This is a paper describing the results of an analytical research project, worth 25% of your total grade. Your paper should be 10-12 pages, double-spaced, exclusive of cover, title page, table of contents, endnotes and bibliography. Your paper must use APA formatting with the exception that tables and figures can be inserted at the appropriate location rather than added at the end. Following UMUC policy, all students must upload their papers to Turnitin.com (following instructions provided by your instructor), produce and review an originality report, and submit the final version of the paper to your Assignment Folder prior to the submission deadline.
Paper Topic Selection
Prior to writing your paper, you must submit a short, ungraded, topic proposal. You should submit your intended research paper topic by the end of Session 3. The purpose of this preliminary milestone is to provide your instructor the opportunity to confirm the appropriateness of your proposed topic, sufficiently early in the course to allow for topic revision if necessary. It will be helpful if you include, with your proposed paper topic, the sort of research you intend to do and any specific sources you may have already found or plan to use in researching your topic. Your instructor will provide feedback on the suitability of the proposed topic by the start of Session 5. Students who do not provide a proposed topic will be preparing their research papers “at risk;” i.e., they will run the risk of delivering a paper reflecting research that is not suitable for this course.
Analytical Research Project
The purpose of the Research Project is to develop an in-depth understanding of the intrusion detection and/or prevention technology and the way in which such technology is used to protect specific computing environments against specific threats. To arrive at this understanding, your project may choose to follow either one of two analytical approaches:
- Analysis of a tool or technique including functional applicability and limitations
- Analysis of environmental security requirements and technologies to meet those requirements
Tool-centric Research: Projects of the first type will focus on a specific tool, technique, or method used in intrusion detection or intrusion prevention. Choosing a topic for this type of project will mean selecting the tool you want to research and analyze and developing a research question or thesis statement that your research is intended to answer. The analysis for a tool-centric research project should emphasize the use and application of the tool, technique, or method rather than a simple explanation of its features. If you choose a product or tool with a broad set of capabilities, you may choose to provide an analysis of one or more aspects of the tool. The paper distills fundamental issues, focuses on one available solution, and provides a detailed analysis of both the functional applicability and the limitations of the available solution. In other words, you should explain in your paper the functional purposes and/or security goals the chosen tool is well-suited to address, and also things for which it is not a good choice. You are welcome to choose any type of IDS tool, including network-based, host-based, or wireless products.
Environment-centric Research: The second type of project also looks at intrusion detection and prevention technologies, but adopts an organizational perspective by first defining and analyzing an operating environment, and then identifying and recommending appropriate IDS/IPS technologies. Choosing a topic for this type of project will mean describing a specific computing environment and any operational needs for safeguarding that environment. The analysis for an environment-centric research project should emphasize the threats faced by the organization and assess IDS/IPS technologies in the context of providing protection from those threats. This type of research project mimics the process many real-world organizations go through when selecting IDS/IPS tools (or other types of technologies), in which organizations first specify requirements and then evaluate alternatives to see what technologies best meet their requirements. You may choose to focus on a specific organization (like a company or agency) or on a class of organization (e.g., based on relative size, industry, business model, etc.). It is important that you be able to specify security requirements for the organization or operating environment that you choose for your project.
Regardless of which type of project you choose, your paper must demonstrate graduate-level writing ability and comply with the format requirements of the Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition). Careful attention should be given to source citations, proper listing of references, and the presentation of tables and graphs. Be sure to carefully cite (using correct APA-Style in-line citations) all sources of information in your paper. An adequate literature search will include 3-5 books and/or journal articles (or other scholarly sources), such as those available through the UMUC Online Library. For the topics anticipated for this paper a search of Internet sources is also expected to be helpful and appropriate.
UMUC policies regarding plagiarism will apply to the Research Paper as well as all other deliverables in this course. Plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional presentation of another person’s idea or product as one’s own. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to the following: copying verbatim all or part of another’s written work; using phrases, charts, figures, illustrations, or mathematical or scientific solutions without citing the source; and paraphrasing ideas, conclusions, or research without citing the source. Students can avoid unintentional plagiarism by carefully accepted scholarly practices. Notes taken for papers and research projects should accurately record sources of material to be cited, quoted, paraphrased, or summarized, and papers should acknowledge these sources in footnotes. The penalties on plagiarism include a zero or a grade “F” on the work in question, a grade “F” in the course, suspension with a file letter, suspension with a transcript notation, or expulsion. Please refer to UMUC policies concerning action in cases of confirmed plagiarism.
A final note on source citations and the use of reference material in your paper: it is expected that much of the information you put in your paper will relate to products or other topics that are new to you. For this reason it is also expected that you will rely heavily at times on material found through references discovered in your research. It is essential that you give proper attribution to these sources of information. You should not quote extensively from your sources, but instead should express the ideas found in your own words, applying them to the specific points you are making in your paper. Short word-for-word excerpts are acceptable, but should always be placed in quotation marks to clearly indicate a verbatim use of source material. Your instructor is extremely well-read in the subject areas addressed in this course, and it is generally quite apparent when a given section of content originates from a source other than the author, so please be diligent about using source material appropriately. It is always better to err on the side of too much citation rather than too little.
You must upload your paper using Turnitin.com and generate an originality report prior to submitting the assignment. Instructions for using Turnitin will be provided separately. The final version of your Research Paper should be submitted to your Assignments folder by the end of session 11.
Papers for this course must meet the following criteria:
- Papers must be your original work.
- Papers must not be “recycled” from previous courses, even if written by you.
- The emphasis of papers must be analytical, e., the paper should pose a research question or problem, and attempt to answer the question or problem with an analysis of available sources and reference material, as well as your own perspective.
- Research papers must NOT seek merely to summarize the relevant details of a topic, even if that topic is new to the writer. The value in this assignment is in reaching a sufficient understanding of a set of material to allow you to provide an informed opinion on some application of the material to a specific issue.
Please submit questions regarding the research paper to the Questions for the Instructor discussion.
The Analytical Research Paper will be graded against the following criteria:
- Clear statement of thesis to be analyzed and its relevance: 15%
- Technical Content (depth and accuracy of information and analysis): 40%
- Recommendation, answer, or conclusion supported by research and analysis: 15%
- Clarity, Organization, grammar and spelling: 15%
- APA Style: 15%
Please be sure to spell check and carefully proof read your paper prior to submitting it. Please also allow sufficient time to upload a version of your paper to Turnitin.com and make any revisions corresponding to the results of the originality report before submitting the final version.