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Hess Education. Writing Skills for Theses and Articles. Department of Computer Science & Information Engineering, National Taiwan University http://www.csie.ntu.edu.tw/~writing/ Non-credit elective, Eligibility: 2nd year M.A. students, 3rd year+ Ph.D. students Dr. William C. Vocke:

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hess education

Hess Education

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

writing skills for theses and articles
Writing SkillsforTheses and Articles
  • Department of Computer Science & Information Engineering, National Taiwan University
  • http://www.csie.ntu.edu.tw/~writing/
  • Non-credit elective, Eligibility: 2nd year M.A. students, 3rd year+ Ph.D. students
  • Dr. William C. Vocke:
  • Cell: 0937-061-456
  • Email: wvocke@csie.ntu.edu.tw

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

slide3
IS
  • This IS
    • Hard Work
    • English
    • Skill (sports, instruments)
  • This is NOT
    • Conceptual
    • intimate
    • chinese
    • grammar
    • spelling

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

purpose
Purpose
  • To increase the quality of the English writing skills focusing on theses/dissertations and articles/papers
  • As Microsoft demonstrates…
  • “Young engineers who write with clarity and make logical presentations tend to become supervisors of other engineers within 5 years of graduation”

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

goals
Goals
  • You will have an effective, personal outline for a research topic by the course’s end.
  • More student papers will be accepted for presentations or publication in English.
  • English theses/dissertations will be more polished upon submission to faculty.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

format
Format
  • Each 3 hour class meeting is divided into thirds for a total of 12, 50-minute sessions
    • A homework assignment precedes each class meeting
  • Each 50 minute session includes:
    • Lecture, bulleted PowerPoint handouts
    • Illustrations from
      • Completed theses and papers
      • Student homework assignments
    • Activities: one of the following
      • Planning practice
      • Outlining practice
      • Writing practice
      • Editing practice
    • Hints
      • Writing hint of the session
      • ESL hint of the session

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

useful texts if available these will be on reserve in the main library
Useful Texts[If available, these will be on reserve in the main library.]
  • Alley, Michael. (2003). The Craft of Scientific Presentations. New York: Springer-Verlag.
  • Alley, Michael. (2000). The Craft of Editing: A Guide for Managers, Scientists, and Engineers.

New York: Springer-Verlag.

  • Alley, Michael. (1996). The Craft of Scientific Writing (3rd ed.). New York: Springer-Verlag.
  • Booth, Vernon. (1993). Communicating in Science-Writing a Scientific Paper and Speaking at

Scientific Meetings (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • (Dictionary (a Chinese/English version at your level, i.e., introductory, intermediate or advanced)
  • Grammar (one good one is: Swan, Michael. (1995). Practical English Usage. Oxford: Oxford

University Press.

  • Paradis, James G. & Zimmerman, Muriel L. (1997). The MIT Guide to Science and Engineering

Communications. Boston: MIT Press.

  • Strunk, Jr., W. & White, E. B. (1979). Elements of Style (4th ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn

& Bacon

  • Style and citation format from your target journal, convention or department.
  • Turabian, K. L. (1996). A Manual for Writers of Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (6th ed.).

Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

assessment
Assessment
  • Evaluation

Students develop a portfolio of materials that they have written or edited. This shows their commitment and provides a measure of their progress. A pass/fail grade is given.

  • Homework
    • Due: Monday before class.
    • Format: English Name, Chinese Name, Homework #___
    • Assignment
    • Email to: wvocke@csie.ntu.edu.tw
    • RE: CS Homework #___

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

slide9
6 28 3

7 14 1981

4 20+50+

1212 186

3 17 4

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

writing hint
Writing Hint

Process Writing

Approach writing as a continuous iterative process.

Drafting

Structuring

Re-viewing

Focusing

Generating Ideas

Evaluating

White & Arndt (1991)

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

slide11
“But in science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man whom the idea first occurs.”

-Sir Francis Darwin

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

esl hint
ESL Hint
  • Good writing varies by culture, in addition to varying by audience, discipline and purpose, i.e. direct or indirect, personal or impersonal, plain or embellished, etc.
  • Vague is bad in English technical writing.

Some, however, intentionally write vaguely, attempting to demonstrate their greater wisdom with seductive phrases and illusory allusions rather than speaking in diamorphous linear constructions thereby befuddling those readers lacking a clear personal sense of rectitude.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

assessing theses
Assessing Theses
  • Table of Contents
    • This is the FINAL outline.
    • It demonstrates the logic of the project.
  • Examples
    • 1
    • 2

[Writing Hint]

    • 3
    • 4

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

writing hint1
Writing Hint
  • Tell them what you are going to tell
  • Tell them
  • Tell them what you told

Beginning Middle End

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

audience
Audience

Take a minute and write down why you think I may be wearing this?

Good reasons? Bad reasons?

Basic rule-

Don’t let anything external get in the way of good communication.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

assessing theses1
Assessing Theses
  • Abstract- [which looks best?]
    • Strategies
      • Outline- What you did. [
      • Outcome- Background & conclusion
      • Impact- Importance & conclusion
      • others
  • Examples

[Editing Code]

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

exercise 1
Exercise 1

You have an abstract.

  • Make 3-8 editing marks on the original.
  • Re-write the original.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

exercise 1 cont d
Exercise 1 cont’d
  • Partner with someone
  • Review the editing marks to see if you understand them.
    • What is the total number of marks that you both agree are correct.
    • Write it at the top of both papers.
  • Compare your rewritten version and together write a new, third version.
  • Hand in the result

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

exercise 1 cont t
Exercise 1 cont’t

Game production is constantly more complex, and graphics systems are the most important part of modern game software. Graphic systems have to cooperate heavily with other components, since making a game requires not only programming but also extensive content, and most content is heavily graphic.

This thesis makes the production more effective. It proposes the design and implementation of an object-oriented graphics engine, an engine that would be easy to use and extend. Also offered are engine tools that build a smooth graphics content pipeline and are suitable for small production teams. The engine and tools mean better games at less cost.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

esl hint1
ESL Hint

In English writers are expected to cite all sources. This includes as much detail as is available.

For instance, the page number if available.

[Make it easy for the reader to check!}

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

day 2
Day 2
  • Review
    • Assessing tables of contents
    • Assessing Abstracts
  • Today
    • Writing Exercise
    • Idea Generation
    • Research Questions
    • Writing a Thesis Statement
    • Formal Structure
    • Outlining
  • [Editing Code]

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

writing hint2
Writing Hint

Process Writing

Approach writing as a continuous iterative process.

Drafting

Structuring

Re-viewing

Focusing

Generating Ideas

Evaluating

White & Arndt (1991)

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

exercise 1 cont t1
Exercise 1 cont’t

Game production is constantly more complex, and graphics systems are the most important part of modern game software. Graphic systems have to cooperate heavily with other components, since making a game requires not only programming but also extensive content, and most content is heavily graphic.

This thesis makes the production more effective. It proposes the design and implementation of an object-oriented graphics engine, an engine that would be easy to use and extend. Also offered are engine tools that build a smooth graphics content pipeline and are suitable for small production teams. The engine and tools mean better games at less cost.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

exercise 1 cont d1
Exercise 1 cont’d
  • Why these choices
    • Strategy
    • Research Question
    • Thesis Statement

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

your parameters
Your Parameters

Constraints(external) Choices(internal)

Audience Topic (?)

Format Structure

Mechanics Depth

Politics Language

Illustration

Adapted from Hua-Kuang Lie, PowerPoint, for “Effective Science and Engineering Communication”

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

writing hint3
Writing Hint

Know your audience and write from the reader’s perspective.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

audience1
Audience
  • Who reads it?
  • Why will they read it?
  • How will they read it?
  • What do they know?
  • What is your relationship?
  • What do you want to happen?
    • [normally for CSIE-inform and/or persuade but can also entertain and call to action]

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

your audience
Your Audience

Exercise 2

  • List the likely audiences for your writing.
  • Put the list in a rank order, most to least important.
  • Compare the list with your partner’s.
  • Compare our joint list with another group’s
  • Help generate a class list.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

writing hint4
Writing Hint
  • Special difficulties in Technical Writing
    • Complex subjects
    • Complicated insider’s language
  • Compensate for these

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

your parameters1
Your Parameters

Constraints(external) Choices(internal)

Audience Topic (?)

Format Structure

Mechanics Depth

Politics Language

Illustration

Adapted from Hua-Kuang Lie, PowerPoint, for “Effective Science and Engineering Communication”

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

generating a topic techniques
Generating a Topic: Techniques
  • Brainstorming
    • Alone
    • Group (talking and listening)
  • Clustering
  • Asking questions
  • Freewriting
  • Annotating texts
  • Searching internet

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

class contract
Class Contract!!
  • An idea set or thesis statement is the property of the creator, unless explicitly released.
  • DO NOT steal your colleagues ideas!

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

exercise 3
Exercise 3
  • Using one of these techniques, generate a research idea. 2 minutes
  • Get in groups of 4.
  • Briefly explain your idea to the group.1 minute
  • Have the group expand the idea.2 minutes
  • Repeat the process for each of the 4 people

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

from idea set to research question
From Idea Set to Research Question
  • Narrow
  • Challenging
  • Grounded

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

thesis statement
Thesis Statement
  • This is the sentence stating the main point.
    • A generalization, not a fact
    • Limited, not too broad
    • Focused, not too vague

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

identifying questions theses
Identifying Questions & Theses
  • 4 abstracts
  • Write the Question and Thesis for each at the bottom of the page.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

creating titles

The next colored slides adapted from Hua-Kuang Lie, PowerPoint, for “Effective Science and Engineering Communication.”

Creating Titles

The title is the single most importantpart of any document.

It tells people what the document is.

If it is unclear, many people for whom you

wrote the document will never read it.

An example of a weak title:

Reducing the Hazards of Operations

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

creating titles1
Creating Titles
  • Criteria for a strong title:
  • identifies the field of study for the document
  • separates the document from other documents

Weak:

Effects of Humidity on the growth of Avalanches

(Avalanches of slow or electrons?)

Revised title:

Effects of Humidity on the Growth of Electron

Avalanches in Electrical Gas Discharges

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

creating titles2
Creating Titles

Weak:

Studies on the Electrodeposition of Lead on Copper (Why?)

Improved

Effects of Rhodamine-B on the Electrodeposition of Lead on Copper

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

creating titles3
Creating Titles

Weak:

Effects of Rhodamine-B and Saccharin on the Electric Double Layer During Nickel Electrodeposition on Platinum Studied by AC-Cyclic Voltammetry (Why?)

Improved

Use of AC-Cyclic Voltammetry to Study Organic Agents in the Electrodeposition of Nickel on Platinum

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

creating titles4
Creating Titles

Big-word syndrome:

10 MW Solar Thermal Electric Central Receiver

Barstow Power Pilot Plant Transfer Fluid Conversion Study (It overwhelms)

Improved:

Proposalto Use a New Heat Transfer Fluid in the

Solar One Power Plant (small words, rest stops;

‘proposal’, special situation)

Note: Solar One: the world’s largest solar power plant

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

creating titles5
Creating Titles

Unfamiliar-word syndrome:

Use of an IR FPA in Determining the Temperature Gradient of a Face (It puzzles)

Improved:

Determining Temperature Gradients With a

New Infrared Optical Device

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

day 3
Day 3
  • Review-culture & audience
  • For each of the four abstracts
  • Exercise 4:

Write Thesis Statement and Research Question for each Abstract on the board.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

thesis hooks
Thesis Hooks
  • Startling statistic or fact
  • Vivid example
  • Description
  • Quotation
  • Question
  • Analogy

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

writing hint5
Writing Hint
  • Generate a large body of ideas to define the scope of your project
  • Define your Basic Research Question
  • Focus on a one-sentence Thesis Statement answering the Question
  • Find a Hook

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

exercise 5
Exercise 5
  • Groups of 4
  • Take out the Idea Set you generated.
  • As a group, write a tentative Research Question and a Thesis for each idea set.
  • Decide which you think is best
  • Have one member report that idea to the class.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

selecting wining topics
Selecting Wining Topics
  • Ask the field (journals)
  • Ask the experts (professor)
  • Ask the next stars (colleagues)
  • Ask What?
    • Research Question
    • Thesis Statement
    • Idea Set

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

esl hint2
ESL Hint
  • Chinese allows the omission of the subject or the verb. Expect in commands ( Be quiet!), English always requires you to state the subject and verb of the main sentence.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

your parameters2
Your Parameters

Constraints(external) Choices(internal)

Audience Topic (?)

Format Structure

Mechanics Depth

Politics Language

Illustration

Adapted from Hua-Kuang Lie, PowerPoint, for “Effective Science and Engineering Communication”

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

fields in computer science
Fields in Computer Science

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

writing hint6
Writing Hint
  • Tell them what you are going to tell
  • Tell them
  • Tell them what you told

Beginning Middle End

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

formats in fields
Formats in fields
  • “Discourse Grammer”
  • GSU Outline for Program Development
  • Reports on your findings
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • Etc.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

structure
Structure
  • Voice/Style
  • Decide how you want to be heard
    • Student
    • Authority
    • Raising a Question
    • Humbly
    • Proudly

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

structure formal formats vs personal structures
StructureFormal Formats vs. Personal Structures
  • Choices
    • Ease vs. Excitement
    • Professionalism vs. Creativity
    • Inattention vs. Attention
    • Acceptance vs. Rejection
    • Safety vs. Risk
  • Outcome- Gain

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

writing hint7
Writing Hint
  • Numbers Rule
    • of 3:
      • For powerful sets, or
      • To make the middle item the winner
    • of 2: for contrasts
    • of 5: >5 is often too much

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

four c s of communication
Four C’s of Communication
  • Color- Precision & Coherence
  • Clarity- Purity & Transparence
  • Carat- Substance & Importance
  • Cut- Organization, Structure, Style, & Charisma

Adapted from Hua-Kuang Lie, PowerPoint, for “Effective Science and Engineering Communication

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

your parameters3
Your Parameters

Constraints(external) Choices(internal)

Audience Topic (?)

Format Structure

Mechanics Depth

Politics Language

Illustration

Adapted from Hua-Kuang Lie, PowerPoint, for “Effective Science and Engineering Communication”

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

word choice hints
Word Choice Hints
  • Do not omit needed words
  • Eliminate redundant words
  • Place modifiers with their subject
  • Keep verbs consistent in tense and the active voice
  • Use the active voice (replace “be” verbs)
  • Use appropriate language
  • Use exact language
  • Keep your voice consistent (I, we, etc.)

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

sentence hints
Sentence Hints
  • Focus on the main idea
  • Combine choppy sentences
  • Simplify sentences
  • Use a variety of sentences
  • Use a variety of sentence openings
  • Use parallelism

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

exercise 6
Exercise 6
  • Here are some technical paragraphs from your homework. [3 sets]
  • Will the “author” please explain each
  • Go over them in class and point out issues
  • Identify topic sentence for each

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

topic sentence
Topic Sentence
  • Is the Thesis Statement for the paragraph.
  • Is usually at the start
  • Signals the next step in the argument
    • Suggests the next topic
    • Helps the transition

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

structure paragraphs
Structure-Paragraphs
  • Focus the Main Point-Topic Sentence
    • Usually first
    • Sometimes after a transition
    • Occasionally at the end
  • Develop the main point- too short is often too little
  • Organize the paragraph
    • Methods include: examples, description, process, comparison, contrast, definition, cause and effect, classification and division, etc.
    • Order of importance; Least to greatest or invert?

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

structure paragraphs cont d
Structure-Paragraphs cont’d
  • Make the Paragraph Coherent
    • Signaling
      • Link-ideas
      • Repeat key words
      • Use parallel structure (parallelism)
      • Be consistent
    • Transitions
  • Adjust Paragraph Length

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

exercise 7
Exercise 7
  • Here are 5 paragraphs
  • Read them and put them in order, 1-5, best to worst
  • Rewrite the worst
  • Go over the paragraphs in class

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

summary
Summary

Strunk and White, The Elements of Style

  • Use a suitable design
  • Make the paragraph the unit of composition
  • The active voice should be used
  • Put statements in a positive form
  • Use definite, specific, concrete language

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

strunk and white cont d the elements of style
Strunk and White, cont’d The Elements of Style

6. Omit needless excessive words

7. Avoid a succession of lose sentences

8. Use parallelism

9. Keep related words together

10. Keep to one tense

11. Place at the end the sentence’s emphatic words

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

exercise 8
Exercise 8
  • Here is your Homework 4
  • Ask your colleagues to help you with it
  • Ask the instructor
  • Decide on the best
  • PERSONAL CONSULTATION TIME WITH THE INSTRUCTOR tba

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

esl hint3
ESL Hint
  • English spelling differs slightly from country to country.
  • The primary difference is American or British
  • Choose one system and stick with it.
    • Color Colour
    • Theater Theatre
    • Judgment Judgement
    • Defense Defence
    • Analyze Analyse
  • Http://www.english.uiuc.edu/cwa/wworkshop/
  • Http://www.owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/

index.html#effective

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

writing hint8
Writing Hint
  • The rule of three revisited: Editing
  • Write Rest Rewrite

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

the final product
The Final Product
  • Editing/Poilshing
    • Sentence
    • Paragraph
    • Global
  • Using editing codes

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

writing hint9
Writing Hint
  • Polishing or editing, like writing, is a continuous iterative process
  • BUT
  • Unless you have enough written there is not enough to polish!
    • Write first
    • Polish later

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

formats
Formats
  • Know your External Format requirements
  • Fonts
    • 10-12
    • Only 1 or 2
    • simple
    • Serif (possibly sans serif for headings)
  • Headings-usually ≤3 levels
  • Use white space

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

graphics
Graphics
  • Audience
    • Who is the reader?
    • What does the reader know?
    • Will a graphic extend the reader’s knowledge?
    • Is my graphic appropriate?
    • Is it complex enough for a graphic?

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

graphics cont d
Graphics cont’d
  • Choice
    • Photo- exactly as it is
    • Diagram-can’t be seen in a photo
    • Table-items that can be classified
    • Line graph-trend or changes over time
    • Column graph- compare
    • Pie chart- items as part of a whole
    • Flow chart- process
    • Organization chart- relationships

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

graphics cont d1
Graphics cont’d
  • Placement
    • Callout?
    • Statement of Importance?
    • Close to the first reference?
    • Numbered sequentially and labeled?
    • Acknowledged?
    • Does it help the reader?

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

writing hint10
Writing Hint

Process Writing

Approach writing as a continuous iterative process.

Drafting

Structuring

Re-viewing

Focusing

Generating Ideas

Evaluating

White & Arndt (1991)

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program

presenting wining topics
Presenting Wining Topics
  • Check the field (journals)
  • Check the experts (professor)
  • Preview with the next stars (colleagues)
  • Use a Guide, for instance:

Steve Mandel, Effective Presentation Skills: A Practical Guide for Better Speaking, 3rd ed., Menlo Park, CA: Crisp Publications.

A Hess-NTU Cooperative Program