Electronic submission of documents is becoming more common as e-mail is being used widely. This system will facilitate the citation of sources by identifying a specific paragraph for reference very quickly. Spacing Between Words In general, leave one space between words and one space after every comma, semi-colon, or colon. Traditionally, two spaces are required at the end of every sentence whether the sentence ends with a period, a question mark, or an exclamation mark.
Although it is not wrong to leave two spaces after a period, it is quite acceptable nowadays to leave only one space after each punctuation mark. However, NO space should be left in front of a punctuation mark; for example, the following would be incorrect: op.
Use the width of your thumb as a rough guide. Your instructor may give you a choice to indent or not to indent your paragraphs. No matter whichever one you choose to use, you must be consistent throughout your essay.
If you are NOT indenting, you will start each paragraph flush to the left margin. Example: We decided not to consider the alternative, for various reasons. Tell the reader the reasons! Avoid nonreferential use of "this", "that", "these", "it", and so on Ullman pet peeve. Requiring explicit identification of what "this" refers to enforces clarity of writing.
Here is a typical example of nonreferential "this": Our experiments test several different environments and the algorithm does well in some but not all of them. This is important because Italics are for definitions or quotes, not for emphasis Gries pet peeve.
Your writing should be constructed such that context alone provides sufficient emphasis. People frequently use "which" versus "that" incorrectly.
Examples of correct use: The algorithms that are easy to implement all run in linear time. The algorithms, which are easy to implement, all run in linear time.
You may not be ready to write full English paragraphs, but you can decide which sections your paper will have and give them descriptive titles. At this point, since you know the exact topic of each paragraph, you will find the paragraph easy to write. While elegant variation may be appropriate in poems, novels, and some essays, it is not acceptable in technical writing, where you should clearly define terms when they are first introduced, then use them consistently. It just distracts from the important content.
This is a particularly important piece of advice for software documentation, where you need to focus on the software's benefits to the user, and how to use it, rather than how you implemented it. Abstracts are typically extracted from each paper and published separately in an abstract listing, for readers to browse when deciding which papers they want to read in full or attend for the actual presentation of the paper. Choose the best word for the concept, and stick with it. Third, I am clever. In each sentence, move your reader from familiar information to new information. Key Parts of a Technical Paper The Writing Overview Once the requirements for the paper have been reviewed and the work has been completed and researched for technical value, the writing may begin.
Readers need to understand what the task is before they are convinced that they should pay attention to what you are saying about it. It is a very common error to dive into the technical approach or the implementation details without first appropriately framing the problem and providing motivation and background. For examples, see magazines such as Scientific American and American Scientist. A mistake sometimes made is to list the equipment used, as if it were a lab report.
The final two sections, Conclusion and References, are also relatively standard with their titling and content. You must also ensure that reader understands the significance or implications of the figure and what parts of it are most important. In your responses, admit your errors forthrightly. However, it holds for technical papers as well — and remember that readers expect different things from the two types of writing!
This may feel redundant to you the author , but readers haven't spent as much time with the paper's structure as you have, so they will truly appreciate these signposts that orient them within your text. If you know the flaws that will make the referees reject your paper, or the valid criticisms that they will raise, then don't submit the paper. Put figures at the top of the page, not in the middle or bottom. Don't be afraid to think before you write, or even jot down notes, diagrams, and so on. A paper should never first detail a technique, then without forewarning indicate that the technique is flawed and proceed to discuss another technique. Just as you should generally explain your technique first, and later show relationships with other work, it is also usually more effective to defer a detailed discussion of limitations to a later section rather than the main description of your technique.
People frequently use "which" versus "that" incorrectly. Good captions contain multiple sentences; the caption provides context and explanation. While elegant variation may be appropriate in poems, novels, and some essays, it is not acceptable in technical writing, where you should clearly define terms when they are first introduced, then use them consistently. This vital step can save a great deal of wasted effort. However, it's even better to put that information in the figure proper; for example, use labels or a legend. Do not write your paper as a chronological narrative of all the things that you tried, and do not devote space in the paper proportionately to the amount of time you spent on each task.