Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
HOW TO WRITE A GOOD
RESEARCH PAPER
DR SORAB SADRI
Professor of Political Economy and Management Sciences
Director School o...
Why
bother?
 Fallacy
we write papers and
give talks mainly to
impress others, gain
recognition, and get
promoted
 Your goal: to infect the mind of your
reader with your idea, like a virus
 Papers are far more durable than
programs (t...
 Papers communicate ideas. In academics you
either publish or you perish. No matter how
senior you are administratively i...
Use Any Of The Two Approaches
That Suit You
*Writing papers: model 1
Idea - Do research - Write paper
*Writing papers: mod...
PUTTING PENTO PAPER
OR FINGERTO KEYBOARD
 Forces us to be clear, focused
 Crystallizes what we don’t understand
 Opens ...
Do not be intimidated
 Fallacy You need to have a fantastic idea
before you can write a paper or give a talk.
(Everyone e...
 Writing the paper is how you develop the
idea in the first place
 It usually turns out to be more interesting and
chall...
The purpose of your paper is
 To convey your idea
 ...from your head to your reader’s head
Everything serves this single...
The purpose of your paper is
not...
 To describe theWizWoz system
 Your reader does not have aWizWoz
 She is primarily ...
IMPORTANT POINT
 An abstruse argument and abstract logic
are needlessly used by pseudo academics
to give the impression o...
GOOD COMMUNICATION
 While some amount of abstraction is
unavoidable in subjects like mathematics
(which is the highest fo...
WOFFLE
 Many speakers and writers communicate
from a position of absolute authority but in
fact they are operating from a...
Conveying the idea
 Here is a problem
 It’s an interesting problem
 It’s an unsolved problem
 Here is my idea
 My ide...
Structure
 Abstract ( 4-6 sentences)
 Introduction (1 page)
 The problem (1 page)
 My idea (2 pages)
 The details (5 ...
The abstract
 I usually write the abstract last
 Used by program committee members to decide
which papers to read
 Four...
Example
1. Many papers are badly written and
hard to understand
2.This is a pity, because their good ideas
may go unapprec...
The introduction (1 page)
1. Describe the problem
2. State your contributions
...and that is all
Describe the problem
State your contributions
 Write the list of contributions first
 The list of contributions drives the
entire paper: the ...
State your contributions
Contributions should be refutable
We describe the WizWoz
system. It is really cool.
We give the syntax and
semantics of
a ...
Do Not Say “rest of this
paper is...”
The rest of this paper is structured as follows.
Section 2 introduces the problem.
S...
No related work yet
 Problem 1: describing alternative approaches
gets between the reader and your idea.
 Problem 2: the...
Instead...
Concentrate single-mindedly on a narrative that
 Describes the problem, and why it is interesting
 Describes ...
The payload of your paper
 Consider a bufircuated semi-lattice D, over a
hypermodulated signature S. Suppose pi is an
ele...
The payload of your paper
Introduce the problem, and
your idea, using
EXAMPLES
and only then present the
general case
Using examples
Conveying the idea
 Explain it as if you were speaking to someone
using a whiteboard
 Conveying the intuition is primary...
Evidence
 Your introduction makes claims
 The body of the paper provides evidence to
support each claim
 Check each cla...
Related work
 Fallacy : To make my work look good, I have to
make other people’s work look bad.
 This is wrong and must ...
The truth: credit is not
like money
Giving credit to others does not
diminish the credit you get from
your paper
 Warmly ...
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 ...
Making sure related work is
accurate
 A good plan: when you think you are done, send
the draft to the competition saying ...
The process
 Start early.Very early.
 Hastily-written papers get rejected.
 Papers are like wine: they need time to mat...
What is CVS?
 The ConcurrentVersions System (CVS), also known as
the ConcurrentVersioning System, is a client-
server fre...
Getting help
Get your paper read by as many
friendly guinea pigs as possible
 Experts are good
 Non-experts are also ver...
Listening to your reviewers
Every review is gold dust
Be (truly) grateful for criticism
as well as praise
This is really, ...
Listening to your reviewers
 Read every criticism as a positive suggestion
for something you could explain more clearly
...
Basic stuff
 Submit by the deadline
 Keep to the length restrictions
 Do not narrow the margins
 Do not use 6pt font
...
Visual structure
 Give strong visual structure to your paper
using
 sections and sub-sections
 bullets
 italics
 laid...
Visual structure
Use the active voice
 The passive voice is “respectable” but it DEADENS your
paper. Avoid it at all costs.
No Yes
It can ...
Use simple, direct language
No Yes
The object under study
was displaced
horizontally
The ball moved sideways
On an annual ...
Summary
 If you remember nothing else:
 Identify your key idea
 Make your contributions explicit
 Use examples
DO NOT ...
REMEMBER NOT TO COMMIT
 The fallacy of composition [what is true of a
part cannot necessarily be true of the whole
as the...
Try Never To Forget
 Correlation does not mean Causation
 Post hoc sed non proctor hoc [an occurrence
after the event do...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

How to write a research paper

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

How to write a research paper

  1. 1. HOW TO WRITE A GOOD RESEARCH PAPER DR SORAB SADRI Professor of Political Economy and Management Sciences Director School of Humanities and Dean Faculty of Commerce and Management JECRC University, Jaipur
  2. 2. Why bother?  Fallacy we write papers and give talks mainly to impress others, gain recognition, and get promoted
  3. 3.  Your goal: to infect the mind of your reader with your idea, like a virus  Papers are far more durable than programs (think Mozart) The greatest ideas are (literally) worthless if you keep them to yourself
  4. 4.  Papers communicate ideas. In academics you either publish or you perish. No matter how senior you are administratively if you do not publish you are not taken seriously by the fraternity.  Do not for a moment believe that getting Patents to your name, (often on the basis of work done by those under you), is a replacement for published work.
  5. 5. Use Any Of The Two Approaches That Suit You *Writing papers: model 1 Idea - Do research - Write paper *Writing papers: model 2 Idea - Write paper - Do research
  6. 6. PUTTING PENTO PAPER OR FINGERTO KEYBOARD  Forces us to be clear, focused  Crystallizes what we don’t understand  Opens the way to dialogue with others: reality check, critique, and collaboration
  7. 7. Do not be intimidated  Fallacy You need to have a fantastic idea before you can write a paper or give a talk. (Everyone else seems to.) Write a paper, and give a talk, about any idea, no matter how weedy and insignificant it may seem to you
  8. 8.  Writing the paper is how you develop the idea in the first place  It usually turns out to be more interesting and challenging that it seemed at first.  If your thought process changes midway do not fret. It is quite common.
  9. 9. The purpose of your paper is  To convey your idea  ...from your head to your reader’s head Everything serves this single goal
  10. 10. The purpose of your paper is not...  To describe theWizWoz system  Your reader does not have aWizWoz  She is primarily interested in re-usable brain- stuff, not executable artifacts
  11. 11. IMPORTANT POINT  An abstruse argument and abstract logic are needlessly used by pseudo academics to give the impression of profundity.This is sad and must be avoided at all cost. Abstraction does not automatically imply that the thought is profound. It is more often quite the reverse.
  12. 12. GOOD COMMUNICATION  While some amount of abstraction is unavoidable in subjects like mathematics (which is the highest form of philosophy) and even in literature the motto should be to KISS [keep it simple, stupid].  Being simple does not mean being simplistic and that is a hard lesson to imbibe.
  13. 13. WOFFLE  Many speakers and writers communicate from a position of absolute authority but in fact they are operating from a level of relative ignorance.To hide this fact they woffle and take on an air of (false) superiority. Sooner or later their game is up. Please watch out for this in your work!
  14. 14. Conveying the idea  Here is a problem  It’s an interesting problem  It’s an unsolved problem  Here is my idea  My idea works (details, data)  Here’s how my idea compares to other people’s approaches
  15. 15. Structure  Abstract ( 4-6 sentences)  Introduction (1 page)  The problem (1 page)  My idea (2 pages)  The details (5 pages)  Related work (1-2 pages)  Conclusions and further work (0.5 pages)
  16. 16. The abstract  I usually write the abstract last  Used by program committee members to decide which papers to read  Four sentences  1. State the problem  2. Say why it’s an interesting problem  3. Say what your solution achieves  4. Say what follows from your solution
  17. 17. Example 1. Many papers are badly written and hard to understand 2.This is a pity, because their good ideas may go unappreciated 3. Following simple guidelines can dramatically improve the quality of your papers 4.Your work will be used more, and the feedback you get from others will in turn improve your research 5. Publishing costs money so a shorter paper that is compact is more likely to be accepted for publication.
  18. 18. The introduction (1 page) 1. Describe the problem 2. State your contributions ...and that is all
  19. 19. Describe the problem
  20. 20. State your contributions  Write the list of contributions first  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”
  21. 21. State your contributions
  22. 22. Contributions should be refutable We describe the WizWoz system. It is really cool. We give the syntax and semantics of a language that supports concurrent processes (Section 3). Its innovative features are... We study its properties We prove that the type system is sound, and that type checking is decidable (Section 4) We have used WizWoz in practice We have built a GUI toolkit in WizWoz, and used it to implement a text editor (Section 5). The result is half the length of the Java version.
  23. 23. Do Not Say “rest of this paper is...” The rest of this paper is structured as follows. Section 2 introduces the problem. Section 3 ... Finally, Section 8 concludes”  This is archaic and no longer accepted by journals 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.  This is the more preferred style.
  24. 24. No related work yet  Problem 1: describing alternative approaches gets between the reader and your idea.  Problem 2: the reader knows nothing about the problem yet; so your (carefully trimmed) description of various technical tradeoffs is absolutely incomprehensible
  25. 25. Instead... Concentrate single-mindedly on a narrative that  Describes the problem, and why it is interesting  Describes your idea  Defends your idea, showing how it solves the problem, and filling out the details On the way, cite relevant work in passing, but defer discussion to the end
  26. 26. The payload of your paper  Consider a bufircuated semi-lattice D, over a hypermodulated signature S. Suppose pi is an element of D.Then we know for every such pi there is an epi-modulus j, such that pj < pi.  Sounds impressive...but  Sends readers to sleep  In a paper you MUST provide the details, but FIRST convey the idea.The reader must fairly know what he is to expectg later on.
  27. 27. The payload of your paper Introduce the problem, and your idea, using EXAMPLES and only then present the general case
  28. 28. Using examples
  29. 29. Conveying 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, she can follow the details (but not vice versa)  Even if she skips the details, she still takes away something valuable
  30. 30. Evidence  Your introduction makes claims  The body of the paper provides evidence to support each claim  Check each claim in the introduction, identify the evidence, and forward reference it from the claim  Evidence can be: analysis and comparison, theorems, measurements, case studies
  31. 31. Related work  Fallacy : To make my work look good, I have to make other people’s work look bad.  This is wrong and must never be resorted to.  Instead, giving respect begets respect – it is reciprocal.  Praising or complementing others does not make your work inferior !
  32. 32. The truth: credit is not like money Giving credit to others does not diminish the credit you get from your paper  Warmly acknowledge people who have helped you  Be generous to the competition. “In his inspiring paper [Foo98] or Foogle shows....We develop his foundation in the following ways...”  Acknowledge weaknesses in your approach
  33. 33. 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)
  34. 34. Making sure related work is accurate  A good plan: when you think you are done, send the draft to the competition saying “could you help me ensure that I describe your work fairly?”.  Often they will respond with helpful critique  They are likely to be your referees anyway, so getting their comments up front is jolly good.
  35. 35. The process  Start early.Very early.  Hastily-written papers get rejected.  Papers are like wine: they need time to mature  Collaborate  Use CVS to support collaboration
  36. 36. What is CVS?  The ConcurrentVersions System (CVS), also known as the ConcurrentVersioning System, is a client- server free software revision control system in the field of software development. A version control system keeps track of all work and all changes in a set of files, and allows several developers (potentially widely separated in space and time) to collaborate.
  37. 37. Getting help Get your paper read by as many friendly guinea pigs as possible  Experts are good  Non-experts are also very good  Each reader can only read your paper for the first time once! So use them carefully  Explain carefully what you want (“I got lost here” is much more important than “wibble is mis- spelt”.)
  38. 38. Listening to your reviewers Every review is gold dust Be (truly) grateful for criticism as well as praise This is really, really, really hard But it’s really, really, really, really, really, really important
  39. 39. Listening to your reviewers  Read every criticism as a positive suggestion for something you could explain more clearly  DO NOT respond “you stupid person, I meant X”. Fix the paper so that X is apparent even to the stupidest reader.  Thank them warmly.They have given up their time for you.
  40. 40. Basic stuff  Submit by the deadline  Keep to the length restrictions  Do not narrow the margins  Do not use 6pt font  On occasion, supply supporting evidence (e.g. experimental data, or a written-out proof) in an appendix  Always use a spell checker
  41. 41. Visual structure  Give strong visual structure to your paper using  sections and sub-sections  bullets  italics  laid-out code  Find out how to draw pictures, and use them
  42. 42. Visual structure
  43. 43. Use the active voice  The passive voice is “respectable” but it DEADENS your paper. Avoid it at all costs. No Yes It can be seen that... 34 tests were run We can see that… We ran 34 tests These properties were thought desirable We wanted to retain these properties It might be thought that this would be a type error You might think this would be a type error
  44. 44. Use simple, direct language No Yes The object under study was displaced horizontally The ball moved sideways On an annual basis Yearly Endeavour to ascertain Find out It could be considered that the speed of storage reclamation left something to be desired The garbage collector was really slow
  45. 45. Summary  If you remember nothing else:  Identify your key idea  Make your contributions explicit  Use examples DO NOT SEEK “Advice on Research andWriting” JUST GET ONWITHTHE DAMNTHING
  46. 46. REMEMBER NOT TO COMMIT  The fallacy of composition [what is true of a part cannot necessarily be true of the whole as the latter has its own identity]  The fallacy of accident [what is true of the whole is not necessarily true of the part as the former is but a sub-set]
  47. 47. Try Never To Forget  Correlation does not mean Causation  Post hoc sed non proctor hoc [an occurrence after the event does not mean it was so because of the event].  Be clear about your message.

×