George Mason University

Lifestyle Management
through System Analysis


Format of Project Reports

There are two projects in this class.  This section describes the format and sections within the final reports for each of the projects.  Through out the course, you have worked on various elements needed for these two final reports.

Personal Improvement Project

This project is reported as narrated slides converted to video and posted on a public domain or mailed to the instructor on a Compact Disk.  The slide show should contain the following slides:

  1. Title slide
    •  Include the project's name
    • Include your initials
    • Do not include emails or other contact information
    •  Include the class-specific student ID number
  2. Permission for display slide
    •  Include a statement from project participants whether the storyboard is or is not allowed to be in public domain (e.g. on the web). 
  3. Description of the problem slide 
    • A problem is best articulated using data and a vivid quote about the extent of the problem.
  4. Process flow chart or list of routines slides
    • Describe the current situation using list of routines or flow chart. 
    • Include a cycle chart.
  5. List of solutions slide 
    • List possible solutions examined
    • For each solution give the score for system change versus personal effort.
    • Indicate solutions implemented. 
  6. Result slide
    • Provide a control chart 
    • Discuss major findings (points outside control limits) 
  7. Future plans & conclusions slide
    • Will you continue the improvement effort?
    • What did you think of the process you followed.  

You are asked to narrate your storyboard.  In narrating slides, please keep the following advice in mind:

  1. Make all of your slides before starting the narration. 
  2. Your entire narration should not be more than 10 minutes.
  3. Do not use animation, it usually conflicts with narration on a machine that works at a different speed.
  4. Duplicate slides that have a list of items so that each item is on a separate slide
  5. Do not put too much text on slides.  No text should have a font size of less than 20.  Do not use full sentences, abbreviate to key phrases, 3 or 4 words long. 
  6. Once all slides are done, copy the script you want to read as full text sentences on top of your slides so that you can read your narration while looking at the slide.
  7. Narrate all of your slides at one sitting.  If errors occur continue with the effort.  Video
  8. Post narrated videos to the web or mail a CD containing the narrated slides to the instructor.  Video►  SWF  You Tube► 

Whether you succeeded in accomplishing your resolution does not affect your grade.  30% of your grade will be based on quality of presentation (all font sizes larger than 20, short phrases in slides, good quality voice narration).  70% of your grade will be based on content of your presentation including (1) availability of list of routines, (2) availability of cycle chart that is directly relevant to the resolution, (3)  availability of system change scores and (4) correct analysis of data and display of control chart.

Here are some examples:

  1. Improving diet through cleaning out the pantry More►
  2. Improving eating habits by changing time of dinner  More►
  3. Reducing junk food through moving food and computer around More►
  4. Eating breakfast daily by placing it near exit door More►
  5. Avoiding late night food through changing study time  More►

Analysis of Causal Diary

This project is reported as a word document containing the following sections:

  1. Title and contact information

    • Include project title

    • Do not include your name or email

    • Do not refer to anyone, including acknowledgement by full name.  Use only first names or alises

    • Include your class-specific student ID

    • Permission to display (please indicate whether the instructor is allowed to post your work so that future students can see it as an exemplar)

  2. Comprehensive list of causes and constraints

    • List of causes and constraints and dates they were added to the list (in case some were added after data collection started)

    • A discussion why each cause/constraint meets the requirements for causes.  Please discuss each criteria for each cause. 

    • Use the following table to summarize:

      Date Added Cause or Constraint Description Is an event? In next 2 weeks, is always present? Precedes effect? If causes absent, then no effect? Mechanism
      Modifiable by the person?
      Table 1:  A list of causes and Constraints as of August 1st
  3. Causal model

    • The network model of causes leading to the target event.  Create a visual model using any software accessible to you (e.g. Power Point) or draw by hand and scan it into an image and insert into your report.

    • The hypothesized constraints within the model.  List each constraint and which cause is affected.

    • The hypothesized relationship among the causes.  Draw a line between any two causes that are likely to be associated with one another.  Write about the association among the causes.

  4. Thought experiments

    • List of the serial nodes observed with the network and think-it-through experiments (logical statements that support your views) that verified the assumptions for serial causal relationships

    • List of nodes where multiple causes have same effect.  Please show that you have thought through the assumptions behind these types of nodes and that these assumptions are reasonable.

    • List of nodes where a common cause leads to different effects.  Please show that you have thought through these assumptions and they meet the requirement for common-cause node structures

    • List out counterfactual tests of various causes.  For each cause, list examples of situations where the counterfactual statements are reasonable.

    • Make a summary of your arguments using the following table structure:

      Type of Test Relationships observed
      in the causal model
      True statements that support
      the assumptions in my model
      Root causes are irrelevant in predicting exercise given direct causes    
      Common causes make independent effects conditionally dependent on each other    
      Multiple causes are dependent on each other when the effect is given    
      Table 2:  Summary of Thought Experiments for Causal Model
  5. Causal diary

    • Show data for at least 2 weeks

    • Show that you have kept data not only on your success and failures but also on the presence or absence of various causes. 

    • Summarize your presentation using the following table structure:

      Day Exercise Cause A Constraint on A Cause B Constraint on B  
      Table 3:  Data from My Causal Diary
  6. Analysis of the diary

    • For each cause, calculate the maximum and minimum probability of observing the effect when the cause is present

    • The following table might be a reasonable way of showing the results


      Probability of Success
      Given the Cause




      Table 4:  Probability of Success Associated with Different Causes

  7. Report of actions taken

    • Describe how you used the insights gained through this analysis to change your lifestyle

  8. Introspection

    • Discuss whether the procedure of making a causal model and testing it is useful.  How could this procedure be made more useful.

Please title the sections in the report using the above list of sections.  30% of your grade is for presentation and ease of reading (no grammatical errors, no misspelled words, bold headings, make sure headings correspond to 8 sections listed above, clear visual aids); 70% of the grade is for content (all tables make sense and calculations are correct)

Here are some examples (please note that instructions differ over time and student projects in the past do not necessarily meet current instructions):

  1. Report from student 64's experiment (Word 2007)  More►
  2. Report from student 80's experiment (Word 2003)  More►
  3. Report from student 84's experiment (Word 2003)  More►
  4. Report from student 95's experiment (Word 2003)  More►

This page is part of the course on a href="default.asp?E=0">Lifestyle Management   This page was last edited on 05/09/09 by Farrokh Alemi, Ph.D ©Copyright protected.