Technical Writing and Research Methods (2008, 3 credits)


Instructor: Prof. Shou-de Lin (

Classroom: CSIE 107

Meeting Time: Thur 2:20-5:20 pm

Office Hour:  Thur after class or by appointment


Course Website:

Course Description:


This course discussion the principles of composing decent pieces of technical writings and conducting high quality computer science research. We will discussion strategies for different types of writing, including academic papers, presentation slides, resume/CV, statement of purpose, and popular science articles. In addition, advanced knowledge and principles about research will be introduced.

In this course, the students will run through the whole process of researching, which includes the selection of topics, literature review, experiment design and evaluation, technical paper writing and popular science paper writing. The course will lay emphasis more on research and writing than on language. However, students are expected to use English for most of the writing assignments and the lecturer will provide necessary assistance in language when opportunity presents itself. The course will be divided evenly into lecture and discussion sections. The discussion section will focus mainly on improving the writing and research skill of each individual student through editing and commenting on the submitted homework.

The enrollment will be limited to maintain the quality of the discussion and editing, and priority will be given to Ph.D. and higher-level MS students. Students are expected to investigate a decent amount of efforts in learning.




 Homework assignments and presentations (100%)


Recommend Readings:


(1) How To Write & Publish a Scientific Paper, Robert Day, 5th Edition, Oryx Press/Greenwood Publishing, ISBN: 1573561657.


(2) Writing for Computer Science, Justin Zobel, 2nd Edition, Springer-Verlag, ISBN: 1852338024


(3) The Elements of Style, William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, 4th Edition, Pearson Allyn & Bacon/Longman Publishers, ISBN: 0205313426


(4) Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills: A Course for Nonnative Speakers of English. John M. Swales, Christine B. Feak University of Michigan Press/ESL, ISBN: 0472082639


(5) Handbook of Technical Writing, 8th edition Gerald J. Alred (Author), Charles T. Brusaw (Author), Walter E. Oliu (Author) , ISBN: 0312352670


(6) Graduate Research: A Guide for Students in the Sciences, Robert V. Smith


(7) The Ph.D. process : a student's guide to graduate school in the sciences , Dale F. Bloom, Jonathan D. Karp, Nicholas Cohen


(8) Advice for a Young Investigator, Santiago Ramón y Cajal (Chinese translation 研究科學的第一步 : 給年輕探索者的建議)



Syllabus (Note that the materials will be different from the previous years, and the loading are heavier):

Research Methods)

First section (2:20-3:30)

Second section (3:50-5:20)



Choosing (research area, topic, advisor...)


literature survey, Proposal Writing


CV writing


Discussion: Proposal (Due Sep 30th 5pm)



Discussion: CV(due Oct 3 11pm)


Discussion: Literature (due Oct 14)


Discussion: Methodology (due Oct 21)

Technical Writing

First section (2:20-3:20)

Second section (3:40-5:20)


General tips for paper writing 

Paper (Introduction), Popular Science Writing


Discussion: Experiment and Results (due Nov 4)


Paper (Content, bibliograph,methods) 

Editing and reviewing papers (flaw)


Paper (Experiment and Results)

Discussion: Into (due Nov 9th)


Paper (Abstract and Conclusion)

Discussion: Methods (due Nov 18)


Slides and Presentation

Discussion: Experiment (due Nov 25)


Statement of Purpose

Discussion: Conclusions (due Dec 2)


Writing manual and email

Discussion: PS writing (due Nov 22)


Language (English)  Issues


Final Presentation