Academic Writing Seminar 2013 with NTUST-ISA, IMISA, ISACE
Academic Writing:How to Write Your ThesisA Seminar by NTUST-ISA, IMISA, ISACEMay 18, 2013H. M. Citraningrum1
What is academic writing?How and/or why is it different fromother types of writing?2
Let’s go to our beloved Wikipedia...Writing in these forms or styles is usuallyserious, intended for a critical and informedaudience, based on closely investigatedknowledge, and posits ideas or arguments. Itusually circulates within the academic world(the academy), but the academic writer mayalso find an audience outside via journalism,speeches, pamphlets, etc.3
and more….Typically scholarly writing has an objectivestance, clearly states the significance of thetopic, and is organized with adequate detail sothat other scholars could try to replicate theresults. Strong papers are not overly generaland correctly utilize formal academic rhetoric.4
Or let me put it this way…..• Academic writing is all about formal,traditional, stiff style of writing.• It is specific, it follows certain rules.• While feature writing can be colloquial,academic writing CAN NOT.5
Some guidelines• Your point MUST be clear just by the words youwrite (meaning: THINK more), because goodacademic writing is supposed to be EASY to read(but very DIFFICULT to write).• How to convey the message: introduce, expand,conclude.• Write what you mean, mean what you write.• Being direct is more important than lookingsmart.• Be considerate and diplomatic.6
Try!12Figure A. pH effect on TMAH uptake using WAC
Some Latin (Yaaaaay!)13Latin EnglishCirca (ca.) About, approx.Et alii, et aliae, et alia (et al.)Et cetera (etc)And the rest (andothers)Exempli gratia (e.g.) For exampleId est (i.e.) That is
When and when NOT to use ‘the’• I just trust my intuition.• No, I am not kidding. I am so totally NOTkidding.• But for your reference, my English teacher saidthat ‘the’ is used when something is unique orspecific (and some other rules that I am notgoing to discuss here).14
For example….• The book I read yesterday was awesome.• Quaternary ammonium is the source of itspositive charge, hence the charge isindependent of solution pH (Dentel et al.,1998).• TMAH behaves differently compared to otherammonium or amine compounds, since TMA+is a permanently charged ion and thus astrong ion exchange group.15
Thesis: It is not about you, it is aboutyour data.18
Thesis outline• Introduction• Literature review• Materials and methods (methodology)• Results (and discussion, obviously)• Conclusions• References• Supporting data (or Appendix)19
Introduction• Background• Objectives (NOT objection)• Scope of research20Save this part for the last one.
Literature review• The most boring-like-no-body-will-ever-read-itpart?• Literature review actually HELPS you a lot tomake your Chapter 4 alive.21I mean it. Like, seriously.
While it is boring as it is….. Let’s do it theeasy way22Gather (and/or sort) any relevantreferencesRead them all (of course)Write one or two sentences summaryof each paper, then put the referenceGroup those summaries into specificsectionsRearrange the sections
Example• TMAH is a major ingredient of photoresist developerwidely used in thin-film transistor liquid crystal display(TFT-LCD) and light emitting diode (LED) manufacturingprocesses (Sugawara et al., 2002)• A combination of electrodialysis and ion exchangetechnology can remove and recover TMAH fromwastewater (Shibata et al., 2006; Sugawara et al., 2002)• It has been found that by employing two differenttypes of resin, namely cation exchange and anionexchange resin, TMAH can be recovered and reused inthe manufacturing process (Shibata et al., 2006)23
Example• Adsorption process has been investigated for TMAHremoval (Kelleher et al., 2001; Prahas et al., 2012)• TMAH is also used as an alkaline etchant and as acleaning solution in semiconductor manufacturing(Thong et al., 1997)• Other applications of TMAH includethermochemolysis of materials, e.g. woods (Hardelland Nilvebrant, 1999; McKinney et al., 1996;McKinney and Hatcher, 1996)24
One small note:Data is the plural form of datum; it isresearch and there is no researches.26
Methodology• Materials• Methods27You remember what you did, right?Now just write them down.In passive sentences.
ExampleTo obtain the value of electronic energy and zero pointvibrational energy, computational model wasemployed based upon density functional theory (DFT)using GaussView 5.0 software package. Molecularstructures of neutral and protonated amines wereoptimized. The Becke gradient corrected exchange andLee-Yang-Parr correlation functional with the threeparameters (B3LYP) method with the 6-311G+ basis setwere selected which includes diffuse and polarizationfunctions on hydrogen and heavy atoms. Solvation wasset as water as all three amines were diluted indeionized water.28
Example no. 22.214.171.124. Effect of interfering ions on TMA+ uptake• Known amount of ammonium, sodium, magnesium,potassium, ethylamine, diethylamine, and triethylaminewere added to TMAH solution with initial concentration of400 mg/L in total volume of 50 mL.• pH of the solution was adjusted by 1 N HCl so that desiredequilibrium pH could be obtained.• 0.1 g (±1%) of activated carbon was added into each flaskand covered with aluminum foil and plastic.• The flasks were shaken at 100 rpm shaking speed at 25ºCuntil equilibrium was reached.• After equilibrium was reached, the solution was filteredand the filtrate was analyzed using IC.29
Results• Present data that SPEAK, other than those,shove them under Supporting Data section.• How do we know which ones?• Consider this question:30What’s the scenario of your research?
Research example• Big theme: biofuel• Specific topic: algae harvesting31
32Shortage in fuelThe need for renewable energyAlternative: algaeOptimum method for harvestingParameters involved, efficiency, drawbacksDeveloping the method forupscale/improvement/further research
Let’s take a closer look33Parameters involved, efficiency, drawbacksIncreasingefficiency when Xwas modifiedDifferent harvestingrate when Y waschangedNo change in algaeshape withdifferent Z additionTwo damn monthsyou spent to growthe algae properlySixteen differentsteps you did just toget one graph.Failed experiments:52 before gettingthe correct one
For example, this ONE figure…34Amine concentration, mg/L10 20 30 40 50TMA+uptake,%020406080100EADEATEAmodel - EAmodel - DEA
…..which was constructed from…• 3 calibration curves, 7 points each.• 2 modeling curves, 7 points each.• 50 samples to measure.• 10 pairs of simultaneously solved equations.• 2 weeks – 1 month to complete.…….all performed in duplicates.35Amine concentration, mg/L10 20 30 40 50TMA+uptake,%020406080100EADEATEAmodel - EAmodel - DEA
YES. CAPITAL YES.37Why?Because it doesn’t help in explainingyour research.So, get over it.Move on.
38And again, it is not about you, it isabout your data.
Familiar with these?• “Stay up late doing experiments”• “Failed 526th set”• “Two days running the simulation, and still notfinished”• “Have just gone to bed at 6 AM…” (but whattime do you actually wake up?)39
Keep those in Facebook, Twitter,whatever, but NOT in your Chapter 4.40
What about discussion?• While Results part is how you PRESENT yourdata, Discussion is how you INTERPRET yourdata and STATE your hypothesis.41So what should I write?
Discussion• Highlight the main findings of your research,either expected or unexpected.• Justify and/or defend your findings withreferences (this is what I meant). Make itbalance.• Refer to results to further strengthen yourhypothesis.• Is there any drawbacks? Explain. Providesolution/recommendation.42
Conclusions• List them in number.• Keep them simple, if people want to knowmore, they can read Chapter 4.• Mention any further research needed.43
References• Long list of papers/books you have read• Make them uniform in style.44(or…NOT).
Example H. Sugawara, Y. Tajima, T. Ohmi, “A study on reclaimedphotoresist developer using an electrodialysis method”,Jpn. J. Appl. Phys., Part 1, vol. 41, pp. 2374-2379, 2002. J.T.L. Thong, W.K. Choi, C.W. Chong, “TMAH etching ofsilicon and the interaction of etching parameters”,Sens. Actuators, A, vol. 63, no. 3, pp. 243-249, 1997. H. L. Hardell, N. O. Nilvebrant, “A rapid method todiscriminate between free and esterified fatty acids bypyrolytic methylation using tetramethylammoniumacetate or hydroxide”, J. Anal. Appl. Pyrolysis, vol. 52,no. 1, pp. 1-14, 1999.45
Example no. 2Chen, Y., Pan, B., Li, H., Zhang, W., Lv, L. and Wu, J. (2010).Selective Removal of Cu(II) Ions by Using Cation-exchange Resin-Supported Polyethyleneimine (PEI)Nanoclusters. Environmental Science and Technology,44, 3508-3513.Dentel, S. K., Jamrah, A. I. and Sparks, D. L. (1998).Sorption and cosorption of 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene andtannic acid by organo-clays. Water Research, 32, 3689-3697.Do, D. D. (1998). Adsorption Analysis: Equilibria AndKinetics. Imperial College Press, London.46
Now let’s go back to Chapter 1• Got the conclusions? write down the objectives of your research.• You have put all of your puzzling resultstogether. write down the scope of your research.• Your cake is ready, and the introduction is theicing.47
Supporting data49• Here is the place for “silent” data, the place toshow all of your hard work.• Calibration curves, preliminary experiments,how many calculation you performed for eachgraph, etc.• Brag here as much as you want, but tone itdown, OK?
Inspiration to write• Your data, of course.• Read papers, again and again, you mightfinally get to understand them.• Read scientific magazines.• Put Google Alert for anything related to yourresearch.• My blog? *JK*51
Motivate yourself• You’ll be a master/doctor soon. How cool isthat? (Hello Dr. Citra)• When it gets boring, do your work in 15-minssegment.• When it gets even more boring, go out andbike. Drink something sweet. Eat ice cream.Pat a cat. Watch Bones/Game of Thrones/TheBig Bang Theory. Read PhD comics.• And don’t forget to go back to your thesis.52
Writing is difficult.Accept that fact.Reward yourself.53