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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

Secrets to Successin CS Scholarship

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

advice thoughts fall 12
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 123
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 124
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 125
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 126
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 127
Advice/Thoughts (Fall’12)
  • Computer science is the science of precisely encoding thought. (Blake)
  • Save the “thanks” and keep the conclusion. (Daniel)
secret 1
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 observations16
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 observations17
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
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 1119
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 1120
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 1121
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 1122
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 1123
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 1124
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
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 1026
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 1027
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 1028
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 1029
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
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 0931
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 0932
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 0933
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 0934
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
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 0836
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 0837
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 0838
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 0839
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 0840
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
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 0742
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 0743
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 0744
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
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 0746
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 0747
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 0748
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)