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Secrets to Success in CS Scholarship . … and some advice, thoughts, insights, and observations too. Advice/Thoughts (Fall’12). Write before, during, and after the actual experiments are performed. (Daniel) If you fail to communicate, you will probably fail to publish. (Matt)

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Secrets to Success in CS Scholarship

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Secrets to Successin CS Scholarship

… and some advice, thoughts, insights, and observations too


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’12)

  • Write before, during, and after the actual experiments are performed. (Daniel)

  • If you fail to communicate, you will probably fail to publish. (Matt)

  • Peer reviews are painful but pertinent. (Blake)

  • Focused reading lessens the research burden. (Blake)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’12)

  • Testability is the difference between a thought and a theory. (Daniel)

  • Your research pattern is your roadmap to success. (Matt)

  • A wise man follows research patterns, a foolish man ignores them. (Hiro)

  • Don’t pursue the perilous path of plagiarism. (Matt)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’12)

  • The right thing to do is to write before you’re certain that you’re writing everything right. (Matt)

  • Little mistakes erode trust in big results. (Blake)

  • Simple style breeds success. (Daniel)

  • Readers benefit from writers’ strugglings. (Hiro)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’12)

  • Think more, write less. (Daniel)

  • Wordiness is writing much while saying little. (Matt)

  • Punctuate for clarity—correctness will follow. (Daniel)

  • Lose the lard in long sentences. (Matt)

  • We have laid to rest the lie that “lie” and “lay” are the same. (Matt)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’12)

  • Good editing cuts deep but doesn’t leave scars. (Daniel)

  • P(text) + (1-P)(graphs) = good paper, where P is a proper balance factor. (Hiro)

  • Education cycle: teach to learn, learn to teach. (Hiro)

  • Careful curriculum choices can catalyze classroom comprehension. (Matt)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’12)

  • Computer science is the science of precisely encoding thought. (Blake)

  • Save the “thanks” and keep the conclusion. (Daniel)


Secret #1

  • Write a “good” abstract.

  • “Good” means “exactly” of the form:

    • What’s the problem?

    • Why’s the problem a problem? (Why does anyone care?)

    • What’s the solution? (A startling sentence.)

    • Why’s the solution a solution? (How did you determine you succeeded?)

  • See “Thesis Proposal” in the Grad Handbook

  • “Good” also means “containing the essential qualities” of the paper.


Secret #2

  • Embed the review you want to receive in the proposal or paper.

    • For NSF grants write the “embedded review” in labeled sections: intellectual merit & broader impact

    • For papers, write the “embedded review” in the abstract, introduction, and conclusion.

    • This makes the reviewer’s job easier

  • The “embedded review” consists of embedding answers to the following questions in your introduction and conclusions.

    • What, precisely, is your contribution?

    • What is your new result?

    • Why should the reader believe the result?


Secret #3

  • (Subtly)let your reader know that you have done something substantial or that you have been able to come up with a clever insight that others have not seen.

  • Rather than “this is hard,” say

    • “longstanding problem”

    • “challenges include”

  • Rather than “I am insightful,” say

    • “arriving at this insight was interesting because …”

    • “this vantage point allowed … to be seen in an interesting way”


Secret #4

  • Write to the reviewers.

  • Several implications:

    • Catch their attention (Secret #1) & deliver what’s promised.

    • Make their job easy. (Secret #2)

    • Impress them. (Secret #3)

    • They’re busy, distracted, interrupted, pressed for time, and reading many other papers in competition with yours.

    • They’re not necessarily an expert in your topic (but also possibly the world’s greatest expert).


Secret #5

  • Writing shapes research.

    • Organizing text forces you to formulate and clarify.

    • Writing with thought and care is a research activity.

  • Write to learn (as well as learn to write).


Secret #6

  • Asking, seeking, knocking, and wondering are keys to knowledge and insight.

  • “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you;” (Matt. 7:7)

  • “If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come.” (Native American proverb)


Secret #7

  • “The Glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” (D&C 93:36)

    • Light: inspiration (D&C 88:12),

    • Truth: “knowledge of things as they are …” (D&C 93:24)

  • “Knowledge and intelligence [are gained] through … diligence and obedience” (D&C 130:19)


Cool Insights/Observations

  • “If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would it?.” (Albert Einstein)

  • “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not `Eureka!’, but `That’s funny’ …’” (Isaac Asimov)

  • “The wastepaper basket is the writer’s best friend.” (Isaac B. Singer)


Cool Insights/Observations

In a major attempt to communicate,

An author began to pontificate,

What started inspired

Got lost in the mire,

And nothing was left to contributate

(Seth Holladay)


Cool Insights/Observations

  • God is an engineer, not a scientist. Scientists discover new knowledge, while engineers find ways to leverage already discovered knowledge. Since God is omniscient, He transcends science  He does not discover new knowledge. But, as an engineer, He leverages His infinite knowledge “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Kristine Perry)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’11)

  • There is more to writing than meets the eye. (Richard)

  • Expect the expectations. (Scott)

  • Let good questions help determine what you choose to read. (Kevin)

  • Science vs. engineering: learn to build, build to learn. (Kevin)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’11)

  • Hypotheses should be tested, but testing can change the hypothesis. (Scott)

  • Research without validation is invalid. (Andrew)

  • Pattern your research after reputable research patterns. (Skyler)

  • Ethics promote excellence. (Kevin)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’11)

  • Just as wood fuels fire, writing fuels science. (Richard)

  • Concision entails precision and excision. (Andrew)

  • A writer is a wright whose rite is to write right. (Andrew)

  • Clear and concise is best. (Scott)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’11)

  • Just as wood fuels fire, writing fuels science. (Richard)

  • Concision entails precision and excision. (Andrew)

  • A writer is a wright whose rite is to write right. (Andrew)

  • Clear and concise is best. (Scott)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’11)

  • Violated expectations a grumpy reviewer make. (Richard)

  • Avoid the boring! (Scott)

  • Punctuate properly. (Kevin)

  • Respect your readers with consistent usage. (Andrew)

  • To write effectively, learn to draw. (Andrew)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’11)

  • Eschew lexical sesquipedalianisms. (Andrew)

  • Teach not to entertain, but to inspire. (Richard)

  • Example and love water the garden of fruitful teaching. (Kevin)

  • Education: expect edification—enjoy!. (Kevin)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’11)

  • Review better to write better. (Skyler)

  • Presentations: Pith on every slide. (Skyler)

  • Don’t hide your light under a bushel of ill-prepared slides. (Kevin)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’10)

  • Hook the reviewer or you can sink the review. (Seth)

  • A workflow diagram for problem construction will save you from reviewer destruction. (Rob)

  • A good abstract culls the content of the paper while maintaining fidelity. (Rob)

  • Reading with the goal of just filling your head is inefficient. (Neil)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’10)

  • Science is a discovery method that expands our engineering potential. (Seth)

  • Patterns are the forms within which successful research solidifies. (Rob)

  • Never abuse your peers’ trust. (Neil)

  • Write makes right. (Seth)

  • Fine gems are like fine papers: the rough edges are cut; the product is shaped; surfaces are smooth. (Rob)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’10)

  • A point precedes a paper. (Rob)

  • Be careful with your colleagues’ identities and reputations. (Neil)

  • For successful introduction construction, use Embley’s rules for production. (Rob)

  • To write prose like pros, use good grammar to compose. (Rob)

  • The clearest writers express their stories’ crucial actions with lively verbs. (Neil)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’10)

  • Make the math on your page worth the work to decipher it. (Seth)

  • Strong elements (math, figures, graphs, tables, algorithms, textual explanation) stand well alone and even stronger together. (Seth)

  • A teacher and his students should form a single clique. (Neil)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’10)

  • Effective teachers don’t just augment knowledge; they empower action. (Rob)

  • Engaging students in practical work makes learning outcomes come naturally. (Seth)

  • A picture is worth a thousand words, but a good caption tells which thousand. (Neil)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’09)

  • If you’re not sure where to start, start writing. (Seth)

  • No matter how good the results, nobody will notice until you write it right. (Seth)

  • Write to convince the skeptic. (Mike)

  • “This” can be added to the list of bad four-letter words. (Derrall)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’09)

  • Science & engineering pull each other along. (Derrall)

  • The key to research is a problem people care about. (Mike)

  • Will power does not validate a hypothesis; carefully designed experiments and carefully presented facts do. (Lanny)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’09)

  • To do research right—write! (Lanny)

  • In writing, less is more and often better. (Mike)

  • PITHY = Pointed, Informative, Timely, Helpful, Yet short. (Brian)

  • “Clarity never faileth.” (Aaron)

  • Punctuation—ambiguously eliminating ambiguity in writing. (Derrall)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’09)

  • Make every word count. (Mike)

  • Using “etc.” is usually bad, etc. (Derrall)

  • Proofs: match your steps to your audience. (Aaron)

  • Go figure! (Aaron)

  • Teach with heart, not chalk. (Lanny)

  • Chicken Chicken Chickens, Chicken. (Derrall)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’09)

  • Being a good teacher is better than being thought to be a good teacher. (Derrall)

  • Knowing where you want to be helps you get there. (Lanny)

  • A presentation is a technical advertisement for a paper. (Aaron)

  • Review unto others as you would have others review unto you. (Aaron)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’08)

  • Writing is like programming: once you start, the flaws in your ideas become apparent. (David)

  • Like “following the yellow brick road,” following good writing guidelines leads to success. (Sole)

  • Write clearly and concisely; if readers can’t follow your logic, they won’t be convinced of the validity of your claim. (Sabra)

  • Wondering what others will question about your work helps writing be clear from the start. (Sole)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’08)

  • Read with a purpose: if you know your destination ahead of time, it’s a lot easier to end up there. (Sabra)

  • Debate your hypothesis in your mind. (David)

  • Scientific research never ends up exactly as expected—neither do exacting thesis statements. (David)

  • Just because a research problem is important to you doesn’t mean it’s important to everyone (Sabra); conjoining research with established claims and strategies and avoiding fallacies can help increase importance.


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’08)

  • Don’t let readers second-guess your findings: validate your results properly. (Sole)

  • Write early and often—writing stimulates research, and research stimulates writing. (Sabra)

  • Writing is like coding: it requires skillful debugging. (Sabra)

  • No matter how meticulously written, if no one reads your paper, they’ll never know your results. (David)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’08)

  • When editing, two sets of eyes are better than one. (Sabra)

  • If you’re unsure about a grammar rule, at least be consistent. (David)

  • Positive and active words will keep your prose short and readable. (David)

  • Avoid discouraging readers—be precise, consistent, and lively. (Sole)

  • You may not be able to judge a book by its looks, but you can often judge a paper by its looks. (David)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’08)

  • (1) Write (2) Review (3) Edit (4) “Rinse” & Repeat. (Sabra & Sole)

  • Knowledge is like a good dessert—share it! (Sole)

  • Just like good writing, good teaching requires good editing. (Sabra)

  • Children are learning machines. Since we are all children in a spiritual sense, the learning process should never end. (David)

  • The presentation shouldn’t be flashier than the presenter. (David)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’08)

  • Always aim for pithifying and editing anything you write, or present. (Sole)

  • Good presenters aren’t born; they’re iteratively refined. (David & Sabra)

  • The Golden Rule applies to refereeing: review for others as you would have them review for you. (Sabra)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’07)

  • The less you have to say, the more words you need to say it. (Philip Cook)

  • Make scientific writing pithy  concise but meaningful. (Jie Long)

  • Good research may overturn past assumptions. (Terry Wilcox)

  • Literature search  yet another case of “less is more.” (Terry Wilcox)

  • If you start with a clear hypothesis, it is easier to end with a clear contribution. (Philip Cook)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’07)

  • Honestly convince yourself first of the validity of your claim, then it will be easy to convince the rest of the world. (Oliver Nina)

  • Writing and research stimulate each other. (Jie Long)

  • Don’t worry about writing; worry about editing. (Alan Atherton)

  • Very very good writing uses “very” very very few times. (Philip Cook)

  • One paragraph, one topic. (Cui Tao)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’07)

  • When editing, trim the “fat” first, then tone the “muscles.” (Alan Atherton)

  • Using precise words is hard, but necessary to deliver precise thoughts to readers. (Yihong Ding)

  • When we use a graph or a figure, it should first be pleasant to our eyes. (Cui Tao)

  • One clear figure is better than one hundred vague words. (Yihong Ding)

  • Forgotten rules have no power. (Terry Wilcox)


Advice/Thoughts (Fall’07)

  • Teach as you would be taught. (variation of thoughts by Philip Cook & Jie Long)

  • Learning is like walking together  both the teacher and the student have the responsibility to move toward the light. (Oliver Nina)

  • Good teachers not only teach, they inspire. (Oliver Nina)

  • A good presentation requires a passionate presenter. (Yihong Ding)


Advice/Thoughts (Winter’07)

  • Quickly convey or extract the relevant information in a paper that you are either writing or reading. (Matt Smith)

  • Unity of purpose encourages learning; contention stifles learning. (Jared Jardine)

  • Researchers have an inherent responsibility to present their work truthfully and clearly. (Neha Rungta)

  • Your time is precious, research with a purpose. (Richard Arthur)

  • Creativity comes from a solid understanding of the area. (Lei Wang)


Advice/Thoughts (Winter’07)

  • Writing a hypothesis is an iterative process that can be refined through experimentation. (Jun won Lee)

  • An appropriate discussion of limitations sometimes provides readers with really good insights. (Lei Wang)

  • Write while you research. (Lei Wang)

  • Organizing your paper properly can clarify your work. (Richard Arthur)

  • Don’t worry about style before you have something to say. (Jun won Lee)


Advice/Thoughts (Winter’07)

  • Writing is like fine silverlots of polish makes it shine. (Jared Jardine)

  • You can’t teach something effectively unless you really care about it. You can’t teach someone effectively unless you really care about them. (Kristine Perry)

  • It’s what you want your students to do or be, not what you want in your lectures. (James Carroll)

  • Teachers need to constantly evaluate what they teach and how they teach. (Josh Keeler)


Advice/Thoughts (Winter’07)

  • Good presentations have the potential to increase your reputation as a researcher. (Kristine Perry)

  • Effective critiquing can help you fine-tune your writing ability. (Richard Arthur)

  • Refereeing: With great power comes great responsibility. (Neha Rungta)


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