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A gentle introduction to writing research papers Alistair Edwards …but drawing heavily on slides from Chris Power.

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Presentation on theme: "A gentle introduction to writing research papers Alistair Edwards …but drawing heavily on slides from Chris Power."— Presentation transcript:

1 A gentle introduction to writing research papers Alistair Edwards …but drawing heavily on slides from Chris Power

2 Notices Winners of the Treasure Hunt The Hunters: Bruno, Burak, Jackson, Ke & Vivek We need an HCIT Programme Representative My Tutorial Group Abstracts, Introductions and Conclusions for next week, please

3 Objectives To give a brief introduction to scientific writing in general To help you prepare for the specific writing task for the assessment of this module

4 Why do we publish? (principled) As scientists we work at the forefront of our field, we have new insights into many topics in which we work We have an obligation to share our improved knowledge, about interaction or any topic, with others Peer-review self-selects the best work to be shared with the outside world forming a meritocracy Our work grants us immortality

5 Why do we publish? (pragmatic) Publications help us communicate our message to other scientists to foster collaboration Publications give us ‘esteem’, which is a quality that allows you to influence decision makers Publications get us money in the form of grants and scholarships Publications grant us jobs

6 ‘Publications get us money in the form of grants and scholarships’ Increasingly true All university departments are being assessed via the Research Excellence Framework (REF) This will depend to a large extent on bibliographic metrics of publications Publish a paper and get lots of people to cite it = £££££££

7 Why do we publish? Often people publish just to publish The “publish or perish” paradigm The best research scientists put out a moderate number of publications, each of which has an original contribution to the field in which they work The contribution is what you are trying to communicate to the reader – you want them to understand what you have done, how you have done it and why

8 Why do we publish? ‘Publish or perish’

9 Your writing tasks Formative assessment Weeks 6 – 9 Group writing on a given topic Peer reviewed Module assessment Spring 7 – Summer 1 Individual writing on a negotiated title Individual project Report Paper

10 Organizing your research (paper)

11 Choosing a topic Choosing your audience What is your hypothesis? What is your story ? Doing your literature review Finding your evidence

12 Choosing a topic One key to success is – What are you going to research? …but in the context of your assessments you will have to negotiate your topic

13 Choosing a topic One key to success is – What are you going to research? …but in the context of the later assessment must be related to one or more of the classes must have a significant literature must be of the right size must require no original research

14 Think of your audience Formative exercise? Module assessment? Project report? Project paper?

15 What is your hypothesis? A classic scientific paper is based on a hypothesis A hypothesis is a proposition Your objective is to prove – or falsify – that hypothesis (QUAN)

16 Example hypotheses Animation makes web advertising more effective Fast-tempo music increases game players’ sense of immersion Perceived ease-of-use is positively related to flow experience of playing of an on-line game Data entry by older users is easier when the pocket computer has a keyboard, albeit a small one

17 The null hypothesis The negation of the hypothesis Seek to prove it Fail and you have supported the hypothesis e.g. Perceived ease-of-use is not positively related to flow experience of playing an on-line game

18 Even a review paper may have a hypothesis Find a point to argue and do so with reference to the literature

19 What is your story ? Every paper has a story Finding it can be hard but once you are clear you can write a clearer paper ‘No tale is so good that it can’t be spoiled in the telling’ (Proverb)

20 Example stories ‘This is my hypothesis and here is the evidence to support or refute it’ A history Selling an idea a product Teach start from what the reader knows and lead them to new knowledge

21 Doing your literature review There is always a literature review Your assessment paper will be mostly a literature review

22 Doing your literature review

23 Look for those references that have titles and keywords that seem to match the problem you are solving If available, read the abstract Collect papers – either digital or go to *gasp* the library! Do this early because if you need to see a paper and we don’t have it in the University you can order through inter-library loans (ILL)

24 Doing your literature survey Read the abstract, introduction and conclusions If they are well written these will tell you what the paper is about and whether it is useful Discard those that are not useful – may want to keep a file of interesting things to look at for another time Keep those that are applicable and read methods and results

25 Doing your literature survey Read the abstract, introduction and conclusions These will also be most important in the paper you write and are often poor

26 Doing your literature review Make notes as you go along Organize the papers cleverly – use good tools to store and organize papers Desktop – Bibtex, Endnote, RefMan Cloud – Mendeley, Citeulike Do not keep them in a word document or other basic file type – you will drown With the above tools you can then generate bibliographies for your own paper in whatever format you want

27 What’s your story?

28 Structuring your paper You then have to communicate all of the above to your reader Build constructs of language – sentence to paragraph, paragraphs to sections, sections to papers All constructs of our paper will have the same structure: Introduction – orienting the reader Contribution – the point of the construct Conclusion – sending the reader off

29 Structuring your paper Title Abstract Introduction Contribution Conclusion References Acknowledgements

30 Structuring your paper Contribution Generally Method Results Discussion

31 Structuring your paper Contribution Show reasoned judgement Do not express opinions

32 Structuring your paper Title Abstract Introduction Contribution Conclusion References Acknowledgements

33 Structuring your paper Introduction Contribution For the assessment mainly discussion Conclusion

34 Abstract Abstract: State the contribution you are making State the motivation as to why it is interesting State the methodology you followed State the results State the conclusions You get about 1-2 sentences for each of these The abstract will keep people reading your paper Extended abstracts – short paper – you get 1 or 2 paragraphs for each of these

35 Abstract Abstract: State the contribution you are making State the motivation as to why it is interesting State the methodology you followed State the results State the conclusions You get about 1-2 sentences for each of these The abstract will keep people reading your paper Extended abstracts – short paper – you get 1 or 2 paragraphs for each of these

36 Abstract The abstract and paper should be capable of being read independently Don’t assume that the reader reading one of them has read the other

37 A good abstract?

38 Introduction Introduce the topic ‘This paper is about…’ very early on ‘No one reads the second paragraph’ Journalists’ dogma Introduce the background Introduce the paper

39 Literature review In this section you will convince the reader that what you are doing is new and interesting Hit on major themes within the research community Look for problem areas such as common disagreements or ‘dogma’ that is in the field so that you reference them clearly This is particularly important in your assessment You have not simply read the literature, you have analysed it critically Discussion section?

40 Conclusions Simple rule Introduce nothing new in the conclusions It is a distillation of what has gone before Not a summary of the paper A summary of what can be learned from it

41 Conclusions State – or re-iterate – succinctly: The contribution you have made The motivation as to why it is interesting to your audience and how it applies to them The methodology you already described The key results What the findings mean to the field and how it is original and important

42 Sources of information Zobel Writing for Computer Science Strunk and White (2014) Elements of Style, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform Mander K. (1994) Writing for Humans

43 Sources of information How to Write a Great Research Paper Video (34:25) by Simon Peyton Jones Thimbleby, H (2008) Write now!, (in) Cairns. P & Cox, A. (eds.) Research Methods for Human-Computer Interaction, Cambridge University press, pp Pinker, S (2014) Why Academics Stink at Writing, The Chronicle of Higher Education Why Academics Stink at Writing Read literature critically for style - re-read papers, chapters that you found easy to read

44 Sources of information Truss, L. (2003) Eats shoots and leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation Profile Books Burchfield, R. W (2004) Fowler's Modern English Usage Oxford University Press How to Write an AbstractHow to Write an Abstract by Philip Koopman, Carnegie Mellon University

45 Exercise Instructions Groups of 2 – 3 Consult your tutor

46 Formative exercise topics 1. Formal methods in HCI 2. Designing for trust 3. Motivations of people in crowdsourcing 4. Effects of font size and line spacing of text on webpages - what should we be recommending to web developers use to make the web easiest for people to read?

47 1. Formal methods in HCI Harrison, M., Campos, J. C. & Loer, (2008) Formal analysis of interactive systems: opportunities and weaknesses. (in) P. Cairns & A. L. Cox (Eds), Research Methods for Human- Computer Interaction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp

48 2. Designing for trust Shneiderman, B. (2000) Designing trust into online experiences, Communications of the ACM, 43 (12) pp

49 3. Motivations of people in crowdsourcing Nov, O. (2007). What motivates Wikipedians? Communications of the ACM, 50(11),

50 4. Effects of font size and line spacing of text on webpages - what should we be recommending to web developers use to make the web easiest for people to read? Ling, J. and van Schaik, P. (2007). The influence of line spacing and text alignment on visual search of web pages. Displays, 28(2),

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