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Secrets to Success in CS Scholarship
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  1. Secrets to Successin CS Scholarship … and some advice, thoughts, insights, and observations too

  2. 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)

  3. 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)

  4. 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)

  5. 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)

  6. 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)

  7. Advice/Thoughts (Fall’12) • Computer science is the science of precisely encoding thought. (Blake) • Save the “thanks” and keep the conclusion. (Daniel)

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. 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” • …

  11. 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).

  12. 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).

  13. 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)

  14. 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)

  15. 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)

  16. 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)

  17. 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)

  18. 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)

  19. 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)

  20. 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)

  21. 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)

  22. 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)

  23. 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)

  24. 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)

  25. 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)

  26. 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)

  27. 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)

  28. 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)

  29. 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)

  30. 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)

  31. 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)

  32. 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)

  33. 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)

  34. 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)

  35. 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)

  36. 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.

  37. 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)

  38. 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)

  39. 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)

  40. 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)

  41. 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)

  42. 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)

  43. 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)

  44. 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)

  45. 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)

  46. 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)

  47. 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)

  48. 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)