Related work

As the next step for your project, you will need to conduct a literature review on the subject of your project and write up your findings.


This part of the project is due on Tuesday, 2/20, at 23:59.


This assignment should be completed together with your project partner.


Your task is to conduct a literature review on the subject of your project. Please read this page about how to conduct the literature search.

Your literature review should be narrow enough to provide detailed coverage of the specific area you will be studying but broad enough to also include tangentially related work. For example, if you were studying intelligent voice assistants, you would include most or all papers you could find about privacy in voice assistants and smart speakers, and some papers about smart home devices more generally. You would not include papers about how smart speakers work or usable security in general, as that is not closely related enough.

For groups pursuing a development project, your literature review should focus on research relevant to the system you will be building. For example, if you were writing a browser extension that helped people understand privacy policies, your related work would include papers on people’s understanding of privacy policies and tools such as visualizations that have been developed as aids. However, your write-up should include a separate section about similar systems.

As a very rough rule of thumb, I expect you should be able to find and cite 20–40 relevant papers. If you find many more, try to pick out the ones that are most relevant to what you plan to do in your project. If you can’t find enough, please reach out to me and include the list of references you did find — but do this at least 3 days before the due date.

Your write-up should be written in the style of a paper’s related work section; you can use the ones from our reading list as a model. As another rule of thumb, I would expect that each paper you find will be described in a sentence or two in your text (but some may have more or less, depending on relevance). Please also pay attention to organization and flow: don’t just describe every paper you found in a random order, structure your paragraphs around subtopics or in another way that makes sense.

For both research and development projects, at least one paragraph of your related work should explain what makes your planned project different from the work you were able to find.

What to turn in

Please submit the write-up of your related work in the form of a PDF created using LaTeX. The references section should be created automatically using BibTeX (check out some tutorials if you haven’t used it before) using the plain citation style.

Late policy

  • Assignments submitted up to 24 hours late receive a deduction of one letter grade (10 percentage points).
  • Assignments submitted more than 24 hours late receive no credit.