Some of the practicalities of documenting research Theoretical insight Attention shaping Inspiration Kill two birds with one stone Please do not take it too seriously!. What is This Talk About Anyway?. • Theoretical insight • Practical exercises • Attention shaping • Inspiration.
Some of the practicalities of documenting research
Kill two birds with one stone
Please do not take it too seriously!
• Theoretical insight
• Practical exercises
• Attention shaping
• The science of writing scientific papers
• The craft of scientific writing
• Variations between disciplines
• Differences in personal style
• Writing and reviewing
One should be held accountable
Accumulation of results
Great idea: “I have just had this great idea! I do not know if anyone else has ever had the same idea, because I’ve not checked, and I’m rather new in this field. Anyway, my idea is brilliant, so I really would like to share it with you all.”
Other peoples ideas: “I have just read this great book that I really like a lot. I’ll just give you a short resume of the interesting points in the book.”
Software hacker: “I have just built this great computer system. It is not based on previous theories or empirical findings. I am not very theoretical myself, but the system has a lot of fantastic features, and the interface is really neat.”
Theory hacker: “I have come up with this theory; conceptual framework; model. It is not related to other theories; conceptual frameworks; models, or any empirical data for that matter. Most of the concepts have been defined differently by all the big shots in the field, but I just do not like their categories so I have invented my own.”
Theoretically based method, guidelines, framework, taxonomy, model, or prototype
State-of-the-art survey, theory assessment
Empirically based method, guidelines, framework, taxonomy, model, or prototype
Case study, questionnaire survey, experiment
New article: new title and at least 30–50% “new stuff”
There are lots of places to publish
It is a very long and difficult process to get an article published
Make sure to match intentions and capablities
Take reviewer comments serious, but don't panic!
Enclose response to editor when resubmitting
If at first you don't succeed, try again
(1) What is the problem domain?
(2) What is the problem?
(3) What is the research approach?
(4) What have others done?
(5) What are the results?
Knowledge domain defined by theory and conceptual variables
Richness of worldly realism
Tightness of control
Budgets limit the amount of knowledge yielded by any experiment
Amount of worldly realism purchable with "X" resources
Amount of control purchable with "X" resources
Threshold for trade journals
Threshold for discipline journals
Improved controls increase the amount of reliable knowledge generated by experiment A
9Acknowledgements are crucial (friends and finance)
10Be open about who are authors and the sequence of authors
11If English is not your first language, spend a LOT of time on linguistic improvements
12Start out accumulating a bibliographic database. This way you avoid the tedious work of writing reference lists every time you write an article
13Writing and rewiewing are two sides of the same coin
14Get your papers reviewed in order to get others to comment
15Be ready to kill your darlings
1You need to do something in order to deserve to take the stand
2It is a good idea to copy others when you begin writing articles
3Keep to the standard format for papers, what ever the standard is
4Aim at a top-down writing process and plan the process carefully
5Focus focus focus focus .........
6Only one point per paper
7Only stick your neck into one guillotine
8Use a lot of time on the "packaging", i.e. title, abstract, introduction, and conclusion
1Title: Funny or informative?
2Author(s): Alphabetic ordering or not?
4Abstract: Contents-based or summary
5 Introduction: The five important questions. "Sell" the point
9Conclusion: Problem setting, summary, conclude, further research
10Acknowledgments: Funding, help, reviewers, etc.
Some of the basic arguments presented in this talk are outlined in This is not an Article (handout) . A discussion of rigor and relevance can be found in (Mason 1989).
Day’s (1977) article provides initial input to a discussion on writing scientific articles. Gopen & Swan (1990) discuss how to improve the line of argumentation in articles. Smith (1990) and Parberry (1990) describe the task of refereeing articles. Those who are interested in how to write mathematics should consult the two classics Steenrod et al. (1962) and Steenrod et al. (1973).
Robert Day (1991) has also written a very good book which outlines important aspects of how to write a paper and subsequently getting it published, plus a lot of other relevant issues. Weston (1987) provides a very inspiring fundament for how to build a line of argumentation, and the classic by Strunk and White (1979) will teach you most of what is worth knowing about style in the English language. Finally, Beer (1992) contains a collection of useful and provoking papers on writing and speaking in the technology profession.