Defining an unsolved problem determines what kind of literature search is appropriate, and performing a literature search helps define an unsolved problem
The technical writing process
THE TECHNICAL WRITING PROCESS NAVIN CHARI DALHOUSIE WRITING CENTRE
Stages in Research § Iden>fy your topic of interest § Perform a literature review § Generate related ques>ons § State your unsolved problem or hypothesis § Find or develop a solu>on § Document your results
Thesis Guidelines § Abstract § Introduc>on (Objec>ve & Mo>va>on) § Literature Review § Materials/Methods § Results & Discussion § Conclusions & Future Work § References This presenta>on will focus on the three sec>ons in bold.
Abstract: Mo>va>on § Why do we care about the Problem and the Results? § Importance of your Work § Diﬃculty of the Area § Impact if Successful § Helps to make the problem more interes>ng
Abstract: Problem Statement § What problem are you trying to solve? § What is the scope of your work? § Generalized approach, or for a speciﬁc situa>on § Be careful not to use too much jargon § Put the problem statement before the mo>va>on § Only if audience understand the problem’s importance
Abstract: Approach § How did you solve or progress on the problem? § Did you use simula>on, analy>c models, solid models, FEA, prototype construc>on, etc.? § What was the extent of your work? § What important variables did you control, ignore, or measure?
Abstract: Results § Whats the answer? § percent faster, cheaper, smaller, or otherwise be]er than something else. § Put the result there, in numbers. § Avoid vague, hand-‐waving results such as "very", "small", or "signiﬁcant."
Abstract: Conclusions § What are the implica>ons of your answer? § Is it going to change the world § Are your results general, poten>ally generalizable, or speciﬁc to a par>cular case?
Lit Review: Importance § Provides background regarding your own research § Shows your familiarity with research in your ﬁeld § Demonstrates how your work contributes in your ﬁeld’s knowledge base
Lit Review: Outcomes § Recogni>on of the relevant and important research in your ﬁeld § Understanding this research, by organizing and evalua>ng it § Seeing where there is a gap in the research which your study will a]empt to ﬁll
Lit Review: Steps § Finding Sources § Synthesizing Informa>on § The literature review is both a step and an itera>ve feedback loop -‐ Deﬁning an unsolved problem determines what kind of literature search is appropriate, and performing a literature search helps deﬁne an unsolved problem
Lit Review: Tasks § Brainstorming: What informa>on you will need § Researching: Where to get your hands on it § Developing a tracking method to maintain a complete record of all of the informa>on and their sources § Construct a list of experts in your ﬁeld
Lit Review: Wri>ng & Summarizing § Become familiar with the geography of the source § Locate the point of the argument § Iden>fy key subpoints § Iden>fy key themes § Skim paragraphs
Lit Review: Condensing Research § Do not write everything down § Create your own shortcuts and shorthand § Use numbers for numerical terms § Leave out vowels when you can § Record all vital names, dates, and deﬁni>ons § Mark items that need further examina>on § Check accuracy before returning or ﬁling the source
Lit Review: Summariza>on § Analyze Accurately and Cri>cally § Present an overview of what your source oﬀers § Topic, research problem, resolu>on, and arguments § Counterproduc>ve to try to read everything in detail § Focus on the abstract, introduc>on, and conclusion sec>ons of each source document § Categorize and understand what sources you have and what might s>ll be missing