Writing a scientific paper or report...
There are no recipies but lots of advice and some elementary rules...
Rule # 1: State your sources!
- You must explicitly state the sources you use.
- Any book, paper, report, web page, etc. that have been used in producing your paper must be identified in the Bibliography section of your paper.
- In the text of your paper, refer explicitly to the sources you use or rely on, that is, from which you have learned ideas, distinctions, concepts, methods, principles. The only exception is trivial, uncontroversial facts (e.g., 'the Earth is round').
- Any piece of text you copy from a source (phrases, sentences, paragraphs) must be indicated by quotation marks ("
") and a reference to the source.
- Any kind of graphics you copy from a source or otherwise use (diagrams, photos, drawings, tables) must be indicated by a reference to the source (preferably in the caption).
Rule # 2: The World Wide Web is not a scientific authority
- The World Wide Web is an enormously useful resource for scientific work.
By using Google, one can often find free digital copies of relevant papers that have been published in scientific journals or conference proceedings. This way of searching for scholarly literature is not reliable, however, as it is based on somebody's making copyright-protected material available free of charge.
- For an excellent and increasingly comprehensive index of scientific publications use Google Scholar. This search engine is organized on the basis of citation indexation. It prioritizes the list of publications returned by a query by the number of citations the listed publications have received and gives links to the papers in which the publication has been cited. It's a great tool for obtaining an overview of a field or of a particular author's work.
- Dont' forget that ITU students have free access to a large amount of scientific papers (via the ITU Library's DADS).
- The web is of course also an excellent source of other valid materials (e.g., software specifications, protocol standards, etc.).
- But the Web is also a distribution channel of massive hype, misinformation, obscurantism, and sheer nonsense! The World Wide Web is not a scientific authority.
- Be alert! Be very critical!
- When using a web-page that is not scientifically authoritative, state your reasons for using it!
Other important considerations
A good introduction to the essentials of scientific writing can be found here:
- Sørensen, Carsten: This is Not an Article - Just Some Food for Thoughts on How to Write One. Report. Information Systems. The London School of Economics and Political Science, 2000. Download pdf file.
A guide to formatting the paper or report can be found here.
A selection of exemplary master theses and project reports in CSCW can be found here.