“Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.”
-- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
- The Science of Scientific Writing,
by George D. Gopen and Judith A. Swan, American Scientist,
78 (6) 550-558. (mainly low-level)
From a linguistic point of view, many of these issues resemble
Joshi's centering theory on discourse and TAG theory for locality.
- Follow a subject as soon as possible with its verb.
- "First things first". Place "old information" and topic in the topic positions for
linkage backward and contextualization forward.
- "Save the best for last". Place in stress positions the "new information" you want the read to emphasize.
- Articulate the action of every clause or sentence in its verb.
You can nearly always reorder things (esp. PPs) so that surface
locality constraints are satisfied.
Note: these points are language-specific.
A summary by Lawrence A. Crowl.
- Simon Peyton Jones: How to write a research paper. [strongly recomomended!] (mainly high-level)
I wish I had been told these points (esp. #2 and #3) earlier, when I was very confused at where to put the "previous work" section.
We have so many negative examples in published papers according to these points.
For example, as a beginner you would easily end up having a "rest of
the paper" paragraph because it seems so trendy in conferences.
- Intro section: describe and motivate the problem, then list your contributions explicitly, and that's it.
- No "rest of the paper is organized as
follows" paragraph in a conference paper,
as it does not convey any extra information in a
relatively short paper. Instead, use forward refs in the list of
(For longer journal papers, however, this paragraph is often needed.)
- No "related work" section before describing your idea, as it bores the readers and clogs the information flow.
- Use examples and only present the general case. (however, in your talk, only present a special case.)
- Related work: giving credit to others does not hurt.
- Mark-Jan Nederhof: Common Pitfalls in Academic Writing. (both high-level and low-level, including LaTeX)
- Norman Ramsey's resources
and his Learn Technical Writing in Two Hours per Week.
- Williams' "STYLE: .* Clarity and Grace" series
STYLE: Ten lessons in Clarity and Grace, 9th edi., 2006 (304 pp.)
- STYLE: Basics of Clarity and Grace. 2nd edition, 2005. 160
pp. (a pocket-size summary of the above, without exercises)
- STYLE: Towards Clarity and Grace. 1995, 226 pp.
- Strunk and White: The Elements of Style, 4th edi., Longman, 1999. (low-level)
- Claire K. Cook: Line by Line, Houghton Mifflin, 1986. (very low-level)
- Other resources (not highly recommended)
See also Talk Tips.
Last modified: Wed Apr 11 23:05:53 EDT 2007