Computer Science and Information Security

Technical, business-related, and global information about computer science and information security.


Fall 2022 MSSI Capstone Schedule and Requirements

(2) October 16th: a mid-project progress summary of 2 pages and an annotated report outline
(3) December 4th: a complete project report


Use journal articles to get:
  • a narrow or specific part of your topic
  • up-to-date information

Start with Compendex, the largest database for Engineering.

1. Library home page --> Databases

2.  Click "Browse list of databases"

Library home page, databases link


  • To see what is in a database, click "More Info" next to its name:


ALL databases let you FOCUS your search, so that you can get exactly what you want.

These are some databases with information about specific topics:

1. Engineering, Computer and IT Topics, and More -- Start with Compendex, then look at other databases in the Computer Science list

2. Business News and Information -- Start with ABI/INFORM, then look at the other databases in the Business list, under CORE

3. Technology and Communications Industries

Gartner Advisory Intraweb -- This database has short articles and reports about the technology and communications industries.
It can be complicated to use, but keep trying:

  • Here is the Quick Start page (PDF)
  • "Archived" means that the item is more than 18 months old
  • You cannot search the whole Gartner website at once. Here is a site map to help you find specific parts of the database.
  • Here are some glossaries (dictionaries), including IT and Human Resources. Just look at the 1st page. Or, use this alphabetical list to search for what you want.

Just like all of the other databases, use the other features to FOCUS your search. Remember to put PHRASES (two or more words) in quotation marks. Start with Advanced Search:

Always add the dates!

There are many more databases with specialized information. Please let Sue ( know if you need more help.

Save your time! Use these search techniques:
  • Put quotation marks around PHRASES (two or more words), so that the words are searched together
    --- Example: "chicken pox"
  • Put an asterisk at the end of words, so that you get all of the word endings
    --- Example: high* = high, highs, higher, highest
  • Think of alternate spellings or synonyms
    --- Examples: house OR home OR dwelling OR residence; "cyber security" OR cybersecurity -- it's used both ways
    -- You should also add "information security" OR "computer security" OR "network security" or cyberdefense [this does not need quotation marks because it is only one word]
  • Put each concept (idea) on a different row, so it is easier to adjust your search.
  • "Turn on autosuggest" = you get suggested search words, like "Denial-Of-Service Attack"
  • "Add search field" = add another row
  • If you get too many results (maybe 100+), move your most important concept into TITLE or SUBJECT/ TITLE/ ABSTRACT, as shown. If you do not like those results, put that concept back to "All Fields" and choose a different concept to put into TITLE or SUBJECT etc.

In addition to news, news items can also provide the names of information sources about your topics.


On this guide, How to Access Full Text tells you how to get to ALL of our full text.

MOST COMMON PROBLEM:  Not Having Enough Time

  • We tried to make everything perfect, and spent a lot of time on collecting and storing data… So we were not able to make full use of our data…
  • Unforeseen challenges and roadblocks that made progress slower than desired (like waiting for a device to arrive).
  • Balancing the three classes as well as trying to do good research. Some students don't have the option to reduce their schedule to two classes.
  • Getting a concrete idea that we believed could be done in one semester as well as would be a novel approach in the industry.
  • To find the right direction for further steps when the research get stuck. To describe the project backgrounds in great detail to general audience without specific knowledge about the project.
  • We wrote the report at the end instead of writing some documentation down as we go, so we had to go back in memory a lot.


Find Topics
  • Find topics in your *courses* that interest you
  • Talk to your friends or look in databases in this guide
Learn about the Topics
  • Start reviewing background information and talk with your team about some of the topics you are considering, so you can get a better idea about whether or not you will be able to do it in the time you have
  • Learn how to use Refworks so you can start your literature review NOW, and ORGANIZE the information you find so that you can keep track of it (use folders and tags to remind yourself what each article is about)

Due on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2022: 

     Mid-project progress summary and an annotated report outline

  • The progress summary should describe what have been completed, what still need to be done, and any significant changes to the project proposal.
  • The annotated outline is the first draft of your project report and must include all the sections, according to “MSSI Capstone Project Requirements”.
  • The outline must include a review of at least 5 literature items.
  • The references and citations should follow the “Reference Style” specified in “MSSI Capstone Project Requirements”.
  • The outline should have at least 500-1000 words (but it can be longer), excluding reference list, illustrations, figures, tables, etc.


1. Writing Help


2. Definitions

  • “Annotated” = “with notes”
  • “Citation” and “reference” are almost the same thing.
    --- “Citation” = author, title, journal or book title, year, and the other things required by IEEE or ACM style.
    --- “Reference” = a citation that you actually USE ("cite") in your reference list (also called "bibliography")

3. Writing Tips

  • Spell Check is good, but you must still read through it or have a friend read through it, because there are many words that mean different things. For example:  there/their;  great/grate
  • A Capstone is a formal piece of writing, so do not use informal language
  • What about authors who disagree with you or point out limitations to your approach? You should make sure to talk about those; for example, "Some authors point out that _______. However, our approach avoids that problem by ______."
  • Every word and every sentence must be clear. If you use words like "it" or "he" or "those," make sure that the reader will know who or what the word is referring to.
  • Every paragraph must follow logically from the one before it -- if you are going to introduce a new subject, say something like, "Related to that is the concept of X," or "Now we will discuss Y."

4. Problem Definition

Make sure that your problem definition (also called "thesis statement") is very clear, and include evidence to support it.

---Here is a definition from the Writing Center at U. North Carolina Chapel Hill
"A thesis statement is “usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader...
The rest of the paper…gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your [analysis].”

---"How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement" (from U. Evansville, IN).

---More information about your thesis statement (adapted from Writing Style Guide, Trident University International):

  • The most effective writing is centered around one main point. All supporting points, details, and examples are related to that one main point, which is often called "the thesis statement."

  • The goal of academic writing is to inform, explain, and persuade, so this statement must be extremely clear.

  • Having a thesis statement can also help to keep you focused as you write.

Your Reference List

  1. The "style" of your references must be either IEEE or ACM
  2. For more information, click the Citing Sources page on this guide


Citing Things That Are NOT Journal Articles

  • It can be hard to cite things that are not regular journal articles
  • But good news: the pieces of information that you need are mostly the same for everything -- author/editor (individual or corporate), title, date, publication/database, URL, date accessed
  • "Save to RefWorks" is helpful tool for things like this. Find this tool INSIDE RefWorks --> TOOLS --> Tools --> INSTALL
  • It is better to give TOO MUCH information than NOT ENOUGH, so that people can find the information you used

For example: this information has a title, author, and date. You can also add the name of the database (Gartner), the URL for this page, and the date you accessed it.

If you are having trouble citing anything, please contact Sue the Librarian (

RefWorks is the citation manager that is supported by JHU. It is free for you.

Log in here.
  • Here is our guide about how to use it
  • Here are video tutorials
  • NEVER do searches from INSIDE RefWorks. Always search from inside the database itself, such as Compendex
  • NOTE:  To create a bibliography, ALL of your references must be in ONE folder (you should label this folder VERY CLEARLY)
Example: Using Folders and Subfolders to Organize Your References

Your Biblography (the list of references at the end)
  1. The "style" of your references must be either IEEE or ACM
  2. To create your reference list in RefWorks, choose "Create Bibliography," then click on "Create Bibliography"
  3. Enter either  "IEEE" or "ACM" in the search box, as shown
  4. You will see several choices. Choose the IEEE or ACM style shown below in YELLOW :


How to Install the Tools To Insert In-text Citations
A citation inside the paper (not at the end in the bibliography) is called an "in-text citation" or an "in-line citation."
  • IEEE and ACM require "numbered" bibliographies (reference lists) -- this means that they are listed in the order that you used them in your paper. This page of the Refworks guide tells you how to install the add-ons.
BUT -- Here is a tip:

Here is an example of using the numbers of your references, in the order that you used them in the paper.

But a safe way to keep track of which references go with which sentences is to use the author/date in the text, instead of the numbers:

Then, when you are completely finished with your paper, your very last steps should be

  1. PUT ALL OF YOUR REFERENCES INTO A SINGLE FOLDER!  RefWorks is not able to take your references from more than one folder.
  2. Change those in-text author/dates into numbers
  3. Click on your one REFERENCES folder and "Create Bibliography" in IEEE or ACM style.
What Should The Final Report Look Like?

At the end of the MSSI Capstone Project Requirements are examples of the general structure for your final reports. This is what it says:

"...In general, all the papers published by ACM or IEEE conferences and journals can be followed for the organization of your report and the style of citations and references. The following are just a couple examples."

To find more examples, you can go to the IEEExplore (the IEEE database) or ACM Digital Library (the ACM database).

It is extremely important to make sure that your writing does not use someone else's work without properly acknowledging it. Even paraphrasing (putting someone else's writing into your own words) must be done in a very careful way.

(Note: the 3rd line in yellow does not refer to plagiarism. It is talking about how your final report should be written.)

These tutorials will help you learn the basics of avoiding plagiarism. You will always need to know this, not only during your academic career, but throughout your professional career, too.

Go to the JHU tutorials about plagiarism.