Publications II:
Technical Writing: Structure
Mohamed Zahran
mzahran@acm.org
http://www.mzahran.com
ES Series on Scientifi...
ES Series on Scientific Research
Writing
• If you haven’t written it, you haven’t done it.
• If you write it, but no one r...
ES Series on Scientific Research
It Is a MarketingThingy!
3
Convince others
to read your work!
then
Your goal: infect the
...
ES Series on Scientific Research
A Good Style for ScientificWriting
• Precise
• Clear
• Brief
… and in that order
ES Series on Scientific Research
Remember …
• Start writing when you start doing research
• So, you must have a research n...
ES Series on Scientific Research 6
The main roles
of your paper
Attract the reader
Get the reader
interested to read
the f...
ES Series on Scientific Research 7
The main roles
of your paper
Attract the reader
Get the reader
interested to read
the f...
ES Series on Scientific Research
• Title
• Abstract
• Introduction
• Problem Definition
• Survey (and background)
• Propos...
ES Series on Scientific Research
Keep in Mind
• Make certain that the reader is in no doubt what
the idea is. Be 100% expl...
ES Series on Scientific Research
A paper gives
the reader a
re-usable insight(s)
10
I wish I
knew how
to solve
that!
I see...
ES Series on Scientific Research
TheTitle!!
• The title is way more important than you
think!
• Main jobs of the title:
– ...
ES Series on Scientific Research
TheTitle!!
• DO:
– Present in clear concise manner
• Don’t:
– Use jargon
– Use very infor...
ES Series on Scientific Research
The abstract
• Many people like to write the abstract last
• Convince the reader to conti...
ES Series on Scientific Research
The introduction (~1 page)
1. Describe the problem
2. Makes claims about your finding(s)
...
ES Series on Scientific Research
State your contributions
• The list of contributions drives the entire
paper: the paper s...
ES Series on Scientific Research
State your contributions
•Do not leave the reader to guess what your contributions are!
•...
Contributions should be refutable
NO! YES!
We describe the global
cache replacement. It is
really cool.
We showed that the...
ES Series on Scientific Research
PLEASE: No “rest of this paper is...”
• Not:
• Instead, use forward references from the
n...
ES Series on Scientific Research
Background
• The reader may not have enough background
to understand your idea or the lit...
ES Series on Scientific Research
Related work!
Related
work
Your reader Your idea
ES Series on Scientific Research
RelatedWork
• Can be before the idea presentation or after
the results and discussion
• D...
ES Series on Scientific Research
Related work
To make my work look good, I have
to make other people’s work look bad
X
ES Series on Scientific Research
Credit is not like money
Giving credit to others does not
diminish the credit you get fro...
ES Series on Scientific Research
Credit is not like money
Failing to give credit to others can
kill your paper
If you impl...
ES Series on Scientific Research
Presenting the idea
• Explain it as if you were speaking to someone
using a whiteboard
• ...
ES Series on Scientific Research
Putting the reader first
• Do not tell your personal journey of
discovery. This route may...
ES Series on Scientific Research
The major part of your paper
Introduce the problem, and your
idea, using
EXAMPLES
and onl...
ES Series on Scientific Research
The details of your solution
Detailed Justified
ES Series on Scientific Research
Experiments – Discussion
• Are very much field dependent
• Give all the details that allo...
ES Series on Scientific Research
Conclusions and future work
• Be brief
• Give the insights
• Show that this is not the end
How to Avoid Plagiarism
ES Series on Scientific Research
What is plagiarism?
• Plagiarism comes from the Latin word plagiarius,
which means kidnap...
ES Series on Scientific Research
Conclusions
• Technical writing is a acquired skill
• It may be hard but very rewarding
•...
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المحاضرة السادسة - سلسلة أساسيات البحث العلمي

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سلسلة محاضرات البحث العلمي مقدمة من مؤسسة علماء مصر http://www.egyptscholars.org/researchcourse

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المحاضرة السادسة - سلسلة أساسيات البحث العلمي

  1. 1. Publications II: Technical Writing: Structure Mohamed Zahran mzahran@acm.org http://www.mzahran.com ES Series on Scientific Research
  2. 2. ES Series on Scientific Research Writing • If you haven’t written it, you haven’t done it. • If you write it, but no one reads it, you still haven’t done it. • If you write it up and it is read but not understood you still haven’t done it.
  3. 3. ES Series on Scientific Research It Is a MarketingThingy! 3 Convince others to read your work! then Your goal: infect the mind of your reader with your idea, like a virus!!
  4. 4. ES Series on Scientific Research A Good Style for ScientificWriting • Precise • Clear • Brief … and in that order
  5. 5. ES Series on Scientific Research Remember … • Start writing when you start doing research • So, you must have a research notebook/journal • You will extract your paper from this journal
  6. 6. ES Series on Scientific Research 6 The main roles of your paper Attract the reader Get the reader interested to read the full paper Convince the reader that the problem is important Direct the reader toward the shape of the solution Sell your solution Start here!
  7. 7. ES Series on Scientific Research 7 The main roles of your paper Attract the reader Get the reader interested to read the full paper Convince the reader that the problem is important Direct the reader toward the shape of the solution Sell your solution •Title •Abstract • Introduction • Background • Problem definition • Literature survey• Proposed solution • Experiments and results • Discussion
  8. 8. ES Series on Scientific Research • Title • Abstract • Introduction • Problem Definition • Survey (and background) • Proposed Solution (your idea!) • Experimental Setup • Results and Discussion • Conclusions (and FutureWork)
  9. 9. ES Series on Scientific Research Keep in Mind • Make certain that the reader is in no doubt what the idea is. Be 100% explicit: – “The main idea of this paper is....” – “The contribution of this paper is ...” • Many papers contain good ideas, but do not say explicitly what they are. • Your paper should have just one “WOW”: one clear, sharp idea – You may not know exactly what the ping is when you start writing; but you must know when you finish – If you have lots of ideas, write lots of papers
  10. 10. ES Series on Scientific Research A paper gives the reader a re-usable insight(s) 10 I wish I knew how to solve that! I see how that works. Ingenious!
  11. 11. ES Series on Scientific Research TheTitle!! • The title is way more important than you think! • Main jobs of the title: – Capture the reader’s attention – Prepare the reader for the idea 11
  12. 12. ES Series on Scientific Research TheTitle!! • DO: – Present in clear concise manner • Don’t: – Use jargon – Use very informal title – Use very general title • Be careful with: – Buzzwords 12
  13. 13. ES Series on Scientific Research The abstract • Many people like to write the abstract last • Convince the reader to continue reading the paper • 1-2 paragraphs at most 1. State the problem 2. Say why it’s an interesting problem 3. Say what your solution achieves (with few words about the results) 4. Say what follows from your solution
  14. 14. ES Series on Scientific Research The introduction (~1 page) 1. Describe the problem 2. Makes claims about your finding(s) 3. State your contributions ...and that is all
  15. 15. ES Series on Scientific Research State your contributions • The list of contributions drives the entire paper: the paper substantiates the claims you have made • Reader thinks “gosh, if they can really deliver this, that’s be exciting; I’d better read on”
  16. 16. ES Series on Scientific Research State your contributions •Do not leave the reader to guess what your contributions are! • You can use a bulleted list.
  17. 17. Contributions should be refutable NO! YES! We describe the global cache replacement. It is really cool. We showed that the global cache replacement achieves an average of 30% performance increase over traditional one with 2% increase in cost. We study its properties We prove that the type system is sound, and that the miss rate decreased by 35% We have used the system in practice We have built a full-system simulator where we included the new system.
  18. 18. ES Series on Scientific Research PLEASE: No “rest of this paper is...” • Not: • Instead, use forward references from the narrative in the introduction. The introduction (including the contributions) should survey the whole paper, and therefore forward reference every important part. “The rest of this paper is structured as follows. Section 2 introduces the problem. Section 3 ... Finally, Section 8 concludes”.
  19. 19. ES Series on Scientific Research Background • The reader may not have enough background to understand your idea or the literature survey • Background info must be a short tutorial • Do not include everything about the subject  just what is needed for the reader to understand the rest of the paper 19 I feel tired I feel stupid
  20. 20. ES Series on Scientific Research Related work! Related work Your reader Your idea
  21. 21. ES Series on Scientific Research RelatedWork • Can be before the idea presentation or after the results and discussion • Depends on whether your idea: – Complements what others have done – Do a better thing (or refute) what others have done 21
  22. 22. ES Series on Scientific Research Related work To make my work look good, I have to make other people’s work look bad X
  23. 23. ES Series on Scientific Research Credit is not like money Giving credit to others does not diminish the credit you get from your paper  Be generous to the competition. “In his inspiring paper [Foo98] Foogle shows.... We develop his foundation in the following ways...”  Acknowledge weaknesses in your approach
  24. 24. ES Series on Scientific Research Credit is not like money Failing to give credit to others can kill your paper If you imply that an idea is yours, and the referee knows it is not, then either  You don’t know that it’s an old idea (bad)  You do know, but are pretending it’s yours (very bad)
  25. 25. ES Series on Scientific Research Presenting the idea • Explain it as if you were speaking to someone using a whiteboard • Conveying the intuition is primary, not secondary • Once your reader has the intuition, he/she can follow the details (but not vice versa) • Even if the reader skips the details, she still takes away something valuable
  26. 26. ES Series on Scientific Research Putting the reader first • Do not tell your personal journey of discovery. This route may be of interest to you, but that is not interesting to the reader. Do not make your paper a cure to insomnia! • Instead, choose the most direct route to the idea.
  27. 27. ES Series on Scientific Research The major part of your paper Introduce the problem, and your idea, using EXAMPLES and only then present the general case
  28. 28. ES Series on Scientific Research The details of your solution Detailed Justified
  29. 29. ES Series on Scientific Research Experiments – Discussion • Are very much field dependent • Give all the details that allow people to reproduce your experiments • Please avoid: “as we can see from Figure 6, x is increasing with y” (bad) • Instead “Figure 6 tells that ….(and then state why x is increasing with y, under which conditions, and what can we get from this) 29
  30. 30. ES Series on Scientific Research Conclusions and future work • Be brief • Give the insights • Show that this is not the end
  31. 31. How to Avoid Plagiarism
  32. 32. ES Series on Scientific Research What is plagiarism? • Plagiarism comes from the Latin word plagiarius, which means kidnapper  (Menager-Beeley & Paulos, 2006). • Plagiarism can occur when copying, summarizing, paraphrasing, or citing common knowledge (Roig, n.d)., facts, ideas, and/or words without giving credit • You cannot copy/past more than 1-2 sentences • If you want to use a figure/picture from somewhere else: – Get permission first – Give credit
  33. 33. ES Series on Scientific Research Conclusions • Technical writing is a acquired skill • It may be hard but very rewarding • Keep training!! 33
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