Technical Writing and Research Methods (2012, 3 credits)


Instructor: Prof. Shou-de Lin (

Classroom: CSIE 310

Meeting Time: Th 2:20-5:20 pm (note that this course is for Ph.D. students only)

Office Hour:  Th after class or by appointment

Guest Lecturer
TA :

Course Description:


This course discusses the principles of conducting high quality research in the area of computer science and composing decent pieces of technical writings. Although we will mainly focus on sharing the knowledge about how to conduct high-quality research and create technical papers to report such results, strategies for a variety type of writing, including presentation slides, resume/CV, statement of purpose, and popular science articles will also be discussed.

This course adopts the concept of learning by doing, which means the students will experience through the whole process of researching, including the selection of topics, literature review, experiment design and evaluation, technical paper writing (for advanced readers) and popular science paper writing (for normal readers). 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 goal of discussion sections is to improve the writing and research skill of each individual student through editing and commenting on the submitted homework.

The enrollment will be limited to 20 people to maintain the quality of the discussion and editing, and priority will be given to Ph.D. and then higher-level MS students. Students are expected to investigate a decent amount of efforts in learning, just like a regular graduate level course.




 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 Ramon y Cajal (Chinese translation 研究科學的第一步 : 給年輕探索者的建議)



Research Methods First section (2:20-3:20) Second section (3:40-5:20) Grading
13-Sep Introduction Choosing (research area, topic, advisor...)  
20-Sep literature survey, Proposal Writing CV writing, Methodology  
27-Sep Discussion: Proposal   Proposal Due 9/25
4-Oct Experiment Discussion: CV CV Deu 10/2
11-Oct Discussion: literature   Literature Due 10/9
18-Oct How to get your paper accepted     
25-Oct Discussing: Methodology   Methodology due 10/23
Technical Writing First section (2:20-3:20) Second section (3:40-5:20)  
1-Nov General tips for paper writing  Paper (Introduction)  
8-Nov Paper (Content, bibliograph,methods)  Editing and reviewing papers (flaw), Ethics  
22-Nov Discussing: Experiment and results   Experiment due 11/20
29-Nov Paper (Experiment and Results) Dis: Intro Intro(W) due Nov 15
6-Dec Paper (Abstract and Conclusion) Dis: Methods Methods(W) Due Nov 22
13-Dec Slides and Presentation How to get your paper accepted (II)   
20-Dec Statement of Purpose, manual, email Dis: Experiment Experiment(W) due Dec 6
27-Dec Language Issues Dis: Conclusions Conclusion(W) due Dec 13
3-Jan Final Presentation