Reports and Papers

How to write papers?



It is important before committing to a revolution to educate ourselves. That makes the literature review section in your papers very important. Next, you should know, before committing to writing your paper, what your message is. That is why you need to prepare. The forms below are meant to help you in that procss through critically questioning your work and your message.

Master project check-list.

Before you start writing, make sure you have an idea what you are going to do!


Writing procedure

Title, chapters and sub-chapters

The title of your paper is like you whole work in one single sentence, no longer than two lines. What will you put there? An efficient way to synthesize a nice title for your paper is to write down all key words and results in your project and try to make sense out of these. Put the a draft title of your paper as soon as possbile, since it will help you keep focused in the procss of writing the paper.

Further, you need to fix the structure of your paper. This will be the skeleton of your paper. From a helicopter view, lookat your work and identify the main parts. Put these as chapters and sub-chapters in your empty paper. Try to divide your presentation into logical, connected part. When you read the table of contents of your paper, it should make sense and give an idea what the paper is about. 

Figures, tables, formulas

Then, add the key figures, tables and formulas that you want to use. But write no text!!! At this stage the text would only blur the logical flow of the paper. So, no text - add only the data, e.g. figures, tables and formulas together with their captions. Now, you will have a title, a structures (the chapters) and the illustrative arguments (figures, tables and formulas). The paper is already taking a form. An expert in the field should be able now to infer what your message is.

Abstract and conclusion

Now, you may write the abstract and conclusions. However, first think about what an abstract and what a conclusion is.

The abstract is all your work put in a paragraph. Put in the abstract what this paper is about, what you do in your work and what your key results are. Give a reason to the readers why they should read your paper. What are your main novelties? What are your main contributions?

The conclusion is all important lessons that can be learnt from your paper. What do you want the reader to remember? What are your key results and where they will head us to?

Body text

Finally, you can write down the text. You have the structure the structure of the paper, you have the key illustrative material and you have the abstract and the conclusions - you are ready to write your story about these. Try using short sentences in present simple tense. Avoid past and future. Once the paper is written it loses the dimension of time. Prefer short clear sentences, e.g. using only one or two verbs, but maximum three verbs in a sentence! If you reread a sentence and you realize that removing parts of it will still communicate the intended message, then remove these parts. Facilitate the reader by providing an easily digestable text. Try using active voice, i.e. in a sentence it should be clear who is the actor. Avoid passive voice.


Conclusions vs summary

Abstract vs executive summary

What to put in the paper body and what in the appendix of the paper

Literature review and comparison against the state-of-the-art

Criteria for evaluation