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How to write a high quality research paper
Yun Yang (email: yyang@it.swin.edu.au) CITR

- Centre for Information Technology Research

Faculty of ICT Swinburne University of Technology
http://www.it.swin.edu.au/research/citr

Planning a research paper (or report)
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Description of the problem (or research question) Description of the method Presentation of the data Interpretation of the data

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?

?

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Concluding the paper/report

2

Structure of a research paper
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Title (and authors and affiliations)

?
? ?

Abstract (and keywords)
Introduction

Review of literature (related work and comparison)
- can be after the main parts of the work

?
?
? ?

Main parts of the work
Conclusions and future work
(Acknowledgement) References (occasionally appendices)
3

Example paper structure - system development related research
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?
? ?

?
? ? ? ?

Title author(s) with affiliations Abstract & (keywords) Introduction Related work (including comparison) Requirements analysis (why and what) Framework/mechanisms – design (how) Prototyping & discussion – implementation/proof-of-concept - sometime, case studies for evaluation Conclusions and future work Acknowledgement References
4

Structure of a research report/thesis
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Title

?
? ? ? ?

(Declaration – for a degree thesis)
Acknowledgement Abstract Table of contents List of figures & List of tables

? Introduction
?

etc. (individual chapters)
5

References

?

Appendices

Title
? ? ?

Label for your research (i.e., not a complete sentence) Used for indexing and abstract services State the title in terms of the variables investigated in the study

?
?

No more than 12 - 15 words
Avoid waste words:
? Study on ? Investigation of

6

Abstract
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Normally one paragraph summary of the paper:
? General statement (broad area of topic investigated) ? Explanation of specific problem to be solved ? Brief review of existing standards or solutions ? Outline of proposed new solution

? Summary of how proposed solution evaluated (and outcomes)

? ? ?

Less than 250 words (often about 100 words) Do not state information not included in paper Do not cite references
7

Keywords
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Mainly used for indexing

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Only several needed/listed
Should be meaningful – not too broad Standard keyword sets available

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8

Introduction
Provides a rationale for your work
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Describe the nature (background) and scope of problem Review key relevant literature to orient the reader (one sentence each) State the method of study and reasons for choice of method State the principle results, methods and outcomes (paper organisation as final paragraph)

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?

9

Literature review (related work)
Provides background information that allows reader to understand and evaluate your work
? ? ?

Begin with a general statement of introduction to the field of research Provide general theoretical and empirical background relevant to the research Use the literature to build an argument that establishes the significance of your aim and the soundness of your hypotheses (predictions) Normally, a comparison of related work to differentiate yours

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10

Main parts of the work
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Method
? E.g. procedures, design

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Results
? E.g. summary of the data, data analysis

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Sometimes, discussions

11

Conclusions and future work
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Summary of the results
? What you have done

- not simply straight repeat of abstract
? Emphasise novelty and significance
? May state Implications and limitations of results ? Do not state information not included in paper ? Do not cite references

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Future directions
? Further work not completed yet
? Extensions
12

Acknowledgement
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Sponsors including grants

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Supervisors, colleagues and team members
Other people involved Sometime anonymous reviewers

?

?

13

References and citation
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Report all & only references used in the text

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Use an approved format (Tools: e.g. EndNote, ProCite)
? Name and year (APA: American Psychological Association) ?It has been found that… (Trimpop, 1994) ?Moore and Gullone (1994) found that… ?It has been found that… (Moore & Gullone, 1994) ?Levitt, Selman and Richmond (1991) found that… (1st

citation)
?Levitt et al. (1991) also found that… (2nd citation)
14

References and citation
?

Alphabet-number
? It has been found that… [18]

?

Citation order
? It has been found that… [1]

?

Sometimes, e.g. no number, just [Trimpop1994]

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Name and year
Levitt, M. L., Selman, R. L., & Richmond, J. B. (1991). The psychosocial foundations of early adolescents’ high-risk behavior: Implications for research and practice. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 1, 349-378.

Hogan, R. (1987). Personality psychology: Back to basics. In J. Aronoff, A. I. Rabin & R. A. Zucker (Eds.), The emergence of personality. (pp. 79-104). New York: Springer. Zuckerman, M. (1979). Sensation seeking: Beyond the optimal level of arousal. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

16

Alphabet-number
1.

Levitt, M. L., Selman, R. L., & Richmond, J. B. (1991). The psychosocial foundations of early adolescents’ high-risk behavior: Implications for research and practice. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 1, 349-378.

2.

Hogan, R. (1987). Personality psychology: Back to basics. In J. Aronoff, A. I. Rabin & R. A. Zucker (Eds.), The emergence of personality. (pp. 79-104). New York: Springer. Zuckerman, M. (1979). Sensation seeking: Beyond the optimal level of arousal. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

3.

17

Citation order
1. 2.

Zuckerman, M. (1979). Sensation seeking: Beyond the optimal level of arousal. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Hogan, R. (1987). Personality psychology: Back to basics. In J. Aronoff, A. I. Rabin & R. A. Zucker (Eds.), The emergence of personality. (pp. 79-104). New York: Springer. Levitt, M. L., Selman, R. L., & Richmond, J. B. (1991). The psychosocial foundations of early adolescents’ high-risk behavior: Implications for research and practice. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 1, 349-378.

3.

18

Principles of writing

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Neatness and clarity Precision Logical structure

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19

Reviewer/Examiner looks for
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Relevance Originality – what’s new? What are the contributions? Significance

?
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Organisation – logical structure issue
Presentation – precision and neatness & clarity issues

Note: reviewers/examiners normally read
? ?

‘Abstract’ & ‘Conclusions’ first to get a basic idea of your results For thesis, also summary of each chapter

20

General guidelines
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The guidelines for writing a research paper can be generally applied to any other technical writing (except the styles) ? Letters ? Resumes ? Memos ? Instructions ? User manuals ? developer manuals Many general suggestions for writers online E.g. http://owl.english.purdue.edu - Online Writing Lab at Purdue Uni.
21

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Learning from good cases
Case study:
?
? ?

Get some good reports suiting your needs
Get to know what and how the others write Practice, practice and more practice

22

Developing a workable schedule
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Identify small, easily accomplishable goals Set reasonable target dates for achieving each goal Reward yourself each time you reach one of your goals Seek regular feedback Build time into your schedule for at least 2 to 3 revisions

23

Thank you very much

Questions?

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