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So you want to write a technical paper!


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This presentation takes you through the 6 KEY STEPS to writing a technical or white paper to accelerate your career and become known as an expert in your organization.

Published in: Technology, Business
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So you want to write a technical paper!

  1. 1. So you want to write a Technical Paper
  2. 2. Why Write a Paper? <ul><li>Why not to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Writing is tough </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No benefit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nothing to write about </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Takes too long </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t know how to start </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If it not written, it doesn’t exist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Awards, Beneficial to career, salary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emails are proof you do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do 1 paragraph a day </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do 1 paragraph a day, read this PPT, make an outline, answer questions </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Overview <ul><li>Selecting a topic – you already know it </li></ul><ul><li>First things first – who? </li></ul><ul><li>Type of paper – what is it for </li></ul><ul><li>Basic how-to’s </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Take it from here </li></ul>
  4. 4. Selecting a topic <ul><li>One of the hardest tasks is choosing a topic. This could be the easiest task: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What technical project are you working on now? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What topic did you write emails to more than one colleague about in the last week back and forth? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What project do you have to present status on to your supervisor? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the longest / most interesting / most rewarded project you worked on in the last 2 months? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Choose one of the above. You now have your topic. </li></ul>
  5. 5. First things first <ul><li>Create outline </li></ul><ul><ul><li>See the outline examples coming up </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Identify audience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why find your audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are you writing for a practicing engineer? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>For a peer scientist to verify your methods, results? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>To share an application for other readers to benefit from? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Primary audiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gatekeepers, instructor, faculty, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secondary audiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Peers, colleagues, coworkers, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shadow audiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Others who may read communication - Internet! </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Type of papers <ul><li>A research paper is the culmination and final product of an involved process of research, critical thinking, source evaluation, organization, and composition </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical or argumentative research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Goal: argumentative research paper is persuasion, which means the topic chosen should be debatable or controversial </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Goal: analytical asks a question on which author has taken no stance. Paper is often an exercise in exploration and evaluation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Practical applications paper </li></ul><ul><li>Cutting-edge technical paper </li></ul><ul><li>Experimental, comparative, design, or theoretical paper </li></ul>
  7. 7. Basic how-to’s <ul><li>Abstract </li></ul><ul><li>Full paper </li></ul><ul><li>Extended abstract </li></ul>
  8. 8. Abstract how-to’s <ul><li>Begin – Abstract Purpose </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduce readers to the article’s content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help readers decide whether or not to read paper </li></ul></ul><ul><li>One or more paragraphs that are coherent, concise, and self contained (often 100-150 words) </li></ul><ul><li>Uses an introduction-body-conclusion structure in which the parts of the report are discussed in order: purpose, research questions, methods, findings, conclusions, recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>How? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Write 1-2 introduction sentences that explain topic, purpose, and research question(s). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write 1-2 sentences describing your research methods (this may also include the type of data analysis you used). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write 1-2 sentences describing the results / findings. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write 1-2 sentences containing your conclusions and recommendations. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Full Paper how-to’s <ul><li>Section 1: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduce, explain topic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Section 2: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss history, background; set the context </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Section 3: (may have multiple instances of this section – e.g. multiple subtopics) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss research methods or subtopic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Section 4: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss research findings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Section 5: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Works Cited/References </li></ul><ul><li>Appendix </li></ul><ul><li>Section 1 detail </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Purpose/goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is the point of the paper? Argumentative? Analytical? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Audience (optional) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Is the audience familiar with topic, terms? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For argumentative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is your thesis? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For analytical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What are your research questions? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What are your design methods? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research methods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How did you find your information? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Findings and conclusions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Forecast organization of document </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Extended Abstract how-to’s <ul><li>This is a cross between an abstract and a full paper. Essentially start with the abstract and incorporate a shell of the full paper. Work from your full paper outline and partially develop each section. </li></ul><ul><li>Each section in the extended abstract should contain roughly 1/4 to 1/3 the content of its counterpart in the full paper. </li></ul><ul><li>The purpose of the extended abstract is to help you develop the full paper. It also enables reviewers and/or track chairs to gauge the direction of your paper and provide assistance if needed, rather than completing a full paper and discovering it is not publishable. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Example of a Scientific Abstract <ul><li>Usability and User-Centered Theory for 21 st Century OWLs </li></ul><ul><li>By Dana Lynn Driscoll, H. Allen Brizee, Michael Salvo, and Morgan Sousa from The Handbook of Research on Virtual Workplaces and the New Nature of Business Practices . Eds. Kirk St. Amant and Pavel Zemlansky. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing, 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>This article describes results of usability research conducted on the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). The Purdue OWL is an information-rich educational website that provides free writing resources to users worldwide. Researchers conducted two generations of usability tests. In the first test, participants were asked to navigate the OWL and answer questions. Results of the first test and user-centered scholarship indicated that a more user-centered focus would improve usability. The second test asked participants to answer writing-related questions using both the OWL website and a user-centered OWL prototype. Participants took significantly less time to find information using the prototype and reported a more positive response to the user-centered prototype than the original OWL. Researchers conclude that a user-centered website is more effective and can be a model for information-rich online resources. Researchers also conclude that usability research can be a productive source of ideas, underscoring the need for participatory invention. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Examples <ul><li>Software architecture </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Aerospace </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Space </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Take it from here <ul><li>Further help </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>References </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. ASC Technical Paper Vision Increase the visibility of our best African American engineers via peer reviewed paper presentations, published conference proceedings, and paper awards Alter the worldview of African American aerospace industry professionals via the unprecedented gathering of diverse technical talent
  15. 15. National Society of Black Engineers Aerospace Systems Conference “The sky is not the limit…it’s where we begin” February 1-4, 2012 Los Angeles, CA