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Technical Writing Skills for Research Paper


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Technical Writing Skills for Research Paper

  1. 2. Outline for Presentation <ul><li>I. Skeleton </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Initial Steps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paper Structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>References </li></ul></ul><ul><li>II. Clarity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Define </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Specify </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stylistic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Colloquial/Academic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No Emotions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Show what you want to say do not just state </li></ul></ul><ul><li>III. Technical Issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not confuse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Punctuation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Miscellaneous </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul>
  2. 3. Initial Steps <ul><li>Research: Read up on the topic you will write about! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search online newspapers, if the topic is current </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secondary sources  Primary sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search and check for data availability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check library databases AUA, CRRC, others </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Outline of the paper </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Have one central question, then ask other key questions, FOCUS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decide the titles of each of your sections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Decide approximately how many pages each section will be </li></ul></ul></ul>Skeleton
  3. 4. Paper Structure <ul><li>1) Abstract </li></ul><ul><li>2) Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>3) Abbreviations’ section </li></ul><ul><li>4) Key terms </li></ul><ul><li>5) Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>6) Body -3 parts, 3 subparts (3,3,3,3,3,3…!) </li></ul><ul><li>(1 paragraph should not be less than 3 sentences) </li></ul><ul><li>7)Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>8)Policy Implications /Recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>9)References </li></ul>Skeleton
  4. 5. <ul><li>OUTLINE </li></ul><ul><li>OSCE’s Assessment of Elections and Its Significance: The Cases of Armenia and Ukraine  </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Provide some background </li></ul><ul><li>List what questions you are trying to answer (what is your main question?) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What presents a basis for OSCE criticism? Is the basis valid? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Describe the structure of the essay and its logic </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>I. OSCE and Its Election Work </li></ul><ul><li>Introductory paragraph </li></ul><ul><li>a. Objectives </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>OSCE/ODHIR history </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>OSCE’s overall objectives </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ODHIR’s objective </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>b. ODIHR’s Election Observation and Assessment </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>OSCE election observation history </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>OSCE election observation procedures </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Various criticisms of OSCE election observations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>c. OSCE’s Achievements </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Legislative achievement </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Possibly helps opposition parties (controversial) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How to test this? Introduction to next section </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Concluding paragraph </li></ul><ul><li>II. Comparison between OSCE’s assessment of Armenian and Ukrainian elections </li></ul><ul><li>Introductory paragraph </li></ul><ul><li>a. Technical Aspects </li></ul><ul><li>b. Pre-Election Assessments </li></ul><ul><li>c. Points missed by the OSCE </li></ul><ul><li>Concluding paragraph </li></ul><ul><li>  III. Criticism of OSCE’s Goals and Implementations </li></ul><ul><li>Introductory paragraph </li></ul><ul><li>a. Sovereignty </li></ul><ul><li>b. Inaccuracy </li></ul><ul><li>c. Partisanship </li></ul><ul><li>Concluding paragraph </li></ul><ul><li>  Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>Skeleton
  5. 6. “ References”, “Works Cited”, “Bibliography” <ul><li>Start your references’ section before you even start writing your essay. </li></ul><ul><li>If you read information that is relevant to your paper, write down the citation of the source. </li></ul><ul><li>Where did you get the information from? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it a reliable source? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you used citing?- Both respectful to the author of the information source and the reader of your article </li></ul><ul><li>Even if you read something but do not directly use it in your paper, you still need to have a citation. </li></ul>Skeleton
  6. 7. Styles of Citation <ul><li>Choose a method in which you will cite-Turabian, MLA, Chicago Style, APA, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>MLA Style : Parenthetical Documentation & Works Cited </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex.: Medieval Europe was a place both of “raids, pillages, slavery and extortion and of “traveling merchants, monetary exchange, towns if not cities and active markets in grain” (Townsend 10). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex.: In the winter snowy owl feeds primarily on small rodents (“Snowy Owl,” Hinterland ), but in spring it also feeds on the eggs of much larger waterfowl, such as geese and swans (“Snowy Owl,” Arctic ). </li></ul></ul>Skeleton
  7. 8. Works Cited <ul><li>“ Snowy Owl.” Arctic Studies Center . 2002. Natl. Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Inst. 8 Aug. 2002 <>. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Snowy Owl.” Hinterland Who’s Who . 15 May 2002. Canadian Wildlife Service. 8 Aug. 2002 <>. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Townsend, Robert M. The Medieval Village Economy . Princeton: Princeton UP, 1993. </li></ul></ul></ul>Skeleton
  8. 9. Define! <ul><li>Section- Term Definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Define terms that are key to your paper/that you use often throughout the paper </li></ul><ul><li>Define, define, define! </li></ul><ul><li>Always assume that the reader is completely unfamiliar with the topic you are writing about. Thus, you always need to provide full information and you always need to define terms/words that are not used on a daily basis. </li></ul>Clarity
  9. 10. Specify! <ul><li>Do NOT assume that your readers are extremely smart, and that they have the exact information or general knowledge as you </li></ul><ul><li>You should not write so that the reader assumes, guesses what you want to mean. You want to make sure that the reader understands what you write exactly as you mean it </li></ul><ul><li>When you present your paper, the discussion should not be about understanding your paper but rather about the disagreements or agreements that the readers have with your arguments </li></ul>Clarity
  10. 11. Expressing Yourself Better <ul><li>Minimize use of “-ing” </li></ul><ul><li>Use active and not passive voice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do NOT abbreviate- don’t, weren’t, isn’t ….. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>USE VERBS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimize use of is, are, was, were </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid using THEY, IT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid speaking in the first term, “we” or “I” </li></ul></ul>Clarity
  11. 12. Colloquial/Academic <ul><li>DO NOT write as if you are speaking! </li></ul><ul><li>When we speak, we use many extra words to gain time, to collect our thoughts. </li></ul><ul><li>When you write, you need to get rid of extra words, so that you do not waste the reader’s time with fluff. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Let’s, of course, it’s worth mentioning, in any case, anyway, obviously, somehow, somewhat” –not to be used </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid using bullet points in your paper. Short ones are OK, long ones NOT OK. </li></ul>Clarity
  12. 13. EMOTIONS? NONE! <ul><li>This is not a place to express your anger </li></ul><ul><li>This is not a place to express your passion </li></ul><ul><li>This is not a place to make people feel bad for you </li></ul><ul><li>This is not a place to show how compassionate you are </li></ul>Clarity
  13. 14. SHOW What You Want to Say, DO NOT Just State <ul><li>“ The fact is that” </li></ul><ul><li>“ It is a fact that” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Proves the above mentioned fact” </li></ul><ul><li>Leave it up to the reader to decide whether what you have noted is a fact or not </li></ul><ul><li>Just because you say something is a fact, the reader is not going to believe so </li></ul>Clarity
  14. 15. DO NOT CONFUSE <ul><li>THEN with THAN </li></ul><ul><li>IT’S=it is and ITS </li></ul><ul><li>EFFECT and AFFECT </li></ul><ul><li>Region does not mean ռեգիոն </li></ul><ul><li>“ Caucasian” in English refers to white people, not people from the Caucasus </li></ul>Technical Issues
  15. 16. PUNCTUATION <ul><ul><ul><li>Comma before “which” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ex. “The movie, which we saw, was very interesting. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>In general, finally, furthermore, moreover, In Armenia, in the future-all followed by commas when in the beginning of a sentence </li></ul><ul><li>Reading out loud helps </li></ul>Technical Issues
  16. 17. Miscellaneous <ul><li>DO NOT forget page number </li></ul><ul><li>If you are going to abbreviate use the full phrase with the abbreviation in parenthesis the first time. </li></ul><ul><li>Ex.: The OSCE (Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe) has faced criticism in the past few years, especially in regards to its election work in its member states. </li></ul>
  17. 18. “ The” <ul><ul><li>The is used for a specific or a particular noun. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The” definite article </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The is both for singular and plural nouns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be used with both count and non-count nouns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes used before geographical nouns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ South Caucasus” is always proceeded by “the” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must use “the” before </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The last, the first, the most, the least, the best </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More on “The” </li></ul></ul></ul>Technical Issues
  18. 19. Conclusion <ul><li>Choose a focused topic. </li></ul><ul><li>Start with references. </li></ul><ul><li>Build an outline of the paper. </li></ul><ul><li>Pay attention to your writing style. </li></ul><ul><li>Pay attention to your grammar. </li></ul><ul><li>Finally, have others read your paper before you send it off for publication. Proofread your paper! </li></ul>