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Department of

Community And Regional Planning

GIS Graduate Certificate Program

Final Report Basic Guidelines

All graduate students enrolled in the GIS Certificate must write their Final Report for their GIS Application following the Basic Guidelines described below.

The student’s adviser (member of the Faculty Pool) is responsible for ensuring that his/her advisee follows these Basic Guidelines.  The adviser is also responsible for grading the Final Report (A, B, C, etc).

An electronic copy (PDF file) of the Final Report must be submitted to the Director of Certificate Studies for the ISU GIS Certificate (Dr. Monica A. Haddad).

1.  Content
Students should include each of the following content in their reports:
Front Matter
  • Title page
  • Abstract including objectives, methods, and results
  • Table of contents
  • Lists of figures and tables
Problem Definition
  • Statement of the research problem
  • Project purpose, background, and context
  • Main objectives and contributions of the study
  • Spatial questions and hypotheses
Research Design
  • Relevant literature review on the problem
  • Relevant theories on the problem, if applicable
  • Conceptual framework and definition of key terms
  • Description of concepts and variables
  • Study area description, location, and context
  • Operationalization and measurement of variables
  • Database and data sources
  • Data analysis and modeling
  • Results of data analyses
  • Presentation of results in text, figures, and tables
  • Review of results in relation to spatial hypotheses and research problem
  • Discussion of results in the context of the project background
  • Conclusions and recommendations based on results
  • Recommendations for future studies
Back Matter
  • Bibliography
  • Appendices
2.  Format
A minimum of 28 written pages is generally expected, including figures and tables. Not counting “Front Matter” and “Back Matter” (please read below). In details, not to be included in the 28 pages: Title page; Abstract; Table of contents; Lists of figures and tables; Bibliography; Appendices. Students should follow the specific guidelines given below when preparing their report:
  • Margins: Use 1″ margins on all sides.
  • Page numbers: Number all pages of the report using the exact same font, size, and location.  Front matter should be numbered with Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, v, etc.).  The title page should be page “i” but do not show the page number on the title page.  Report body pages and back matter should be numbered with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.).
  • Font and spacing: Use 12 point Times New Roman font throughout the report.  Double space the entire report.
  • Title page: Follow title page formatting given in the current Thesis Manual.  Capitalize only the first word of the title and proper names.  Include your full name, area of specialization (i.e. Geographic Information Systems Certificate), semester and year of graduation.  Also, provide the name of your GIS Application advisor.
  • Front matter: Ensure that Table of Contents headings exactly match the headings used in text and that headings and page numbers are correct.
  • Text: Organize your text in a coherent and consistent manner.  Use headings and subheading formats consistently thoughout, and ensure clear differentiation between formatting of different heading levels.
  • Tables and figures (maps, graphs, photographs, etc.): Each table and figure must have a number and a title.  These should be clear and integrated into the text as close as possible to the in-text reference (not at the end of the report).  Format all captions in a consistent manner (numbering, font, location in relation to image, etc.)
  • Appendix: Pages should be numbered in the same font and location as text pages.  Each appendix needs a main heading, in the same location and formatted like the other main headings in the text.
  • References: Cite references in the text correctly, completely, and in a consistent style.  Use a consistent formatting style throughout the Bibliography.