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:  Sally Chen
TA :

Course Description:


This course discusses the principles of conducting high quality research and composing decent pieces of technical writings in the area of computer science. Besides, writing strategies for a variety type of menuscripts, 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.

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)
12-Sep Introduction Choosing (research area, topic, advisor...)
26-Sep Break  
3-Oct Discussion: Proposal CV writing, Literature Survey
17-Oct How to do good research, Methodology Discussion: CV
24-Oct Discussion: literature Methodology, Ethics
31-Oct How to get your paper accepted   
7-Nov Discussing: Methodology  
Technical Writing First section (2:20-3:20) Second section (3:40-5:20)
14-Nov English Writing Tips  
21-Nov General tips for paper writing  Paper (Introduction)
28-Nov Paper (Content, bibliograph,methods)  Editing and reviewing papers (flaw), Slides and Presentation
5-Dec Discussing: Experiment and results  
12-Dec Paper (Experiment and Results) Dis: Intro
19-Dec Paper (Abstract and Conclusion) Dis: Methods
26-Dec Language Issues Statement of Purpose, manual, email
2-Jan How to get your paper accepted (II)  Dis: Experiment
9-Jan Life as a young researcher Dis: Conclusions