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Über dieses Buch

All researchers need to write or speak about their work, and to have research that is worth presenting. Based on the author's decades of experience as a researcher and advisor, this third edition provides detailed guidance on writing and presentations and a comprehensive introduction to research methods, the how-to of being a successful scientist.

Topics include:

· Development of ideas into research questions;

· How to find, read, evaluate and referee other research;

· Design and evaluation of experiments and appropriate use of statistics;

· Ethics, the principles of science and examples of science gone wrong.

Much of the book is a step-by-step guide to effective communication, with advice on:

· Writing style and editing;

· Figures, graphs and tables;

· Mathematics and algorithms;

· Literature reviews and referees’ reports;

· Structuring of arguments and results into papers and theses;

· Writing of other professional documents;

· Presentation of talks and posters.

Written in an accessible style and including handy checklists and exercises, Writing for Computer Science is not only an introduction to the doing and describing of research, but is a valuable reference for working scientists in the computing and mathematical sciences.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
Writing plays many roles in science. We use it to record events and clarify our thinking. We use it to communicate to our colleagues, as we explain concepts and discuss our work. And we use it to add to scientific knowledge, by contributing to books, journals, and conference proceedings.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 2. Getting Started

Abstract
There are many ways in which a research project can begin. It may be that a conversation with a colleague suggested interesting questions to pursue, or that your general interest in a topic was crystallized into a specific investigation by something learnt in a seminar, or that enrollment in a research degree forced you to identify a problem to work on. Then definite aims are stated; theories are developed or experiments are undertaken; and the outcomes are written up.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 3. Reading and Reviewing

Abstract
A novice researcher can believe that the doing of research is primarily about investigation—running experiments, developing theory, or doing analysis. With experience, though, researchers discover the importance of developing an understanding. It has been argued that many experimental researchers do their best work after they have been in a field for five years or more, because it takes time to acquire a deep, thorough appreciation of the area, and of existing knowledge and its limitations. To acquire this understanding, you need to become an effective reader of research papers.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 4. Hypotheses, Questions, and Evidence

Abstract
The first stages of a research program involve choice of interesting topics or problems, and then identification of particular issues to investigate. The research is given direction by development of specific questions that the program aims to answer. These questions are based on an understanding—an informal model, perhaps—of how something works, or interacts, or behaves. They establish a framework for making observations about the object being studied. This framework can be characterised as a statement of belief about how the object behaves—in other words, a hypothesis.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 5. Writing a Paper

Abstract
In every research project, a stage is reached at which it makes sense to begin to write up. A good principle is to begin early: if it is possible to start writing, then writing should start. Shaping the research and its outcomes into a write-up is an effective way of giving structure to a project, even if the work itself has not yet begun.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 6. Good Style

Abstract
There are many ways in which an idea can be expressed in English; writing can be verbose or cryptic, flowery or direct, poetic or literal. The manner of expression is the writing style. Style is not about correct use of grammar, but about how well you communicate with likely readers.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 7. Style Specifics

Abstract
Good style is about clear, easy-to-read writing, which can be achieved by following well-defined guidelines. These are not arbitrary rules, but are principles that experienced writers follow. In the previous chapter, some of these principles were reviewed. This chapter concerns a range of specific problems that are common in technical writing.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 8. Punctuation

Abstract
Punctuation is a fundamental skill. Anyone reading this book is familiar with the functions of spaces, commas, stops, and capital letters. This chapter concerns stylistic issues of punctuation and errors that are common in science writing.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 9. Mathematics

Abstract
Mathematics gives solidity to abstract concepts. As for writing in general, there are well-established conventions of presentation for mathematics and mathematical concepts. Reading mathematics is difficult work at the best of times, unpleasant work if the mathematics is badly presented, and pointless if the mathematics does not make sense.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 10. Algorithms

Abstract
In many computer science papers, the core contribution is a family of algorithms. These algorithms are often the product of months of work; the version that the researchers have decided to submit for publication is typically based on a great deal of discussion, brainstorming, prototyping, testing, analysis, and debate over details. Yet in many cases this effort is not reflected in the presentation. Not only are the steps of the algorithm often not made clear, but there is no discussion of why the reader should believe that the algorithm is correct, or believe that its behaviour is reasonable. An algorithm by itself is uninteresting; what is of value is an algorithm that has been shown to solve a problem.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 11. Graphs, Figures, and Tables

Abstract
Well-chosen illustrations breathe life into a paper, giving the reader interesting visual elements to browse and highlighting the central results and ideas. A typical figure consists of visual matter such as a graph or diagram, or of textual matter such as a table, algorithm, or, less commonly, complex mathematics. Some information is best presented in a pictorial form, such as a graph or figure, to show trends and relationships. Other information is best as a table, to show regularities. This chapter concerns style issues related to such material.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 12. Other Professional Writing

Abstract
Many computing graduates find that, once they enter the profession, writing is a surprisingly large component of their daily work. Researchers expect to have to write papers, book chapters, grant applications, and so on; while computing professionals expect to write material such as project and code documentation, manuals, and acceptance records. However, they might well also find themselves having to write other expert material, such as project proposals, technical assessments, tenders, purchase recommendations, reports to managements, descriptive material for the Web, or any of a wide range of kinds of document that are required in large organizations.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 13. Editing

Abstract
The writing of a paper begins with a rough draft, perhaps based on records of experiments or sketches of a couple of theorems. It will probably include material produced during the project, such as notes taken in meetings, reviews of literature, emails discussing the research question, and text from sources such as progress reports. The next phase usually consists of filling out the draft to form a contiguous whole: explaining concepts, adding background material, arranging the structure to give a logical flow of ideas. Finally, the paper is polished by correcting mistakes, improving written expression, and taking care of layout. Although it does not change the quality of the research, it is this last phase—the styling of the paper—that has the most impact on a reader. It should not be neglected, however strong the ideas being communicated.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 14. Experimentation

Abstract
The use of experiments to verify hypotheses is one of the central elements of science. In computing, experiments—most commonly an implementation tried against test data—are used for purposes such as confirming hypotheses about algorithms and systems. An experiment can verify, for example, that a system can complete a specified task, and can do so with reasonable use of resources. A tested hypothesis becomes part of scientific knowledge if it is sufficiently well described and constructed, and if it is convincingly demonstrated.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 15. Statistical Principles

Abstract
We use experiments and take observations to study the behaviour of a system, to test hypotheses, to investigate the effect of manipulations and optimizations, and, overall, to produce evidence for our arguments. The elementary material of evidence is measurement: the reduction of complex phenonema to numerical scores that can be recorded, compared, and analyzed.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 16. Presentations

Abstract
Scientists often have to talk about their work in front of an audience. Even experienced speakers can feel intimidated when they have to give a presentation, but the main challenges can be addressed with a straightforward approach based on good preparation, careful development of materials, and familiarity with the possible pitfalls. A nervous researcher needs practice to become an accomplished public speaker, but with the right approach even a first talk can be successful.
Justin Zobel

Chapter 17. Ethics

Abstract
Science is built on trust. Researchers are expected to be honest, and research is assumed to have been undertaken ethically.
Justin Zobel

Backmatter

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