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Research paper

Research paper

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Published by Neer Varshney
How to write a research paper
How to write a research paper

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Published by: Neer Varshney on Nov 24, 2013
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How to write a great research paper

Simon Peyton Jones Microsoft Research, Cambridge

Why bother?
Fallacy we write papers and gi#e tal s mainly to impress others, gain recognition, and get promoted

Good papers and tal s are a f!ndamental part of research e"cellence

Papers comm!nicate ideas

$o!r goal% to infect the mind of yo!r reader with your idea , li e a #ir!s Papers are far more d!rable than programs &thin Mo'art(

)he greatest ideas are &literally( worthless if yo! eep them to yo!rself

Writing papers% model *
Idea Do research W rite paper

orces !s to be clear.pens the way to dialog!e with others% reality chec . foc!sed Crystallises what we don-t !nderstand . and collaboration .Writing papers% model + Idea Do research W rite paper Idea    W rite paper Do research . criti/!e.

0o not be intimidated Fallacy $o! need to ha#e a fantastic idea before yo! can write a paper or gi#e a tal 1 &2#eryone else seems to1( Write a paper. no matter how weedy and insignificant it may seem to yo! . and gi#e a tal . abo!t any idea.

0o not be intimidated Write a paper. no matter how insignificant it may seem to yo!   Writing the paper is how you develop the idea in the first place 3t !s!ally t!rns o!t to be more interesting and challenging that it seemed at first . and gi#e a tal . abo!t any idea.

)he p!rpose of yo!r paper .

)he p!rpose of yo!r paper is111 )o con#ey yo!r idea 111from yo!r head to yo!r reader-s head 2#erything ser#es this single goal .

)he p!rpose of yo!r paper is not111 )o describe the Wi'Wo' system  $o!r reader does not ha#e a Wi'Wo'  She is primarily interested in re4!sable brain4st!ff. not e"ec!table artefacts .

Con#eying the idea       3 wish 3 new how to sol#e that5 Here is a problem 3t-s an interesting problem 3 see how 3t-s an !nsol#ed problem that wor s1 3ngenio!s5 Here is my idea My idea wor s &details. data( Here-s how my idea compares to other people-s approaches .

Str!ct!re        6bstract &7 sentences( 3ntrod!ction &* page( )he problem &* page( My idea &+ pages( )he details &8 pages( Related wor &*4+ pages( Concl!sions and f!rther wor &918 pages( .

)he abstract    *1 +1 ?1 71 3 !s!ally write the abstract last :sed by program committee members to decide which papers to read .o!r sentences .<ent =ec > State the problem Say why it-s an interesting problem Say what yo!r sol!tion achie#es Say what follows from yo!r sol!tion .

beca!se their good ideas may go !nappreciated . and the feedbac yo! get from others will in t!rn impro#e yo!r research .ollowing simple g!idelines can dramatically impro#e the /!ality of yo!r papers $o!r wor will be !sed more.2"ample *1 +1 ?1 71 Many papers are badly written and hard to !nderstand )his is a pity.

Str!ct!re        6bstract &7 sentences( Introduction &* page( )he problem &* page( My idea &+ pages( )he details &8 pages( Related wor &*4+ pages( Concl!sions and f!rther wor &918 pages( .

State your contributions 111and that is all 1. .)he introd!ction &* page( Describe the problem 2.

0escribe the problem :se an e"ample to introd!ce the problem .

State yo!r contrib!tions    Write the list of contrib!tions first )he list of contrib!tions dri#es the entire paper% the paper s!bstantiates the claims yo! ha#e made Reader thin s @gosh. if they can really deli#er this. that-s be e"citingA 3-d better read onB .

State yo!r contrib!tions =!lleted list of contrib!tions 0o not lea#e the reader to g!ess what yo!r contrib!tions are5 .

Contrib!tions sho!ld be ref!table We describe the Wi'Wo' system1 3t is really cool1 We gi#e the synta" and semantics of a lang!age that s!pports conc!rrent processes &Section ?(1 3ts inno#ati#e feat!res are111 We pro#e that the type system is so!nd. and !sed it to implement a te"t editor &Section 8(1 )he res!lt is half the length of the Ja#a #ersion1 We st!dy its properties We ha#e !sed Wi'Wo' in practice . and that type chec ing is decidable &Section 7( We ha#e b!ilt a G:3 tool it in Wi'Wo'.

inally. use forward references from the narrative in the introduction 1 )he introd!ction &incl!ding the contrib!tions( sho!ld s!r#ey the whole paper. and therefore forward reference e#ery important part1 .Co @rest of this paper is111B  Cot% @)he rest of this paper is str!ct!red as follows1 Section + introd!ces the problem1 Section ? 111 . Section D concl!desB1  3nstead.

Str!ct!re        6bstract &7 sentences( 3ntrod!ction &* page( )he problem &* page( My idea &+ pages( )he details &8 pages( Related wor &*4+ pages( Concl!sions and f!rther wor &918 pages( .

?>1 .!r wor differs from White in o!r ad#anced re#ocation protocol.+>.*>. which deals with the case of priority in#ersion as described by $ellow . as modified for distrib!ted systems by White . !sing the fo!r4phase interpolation algorithm of Green .7>1 .Co related wor yet5 Related wor $o!r reader $o!r idea We adopt the notion of transaction from =rown .

Co related wor yet  Problem *% describing alternati#e approaches gets between the reader and yo!r idea Problem +% the reader nows nothing abo!t the problem yetA so yo!r &caref!lly trimmed( description of #ario!s technical tradeoffs is absol!tely incomprehensible 3 feel tired  3 feel st!pid .

b!t defer disc!ssion to the end . and filling o!t the details . and why it is interesting 0escribes yo!r idea 0efends yo!r idea. cite rele#ant wor in passing. showing how it sol#es the problem.n the way.3nstead111 Concentrate single4mindedly on a narrati#e that    0escribes the problem.

s!ch that pE F pi1  So!nds impressi#e111b!t  Sends readers to sleep  3n a paper yo! M:S) pro#ide the details.)he payload of yo!r paper Consider a b!firc!ated semi4lattice 0. b!t .3RS) con#ey the idea . o#er a hyper4mod!lated signat!re S1 S!ppose pi is an element of 01 )hen we now for e#ery s!ch pi there is an epi4mod!l!s E.

!sing !"#$% S and only then present the general case . and yo!r idea.)he payload of yo!r paper 3ntrod!ce the problem.

:sing e"amples )he Simon PJ /!estion% is there any typewriter font? 2"ample right away .

Con#eying the idea     2"plain it as if yo! were spea ing to someone !sing a whiteboard Con#eying the int!ition is primary. not secondary . she can follow the details &b!t not #ice #ersa( 2#en if she s ips the details.nce yo!r reader has the int!ition. she still ta es away something #al!able .

meas!rements. theorems. identify the e#idence.2#idence   $o!r introd!ction ma es claims )he body of the paper pro#ides evidence to support each claim Chec each claim in the introd!ction. and forward4reference it from the claim 2#idence can be% analysis and comparison. case st!dies   .

Str!ct!re        6bstract &7 sentences( 3ntrod!ction &* page( )he problem &* page( My idea &+ pages( )he details &8 pages( &elated wor' &*4+ pages( Concl!sions and f!rther wor &918 pages( .

allacy )o ma e my wor loo good. 3 ha#e to ma e other people-s wor loo bad .Related wor .

oogle shows1111 We de#elop his fo!ndation in the following ways111B  6c nowledge wea nesses in yo!r approach .ooGD> ..)he tr!th% credit is not li e money Gi#ing credit to others does not diminish the credit yo! get from yo!r paper  Warmly ac nowledge people who ha#e helped yo!  =e genero!s to the competition1 @3n his inspiring paper .

b!t are pretending it-s yo!rs &#ery bad( .Credit is not li e money . and the referee nows it is not. then either  $o! don-t now that it-s an old idea &bad(  $o! do now.ailing to gi#e credit to others can ill yo!r paper 3f yo! imply that an idea is yo!rs.

ften they will respond with helpf!l criti/!e )hey are li ely to be yo!r referees anyway.Ma ing s!re related wor is acc!rate  6 good plan% when yo! thin yo! are done. so getting their comments !p front is Eolly good1   . send the draft to the competition saying @co!ld yo! help me ens!re that 3 describe yo!r wor fairly?B1 .

)he process  Start early1 Hery early1   Hastily4written papers get reEected1 Papers are li e wine% they need time to mat!re   Collaborate :se CHS to s!pport collaboration .

Getting help Get yo!r paper read by as many friendly g!inea pigs as possible     2"perts are good Con4e"perts are also #ery good 2ach reader can only read yo!r paper for the first time once5 So !se them caref!lly 2"plain caref!lly what yo! want &@3 got lost hereB is m!ch more important than @wibble is mis4speltB1( .

Iistening to yo!r re#iewers 2#ery re#iew is gold d!st =e &tr!ly( gratef!l for criticism as well as praise )his is really. really. really. really important . really hard =!t it-s really. really. really. really.

) respond @yo! st!pid person.i" the paper so that J is apparent e#en to the st!pidest reader1 )han them warmly1 )hey ha#e gi#en !p their time for yo!1 . C. 3 meant JB1 .Iistening to yo!r re#iewers    Read e#ery criticism as a positi#e s!ggestion for something yo! co!ld e"plain more clearly 0.

Iang!age and style .

s!pply s!pporting e#idence &e1g1 e"perimental data.n occasion.=asic st!ff   S!bmit by the deadline <eep to the length restrictions    0o not narrow the margins 0o not use (pt font . or a written4o!t proof( in an appendi"  6lways !se a spell chec er .

ind o!t how to draw pict!res. and !se them .His!al str!ct!re  Gi#e strong #is!al str!ct!re to yo!r paper !sing     sections and s!b4sections b!llets italics laid4o!t code  .

His!al str!ct!re .

:se the acti#e #oice )he passi#e #oice is @respectableB b!t it 02602CS yo!r paper1 6#oid it at all costs1 @WeB K yo! and the reader *+ 3t can be seen that111 ?7 tests were r!n )hese properties were tho!ght desirable 3t might be tho!ght that this wo!ld be a type error @$o!B K the reader ) S We can see that111 We ran ?7 tests We wanted to retain these properties $o! might thin this wo!ld be a type error @WeB K the a!thors .

n an ann!al basis ) S )he ball mo#ed sideways $early 2ndea#o!r to ascertain . direct lang!age *+ )he obEect !nder st!dy was displaced hori'ontally .:se simple.ind o!t 3t co!ld be considered that the speed of storage reclamation left something to be desired )he garbage collector was really slow .

S!mmary 3f yo! remember nothing else%  3dentify yo!r ey idea  Ma e yo!r contrib!tions e"plicit  :se e"amples 6 good starting point% @6d#ice on Research and WritingB http%LLwww4+1cs1cm!1ed!LafsLcs1cm!1ed!L!serL mleoneLwebLhow4to1html .

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