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Introduction to Scientific Writing

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Scientific Data Management Group. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ... P. Wenderoth, How to Write a Scientific Research Paper ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Scientific Writing


1
Introduction to Scientific Writing
  • Dr. Kurt Stockinger
  • Scientific Data Management Group
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

2
Outline
  • How to write a thesis?
  • How to write a scientific paper?
  • Writing hints
  • Life as a (computer) scientist

3
Main Points of a Thesis
  • Should contain original contribution
  • Use scientific methods
  • Start with hypothesis collect evidence to
    support/deny it
  • Exploratory, e.g. case study
  • Critical thinking
  • Analysis and concepts are most important
  • Lessons learned
  • Every statement must be supported either by a
    reference to published literature or by original
    work

4
Main Structure of a Thesis
  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Definitions/Methods
  • Conceptual Model (not necessarily)
  • Experimental Measurements/Results
  • Discussion
  • References

5
Thesis Sections 1
  • Title
  • As short as possible
  • Should give a clear indication of the papers
    content
  • Abstract
  • Some 100-200 words
  • Describe purpose, techniques, results and
    implications.
  • No details of methods
  • Introduction
  • Place the study in the context of previous
    research
  • Motivate the main idea of the paper

6
Thesis Sections 2
  • Methods
  • Should be presented as simple as possible
  • Make figure legends self contained
  • Discussion
  • Begin by summarizing the main findings
  • Interpret the findings in relation to the
    introduction
  • Finally draw conclusions
  • References
  • Use the style of referencing that the journal
    requires
  • Ensure all cited items are listed and no listed
    references are un-cited in the text

7
Why do we Write Papers?
  • Communicate an idea to people (to carry the idea
    further make other good use of it)
  • What is the idea?
  • New way of looking at objects (model)
  • New way of manipulating objects (technique)
  • New facts concerning objects (results)
  • What is the relevant community?

8
I Have a Great Idea Lets
Write a Paper
  • Are the ideas in the paper new?
  • Are you familiar with the state-of-the-art?
  • Can you state the new idea concisely?
  • What exactly is the problem being solved?
  • Are the ideas significant enough to justify a
    paper?
  • Is the work significantly different from existing
    related work?
  • Is all important related work properly
    referenced?
  • Are comparisons with previous work clear and
    explicit?
  • What is the oldest paper you referenced? What is
    the newest?

9
Writing Hints 1
  • Write coherent paragraphs (one idea per
    paragraph).
  • Write with an economy of words and keep sentences
    short
  • replace based upon the fact that and for the
    purpose of with because and to
  • He advanced an argument for the proposition
    that vs. He argued that
  • Use active voice.
  • Empress Elizabeth was shot by an Italian
    anarchist in 1898.
  • An Italian anarchist shot Empress Elizabeth in
    1898.
  • Do not overuse adjectives.

10
Writing Hints 2
  • Write a draft and leave a day or two before
    rereading to polish.
  • When ready to send the paper, dont. Wait a day
    and read it once more. You will almost certainly
    find errors you had missed.
  • Read aloud what you have written.

11
Life as a (Computer) Scientist
  • Reading literature
  • Making models
  • Interacting with application scientists
    (physicists, chemists, biologists)
  • Programming
  • Discussing ideas with colleagues
  • Writing papers
  • Going to conferences getting new ideas
  • Reviewing other papers for conferences and
    journals
  • Giving presentations, tutorials, lectures,
  • Writing funding proposals

12
Bibliography
  • O. Goldreich, How to Write a Paper
  • R. Levin, D. Redel, How (and How Not) to Write a
    Good Systems Paper
  • P. Wenderoth, How to Write a Scientific Research
    Paper
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