George Mason University


Information Technology
Project Management


Tutorial Paper

This section describes the assignment of writing a tutorial paper on Project Management.


  • To learn by teaching others about project management
  • To publish your work in a public online book

What is the Idea?

This assignment asks you to prepare a tutorial paper to be used to teach project management to others.  The idea of students teaching others is nothing new.  For sometime it has been clear that when students are asked to teach others they learn a great deal more than when they study the material for themselves.  This is why medical residents are asked to  "lean one, do one, and teach one."  Managers too can learn more from teaching others.

This assignment pulls together all student's work in one central place to create an open and free online book on project management.  This idea was first proposed and put into place by Duncan Neuhauser for a course on management of public health.  His experience has shown the utility of having a cumulative index of student's work online.  We are following his lead in creating a cumulative set of tutorials by students for students. 

The idea is relatively simple.  You select a topic.  If something on the topic has already been posted, then you take the work of others and improve it substantially.  Once you are done with your draft, you show your work to another person in the course who will provide you with a written feedback following a rubric the instructor provides.  Revise your work further and then either submit it to the instructor for inclusion in the online collection or post it to Wikipedia and submit the URL to the instructor.  You will receive an evaluation and a grade for the paper from the instructor, at end of the semester.

Steps in Completing the Paper

  1. Select a topic:  Here are some topics for which we are currently looking for contributions: 
    1. Project risk assessment
    2. Portfolio project management
    3. Activity based costing
    4. Return on project investment and business value of project management
    5. Cost and benefits of electronic health records
    6. Why projects fail?
    7. Project management in clinical settings
    8. Vendor selection and contracting
    9. Project teamwork and communications
    10. Remote management of contractors and staff
    11. Ratings of project management software or electronic health records
    12. Other topics with instructor's approval
  2. Check work of other students:  Examine the work of previous students and the work already posted in Wikipedia.  Make sure that you can make significant new contributions.  You can use the work of previous students verbatim, as long as you include them as authors in the revised manuscript.  The order of the authorship depends on the extent of each person's contributions.  Do not re-invent the wheel.
  3. Check published literature:  Look at Pubmed and also check Google scholar to find out scientific progress in the field.   Do not make claims that are not supported by data.  You can rely on papers published in health care as well as papers published outside of healthcare.
  4. Draft paper: The draft of the paper must be finished by mid-term.   Write well.  Make sure your points are clear and are demonstrated with appropriate images.  Remember that the reader is another student who is just beginning in the field.  Give many examples and provide case studies.  Give steps by step guides.  Explain all terms when they are first mentioned and list them also at end of the paper.  Put all references at end of paper.  Make sure that the draft paper has the following sections:
    • Title page:  Choose a title that appropriately describes the paper.  Make it clear that it is a tutorial.   For example, if you are writing a paper on Activity Based Costing, then you might want to title the paper as "A tutorial on Activity Based Costing."  Include author's names but no contact information or other personal information
    • Permission page:  See section 7
    • Executive summary:  The summary should be able to stand for itself and the reader should understand the scope of the paper from it.  It should refer to each of the major sections of the paper.  A well organized paper will allow you to take a sentence from each section in the paper to organize the summary.
    • Introduction:  Discuss why this topic is important.  For example on the paper in Activity Based Costing, you might mention that managers can understand what to price a service and how the work process contributes to efficiency of operations.  You might want to mention how prevalent is use of the topic of the paper.  For example, you might want to mention how many papers in PubMed discuss Activity Based Costing.  Discuss who is the audience of the paper and why they should read the paper.
    • Review of the literature:  Define the terms used in the paper, show the relationships among the variables, review the literature published in this topic.
    • Step by step guide:  Provide a step by step guide on how a student can accomplish the tasks you are discussing in the paper.  This is the core of your paper.  Give visual demonstrations of the steps you are describing.  Provide sufficient detail so another student can accomplish the steps you are describing.   For example, if you are writing about Activity Based Costing you would list the steps as (1) estimate clinic census, (2) estimate personnel costs, and so on.  For each step you would want to include formulas or other visual guides that can help the reader understand the steps more fully.  For example, for the step on estimating clinic costs you might want to provide a visual of sources of data for such an estimate. 
    • Example or case study: Provide an example taking the reader through all of the steps you have described.  Make sure that you show each step both visually and describe it fully in the text. 
    • References and links:  Give references to literature reviewed and links to images used from the web.
    • Index of terms:  Alphabetically list all terms used in the paper and their definitions
    • Reviewers comments:  Show peer review comments and extent of revisions done based on reviewer comments (see section 5)
  5. Get feedback:  Circulate your paper to at least one other person (preferably someone writing on the same topic) and offer to review their work as well.  Every member of the team must do a separate review.  Send your review to the instructor as well as all of the authors of the draft paper.  Use the following rubric to organize your response (make comments for each of the sections indicated): 
    • Dates
      • Report the date you received the draft and the date you responded to the draft
    • Presentation:
      • Begin with what worked well.  Point to specific sections of the paper and use adjectives liberally to praise the authors.  This is the only place you are allowed to use adjectives, in all other sections avoid use of adjectives.
      • Discuss whether each major point has been made with an appropriate visual aid. 
      • Discuss the use of font size to mark paper sections and the hierarchy of ideas
      • Discuss if color has been used appropriately to highlight significant points
      • Discuss writing style and errors
      • Discuss the organization of the paper.
      • Discuss if references are linked to PubMed and other literature.
    • Content:
      • Begin with what worked well.  Point to specific content that made reading the paper worthwhile.  You can use adjectives in this section to praise the authors but do not use any adjectives in remaining sections.
      • Discuss if the authors have followed the recommended outline and whether their departures from the outline make sense.
      • Check that the title is appropriate for the paper.  Make sure that the paper does not digress into unrelated materials.
      • Discuss the use of reference materials.  Make sure that there are no claims made that are not backed up by evidence from the literature. 
      • Discuss whether the paper provides sufficient depth to serve as a tutorial for you or for someone not familiar with the topic.  What could make the paper more useful?
      • List what questions you had that were not answered by the paper.
    • What you learned: 
      • Discuss what you learned from the paper that you would try to do in your own draft.  If the topic is new to you, discuss what surprised you.
    • Grade
      • Do not give a grade
  6. Revise the manuscript:  Using the feedback you have received and what you have learned from your review of work of others, revise the manuscript.  A significant revision must be done, even if you have no critical comments and even if the original draft was the best paper in the world. 
  7. Post to the web:  Post the revised manuscript to Wikipedia (send the URL to the instructor) or send the manuscript to the instructor to post on the course web site.  Include the image of a signed permission after the title page.  Here is an example of text that should be on the signed permission:

"We, the undersigned give permission for posting our work to the web.  We have removed all personal identifiers from this manuscript, except for our name.  We give permission for others to create a derivative work from this manuscript, as long as we remain an author of the derivative work and as long as the order of authorship reflects each author's relative contribution.  In case of conflict, the course instructor makes the final choice of the order of authorship."


  • Students who wish to prepare a video instead of the paper can do so.  All videos should also be submitted to peer review before final submission to the instructor and posting to the web.
  • Students who prefer their work to remain private can asked to be exempted from their name appearing on the work or their work being posted on the web.
  • Students who prefer to submit their work for publication elsewhere (for example trade or academic journals), should do so and indicate the submission date to the instructor. 

This page is part of the course on Project Management.   This page was last edited on 01/31/17 by Farrokh Alemi, Ph.D ©Copyright protected.