active voice. Style experts now prefer the active
voice, which is more direct, sounds more natural
and usually save words.
It was suggested by Dr. Smith that the test be
postponed. Dr. Smith suggested postponing the
test. A detailed description of the apparatus is
presented in this report. This report presents a
detailed description of the apparatus. This is
not to say that you must entirely avoid using the
passive voice, which can be quite effective if
used sparingly. By placing the receiver of the
action as the subject of the sentence, it
receives subtle emphasis. e.g., The
relationship F ma was discovered by
Newton. Newton discovered the relationship F
ma. The first version would be appropriate in a
text on the history of physics, whereas the
second could be used in a biography of Sir Isaac
d. Nouns from verbs
Verbs can express action. For many action verbs
there are nouns of similar derivation that
expresses the result of the action. For
ex., examine-examination and perform-performance.
Using the noun form expresses the action
indirectly. Your writing will be more vigorous if
such nouns are replaced by the verb forms. Ex.,
By analysis of the data By analyzing the
data An evaluation of the data was done The data
were evaluated The installation of the new
equipment has been carried out The new equipment
has been installed.
d. Nouns from verbs
  • Exercise Rewrite the following sentenses using
    the active voice and trying to eliminate
    redundant words.
  • His performance of the test was adequate.
  • We made at least two analyses on each sample.
  • Evaporation of alcohol from the mixture takes
    place rapidly.
  • Clarity in writing is my intention.

e. American and British styles
British writing is different from American
writing in certain forms of punctuation and
spelling. Whatever style is used will not really
affect the readers understanding of the text,
but you should be consistent and employ the same
style throughout a work. Spelling American -
British connection - connexion inflection -
inflexion defense - defence practice -
practice (n.) practise (v.) center -
centre liter - litre meter - metre (unit of
measure) meter (instrument) behavior -
behaviour color - colour distill -
distil catalog - catalogue analyze -
analyse catalyze - catalyse judgment -
judgement aging - ageing acknowledgment -
e. American and British styles
The digraphs ae and oe in words of Latin or
Greek derivation are retained in British
style anesthesia - anaesthesia cesium -
caesium diarrhea - diarrhoea hematite -
haematite leukemia - leukaemia fetus -
ftus Punctuation American - comma after e.g.
and i.e. none in British
3. Paragraph structure
  • In its simplest form, a lucid paragraph contains
    a topic sentense and clearly related supporting
    sentenses. The topic sentence comprises the main
    point or idea of the paragraph, while supporting
    sentences provide detail or ancillary
    information. The following are basic guidelines
    for paragraph design.
  • Cover only one main point or idea in each
  • Each sentence should establish or support the
    topic of the paragraph.

3. Paragraph structure
All of the patient data were kept in files. The
absence of even one clerk caused delays in the
monthly reporting. Finally, management decided to
interview some system analysts. (The connection
between the three sentences is not clear.
Although the meaning can be inferred, it is
better to state it outright).
All of the patient data were kept in paper files,
which took much staff time to maintain. The
absence of even one clerk would delay the monthly
patient reports. Management wanted to computerize
record-keeping, which would take less time and be
more reliable, and finally decided to interview
some systems analysts to develop the new system.
3. Paragraph structure
4. Keep a consistent point of view That is,
maintain the same grammatical voice (active or
passive) throughout the paragraph. 5. Use
parallel construction to male the paragraph
easier to understand. In an attempt to avoid
monotony, some writers vary the sentence
construction and thereby hinder conprehension.
Ex., A 10 mg dose produces no effect, a 20 mg
dose produces a small effect, but patients show a
noticeable effect from a 30 mg dose. A 10 mg
dose produces no effect, a 20 mg dose produces a
small effect, but patients show a noticeable
effect from a 30 mg dose.
Golden rules
  • Abstract should be 1/2 to 3/4 page long
  • Abstract should be LAST thing written
  • Summary of the key findings of YOUR work
  • Should encourage the reader to read on
  • Any info included in abstract MUST be included in
    body of work

Guidelines to writing abstracts
Why is your scientific contribution important?
The construction of the science is based on the
communication of the research results.
Previous works are the basis for yours, when you
enter in the loop (intake, production, output and
feedback) you become a consumer and a producer
and so on till the end of
your research career. Within the circle it is
relevant to communicate your results as brief and
clear as possible.
Preliminary research
New research
Project design
Lab work
Dissemination retrieval
Be aware of the contribution of your research to
the Scientific Community and try to share it with
your colleagues How?
Communicating your results (written, oral,
When you consider you have finished an
homogeneous part, be sure before finishing
Arrange and organize your notes, references or
any other material, display and classify it.
How to start to write a manuscript?
Organize your information
Structure your information in separate blocks
Notes, commentaries, references, objectives
Samples, individuals, sampling, analytical and
statistical methods, ...
material methods
Answers to the objetives support-ed by numerical,
graphical or any other forms
Analysis of the results, comparison with other
Try to integrate your puzzle of information
And structure it!
Structure of a scientific paper
  • Title
  • Authors names and
  • affiliation
  • Abstract, keywords
  • Introduction
  • Material and methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • Acknowledgements
  • References
  • Annexes

Keywords should not be empty words or express
generalities. Remember that it will be the
keyword that will facilitate people to find the
paper and cite it! (which is what we want, of
course!) So, for example in the article we use to
use a keyword mayonnaise would be incorrect but
home-made mayonnaise makes it more specific.
The abstract, summary or synopsis is, like the
title and keywords, one element within the
manuscript of considerable relevant importance.
The retrieval of the paper and its reading
depend greatly on it.
The main feature of an abstract is its size. In
very few words (200-300) the abstract should
inform about the main aspects of the manuscript
and respond to why, what, how and the results and
their interpretation.
Characteristics of an abstract
Short sentences, but not telegraphed No
references, tables or figures No acronyms,
abbreviations.. No excessive details
  • Basic justification for conducting the study
    (background info)
  • Research objectives
  • Basic Methods Used
  • Specific Results of YOUR work
  • Major Conclusions

Any info included in the abstract should be
included in the body of the article
  • Should NOT include details of experiment
  • Should NOT include generalities and results of
    previous works
  • Does not have to contain everything that is
    included in the paper

Ask yourself
  • Does my abstract
  • Clearly state the topic/goal
  • Clearly state the general approach/method
  • Clearly state the main outcome and consequences
  • Contain trivial information or results which are
    entirely predictable (remove them!)

Abstract Exercise
  • Identify points to include in abstract
  • Background
  • Importance of results whats new
  • Methods used
  • Specific new results obtained
  • Major conclusions
  • In groups of 4 make attempt to draft abstract

Abstract Exercise
  • Background
  • Autosterilisation (i.e. Elimination of
    salmonella) of mayonnaise by various parameters
  • Whats new about the results?
  • Influence of various oils and types of vinegars
    on antimicrobial properties
  • Methods used
  • Mayonnaise prepared with different vinegars and
    oils as acidulants acetic acid used as a
  • Samples inoculated with salmonella
  • pH and acetic acid measured

Abstract Exercise
  • Results
  • At 20oC best autosterilisation with white wine
    vinegar mayo
  • Autosterilisation, but at a slower rate when
    white wine vinegar contained garlic, tarragon,
    cider or spirit vinegar
  • With lowered acetic acid content less salmonella
  • Results much better at 20oC than 4oC
  • At 20oC grapeseed, soya, olive (w/ basil or
    garlic) rapeseed, groundnut, hazelnut,
    sunflower blended olive oil
  • Major conclusions
  • The type of vinegar used for acidulation has a
    strong effect on autosterilisation properties due
    to acetic acid content
  • Oils of different origins have varying effects on
    killing of salmonella and garlic/basil observed
    to enhance this effect

Abstract Exercise
Abstract Homework Exercise
  • Modelling the pH of mayonnaise by the ratio of
    egg to vinegar
  • Auto-oxidate effect of Glucose Oxidase and
    Catalase in Mayonnaises of Different oxidative
  • Product Trials
  • Mathematical Modelling
  • 3. Detection of Salmonella in food by a 3
    days PCR based method
  • 4. Neural Network Modelling of the fate of
    Salomonella in home made mayonnaise prepared with
    citric acid

For preparation in discussion in small group
Research Planning
Research Planning
  • Research planning is an essential part of and
    research project
  • Must identify
  • Tasks to be carried out
  • Time required to carry them out
  • Resources required to carry them out
  • Expected results and contigency planning
  • Deliverables and milestones

SMART Research Planning
  • GOAL (also known as SCOPE) is to define what
    overall the project will accomplish and what will
    be different as a result
  • OBJECTIVE what the project is trying to achieve
    should be SMART objectives, Specific Measurable
    Attainable Realistic Time bound objectives

  • Milestones deliverables
  • Milestone a point in time representing a key or
    intermediate event that marks progress
  • Deliverable a tangible item contributing to the
    success of the project
  • NOT milestone completion of phase 1 interim
    progress report deliverable a greater
    understanding of the processes .

SMART Research Planning
Ask two key questions 1. What will the project
do and how will we know if its going according
to plan? 2. What will the project deliver and
how will we know if its a success?
Can Ph.D. students plan research ?
  • YES! Together with supervisor who has more global
    view of project
  • Look at the grant application of the project that
    you are working on
  • You will see Targets, milestones,
    deliverables..Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3
  • Your supervisor (or the project PI) has taken a
    horizon view of where you should be after 3 years
  • Usually this is an aspiration or Best Guess

Important for future career!
To get the grant, a PI has had to pay at least
lip-service to ideas of Project Planning and
Management but they have not had any formal
training and therefore they depend on their
years of experience of getting PhDs through
Thought processes.You Supervisor
  • 90 time
  • 100 Motivation
  • Little idea of whats required
  • Its up to the supervisor to come up with the
    ideas, not me
  • If this project fails, Ill have to write up a
    lousy Masters
  • 10 time
  • Changeable motivation
  • Good idea of whats required (?)
  • Well, I have 4 other students
  • Ill have to keep the funders sweet

Some typical PhD scenarios
  • Learn a lot in Year 1 and may even have no data
    that will end up in Ph.D
  • Get dispirited in Year 1 as nothing works
  • Cul-de-sacs
  • Have a Purple patch in Year 2 when you cash in
    and get loads of data
  • Disagree with supervisor over when you have
    enough data
  • Take forever writing up

Good Habits in Project Management
  • Agree overall staged research outcomes for the
    year with supervisor
  • Targets should be challenging but within reach
  • By Christmas, I should have that, then by.
  • Detailed plans for next 3 months work
  • Allow contingency
  • Broad strokes for 6, 9 and 12 months
  • Put it all on a chart

Manage your time Plan the Week Ahead
  • On Fridays, write down in your diary what you
    should be doing next week
  • Complete weeks work with report, summary..
  • Hit the ground running on Monday
  • (Of course this doesnt really apply since PhDs
    work on week-ends like their supervisors before
    them !)

Macro and Micro Planning
  • Plan your day the previous evening and make
    priority list
  • - Morning experiment 2 of 6
    replicates-Afternoon data analysis, see
    boss, order chemicals Seminar at 4pm, tennis at
  • Dont over-pack the day with a TO DO list
    Allow for reading, thinking, peer chats

Reports Blocks of Work
  • Summarise data logically and DISCUSS with
    references (Endnote)
  • Do one complete report every Quarter
  • Match outcomes to agreed targets with supervisor
  • Circulate draft to supervisor and objective
  • Reflective time to consider next steps
  • Archived reports make Ph.D writing easy

Why do some Ph.D. projects fail ?
  • Shaky hypothesis
  • PhD student not suitable
  • No fall-back position when path blocked
  • Poor supervision
  • Bad project process

Project Management Tools
  • 1. Define the goal and set your eyes on the
    prize(Shackleton versus Scott)
  • Write down a checklist of deliverables that will
    comprise the Goal - eg. Establishing methods,
    Theses Chapter titles.
  • Read several excellent PhD theses NOW to see the
    standard and how to get there

2. Make a list of the jobs to be done
  • Write a plan to get you to the first point on the
  • Some jobs will have to be done to get the ball
  • If the job is vague, break it down into several
    jobs and estimate the time requiredeg. To
    look at where a drug is going in the brain, you
    need the following skills.

Sub-Project 1 out of 8. For each job..
  • Resources required ?
  • Skills required ? Training ?
  • Identifiable milestones
  • State all assumptions
  • Dependencies outside your control
  • High risk areas
  • Timeline and how you arrived at it

3. Leadership its your project
  • Take ownership
  • Show your supervisor that you can work to an
    agreed plan without needing to be micro-managed
  • Meet your supervisor once a week or in a team
    setting and have specific goals in mind
    updating results, discussion points, next steps
    and when you aim to have them

4. Manage Expectations
  • Maximise chances of success
  • Allow a margin for error- Order enough cell
    culture consumables to allow for an infection-
    If a plan takes 6 months to give an
    all-or-nothing piece of data, why not have
    something going along in parallel ?
  • Whats Plan B ? - Test a hypothesis in a simple
    established system(eg. Laboratorio de
    Investigacion project)

5. Monitoring progress-vibes
  • Reports are regular
  • You are having fun and are working como una burra
  • Morale and confidence is high
  • You feel your ability has increased
  • Good lab atmosphere
  • Milestones are being met
  • A cerveza with the supervisor isnt so bad after

Bad vibes
  • Nodding dogs in meetings
  • Everythings under control
  • You procrastinate
  • You change the agreed research goalposts
  • Crisises and mistakes abound
  • You dont meet supervisor deadlines and dont
    discuss why
  • Theres no evidence of real progress over a
    sustained period

6. Communication
  • Tools progress reports and meetings
  • Show lab books to supervisor and peers regularly
  • Resolve issues and review progress
  • Keep assumptions, deliverables, timelines to the
  • Avoid supervisor howzitgoin sessions and get
    specific on how to move project forward
  • Anticipate log-jams

Meetings in Project Management
  • Good meetings smash obstacles, resolve issues,
    move project forward
  • Many drift along without purpose and have no

Good meetings (in general) ..
  • Clear objectives
  • (Identify participants/resources needed)
  • Base agenda on above
  • Outline any advance prep
  • Set time constraints on each agenda item
  • Chair drives through agenda
  • Are minuted with Action Items for next meeting

In managing your project
  • Be wary of meetings if the following are not
    met- Clear objective- Required prep outlined
    (if needed)- Why do I need to go ??- How long
    will it last ?- (Who is the Chair ?)
  • University supervisors are not trained to run
    good meetings

Effective Lab Groups
  • Clear goals and objectives
  • Understanding and interdependence
  • Cohesiveness
  • Trust between group leader, postdocs, PhD
    students and technicians
  • Potent force effect sum of partsLike
    Celtic FC last Thursday, or Ireland rugby last

Success Indicators
  • For your performance Feedback Questionnaire
  • Evaluate planned workplan with achieved
    workplanRegular review with supervisor and
    Graduate Studies CommitteeHow are you shaping
    up with respect to peers ?

For the Project
  • Goal still clear ?
  • Milestones being met ?
  • Are they well-defined or woolly ?
  • Are my plans for the next few weeks clear and
    achievable ?
  • Is there a margin for error achieved through a
    plausible fall-back position ?
  • Am I writing regular reports ?
  • Am I disseminating information ?

But getting a Ph.D is never that simple
  • You need to develop good problem-solving
    skills- Read good papers and attend lots of
    seminars - Brainstorm
  • - Ideal solution ? Is there a less idyllic but
    acceptable one ? Plan B
  • - Can I get an expert to do this piece while I
    focus on another aspect in parallel ?
  • James Watson in the Double Helix

But getting a Ph.D is never that simple
  • The mental side can be tough- Stress when you
    are not in control of events- Keep a sense of
    proportion- Stay in contact with peers- Walk
    away at the end of the day- Be conscious of your
    own strengths and weaknesses- Changing project
    at the end of Year 1 is possible and you could
    still get out in the four years

This isnt what I thought a Ph.D was about
  • But most theses are not earth-shattering
  • They are achieved by mature, hard-working,
    dogged, disciplined, tenacious people
  • Writing, reading, mulling over data, talking to
    colleagues, going to meetings is part of the deal
  • Justifying over-run on agreed 4 years (and soon
    will change to 3 years is not good for
    anybody.hence even more need for good project
    and time management

Tools for planning management
  • Gantt Chart
  • Pert Chart
  • Contingency Planning

What is a Gantt chart?
  • A Gantt chart is a horizontal bar chart developed
    as a production control tool in 1917 by Henry L.
    Gantt, an American engineer and social scientist.
    Frequently used in project management, a Gantt
    chart provides a graphical illustration of a
    schedule that helps to plan, coordinate, and
    track specific tasks in a project.
  • Gantt charts may be simple versions created on
    graph paper or more complex automated versions
    created using project management applications
    such as Microsoft Project or Excel.

What is a Gantt chart?
  • A Gantt chart is constructed with a horizontal
    axis representing the total time span of the
    project, broken down into increments (for
    example, days, weeks, or months) and a vertical
    axis representing the tasks that make up the
    project (for example, if the project is
    outfitting your computer with new software, the
    major tasks involved might be conduct research,
    choose software, install software).

What is a Gantt chart?
  • Horizontal bars of varying lengths represent the
    sequences, timing, and time span for each task.
  • Using the same example, you would put "conduct
    research" at the top of the verticle axis and
    draw a bar on the graph that represents the
    amount of time you expect to spend on the
    research, and then enter the other tasks below
    the first one and representative bars at the
    points in time when you expect to undertake them.

What is a Gantt chart?
  • The bar spans may overlap, as, for example, you
    may conduct research and choose software during
    the same time span.
  • As the project progresses, secondary bars,
    arrowheads, or darkened bars may be added to
    indicate completed tasks, or the portions of
    tasks that have been completed.
  • A vertical line is used to represent the report

Gantt Pert Charts
  • Gantt charts give a clear illustration of project
    status, but one problem with them is that they
    don't indicate task dependencies - you cannot
    tell how one task falling behind schedule affects
    other tasks.
  • The PERT chart, another popular project
    management charting method, is designed to do
  • Automated Gantt charts store more information
    about tasks, such as the individuals assigned to
    specific tasks, and notes about the procedures.
    They also offer the benefit of being easy to
    change, which is helpful.
  • Charts may be adjusted frequently to reflect the
    actual status of project tasks as, almost
    inevitably, they diverge from the original plan.

What is a Pert Chart?
  • A PERT chart is a project management tool used to
    schedule, organize, and coordinate tasks within a
    project. PERT stands for Program Evaluation
    Review Technique, a methodology developed by the
    U.S. Navy in the 1950s to manage the Polaris
    submarine missile program.
  • A similar methodology, the Critical Path Method
    (CPM), which was developed for project management
    in the private sector at about the same time, has
    become synonymous with PERT, so that the
    technique is known by any variation on the names

What is a Pert Chart?
Numbered rectangles are nodes and represent
events or milestones Directional arrows represent
dependent tasks that must be completed
sequentially Diverging arrow directions indicate
possibly concurrent tasks Dotted lines indicate
dependent tasks that do not require resources
What is a Pert Chart?
  • A PERT chart A PERT chart presents a graphic
    illustration of a project as a network diagram
    consisting of numbered nodes (either circles or
    rectangles) representing events, or milestones in
    the project linked by labelled vectors
    (directional lines) representing tasks in the
  • The direction of the arrows on the lines
    indicates the sequence of tasks. In the diagram,
    for example, the tasks between nodes 1, 2, 4, 8,
    and 10 must be completed in sequence. These are
    called dependent or serial tasks.

What is a Pert Chart?
  • The tasks between nodes 1 and 2, and nodes 1 and
    3 are not dependent on the completion of one to
    start the other and can be undertaken
    simultaneously. These tasks are called parallel
    or concurrent tasks.
  • Tasks that must be completed in sequence but that
    don't require resources or completion time are
    considered to have event dependency. These are
    represented by dotted lines with arrows and are
    called dummy activities. For example, the dashed
    arrow linking nodes 6 and 9 indicates that the
    system files must be converted before the user
    test can take place, but that the resources and
    time required to prepare for the user test
    (writing the user manual and user training) are
    on another path.
  • Numbers on the opposite sides of the vectors
    indicate the time allotted for the task.

Pert Gantt Chart - software
  • The Pert Chart is often preferred over the Gantt
    Chart as it is easier and clearer to read for
    simple projects. However, for complex projects
    it is very difficukt to read and generally both
    Pert and Gantt charts are used.
  • There are numerous software programs available
    for making Pert and Gantt charts, the most
    popular of which is Microsoft Project.
  • For free trial downloads
  • MS Project http//
  • http//
  • Good tutorial with quicktime video at

Examples GANTT real vs planned
Examples - GANTT
Examples - CPM
Examples - Pert
Contingency Planning
  • For each task identified in your research plan,
    you should carry out a risk analysis and based on
    the risk analysis a contingency plan should be
  • Thus for each task label tham as being of Low,
    Medium or High risk and for the medium or
    high risks, outline what you could do or what
    alternate path there is if the task cannot be
    achieved with the current workplan
  • Contingency planning should also include the
    possibilities of reagents from particular
    providers being out of stock, equipment breakdown

Mayonnaise Project
  • Identify tasks
  • Identify resources
  • Identify timing of tasks and interdependency
  • Deliverables and Milestones
  • Outline contingency planning

Work together in groups of 4 and do preliminary
workplan for mayonnaise project
But dont overcomplicate things!
  • Tasks
  • Literature search to see state of the art
  • Identify project goals
  • Identify oils and vinegars to be used
  • Purchase oils and vinegars
  • Purchase salmonella culture
  • Purchase eggs
  • Prepare mayonnaise
  • Prepare salmonella culture
  • Measure pH
  • Measure Acetic Acid Content
  • Analyse Results
  • Plot results
  • Prepare manuscript
  • Submit

  • Timing
  • Literature search to see state of the art 1
  • Identify project goals 3 days
  • Identify oils and vinegars to be used 3 days
  • Purchase oils and vinegars 3 days
  • Purchase salmonella culture 3 days
  • Purchase eggs 3 days
  • Prepare mayonnaise 1 day for each batch (14
  • Prepare salmonella culture 1 day for each batch
  • Measure pH 1 day for each batch
  • Measure Acetic Acid Content 1 day for each
  • Analyse Results 1 week
  • Plot results 1 week
  • Prepare manuscript 3 weeks
  • Submit

  • Resources
  • Oils
  • Vinegars
  • Eggs
  • Salmonella culture
  • BM test kit
  • Genral lab reagents
  • pH meter
  • Culture facilities
  • Microscope
  • Technician
  • Student

Gantt Chart
Pert Chart
  • Deliverables
  • Purchase of raw materials
  • Preparation of mayonnaise
  • pH measurement
  • Acetic Acid Content
  • Milestones
  • Correlation of acidulation and oils on
    autosterilisation of mayonnaise

  • Contingency Planning
  • No emulsion formed - change oils change egg to
    oil to acidulant ration
  • No autosterilisation observed change egg to oil
    to acidulant ratio
  • No trend between oil/acidulant content and
    killing of salmonella re-design experiment to
    include other parameters OR this could indicate a
  • A Go/no Go Point can be reached when the project
    cannot proceed as previously planned and thus
    must be started over, dramatically modified or

  • A workplan,
  • incorporating identification of research tasks,
  • time and resources required to carry out research
  • identification of deliverables and milestones and
    their timing as well a contingency plan, should
    be prepared.
  • This workplan will also include identification of
    required resources and a Gantt/Pert type chart.