- Do a thorough job annotating to make your outlining and paper-writing easier in the end. Make marks on anything that you think might be remotely important or that could be put to use in your paper.
- As you mark off important pieces in the research, add your own commentary and notes explaining to yourself where you might use it in your paper. Writing down your ideas as you have them will make writing your paper much easier and give you something to refer back to.
- Try writing each quote or item that you marked onto an individual note card. That way, you can rearrange and lay out your cards however you would like.
- Color code your notes to make it easier. Write down a list of all the notes you are using from each individual resource, and then highlight each category of information in a different color. For example, write everything from a particular book or journal on a single sheet of paper in order to consolidate the notes, and then everything that is related to characters highlight in green, everything related to the plot mark in orange, et cetera.
Construct a preliminary bibliography/references page. As you go through your notes, mark down the author, page number, title, and publishing information for each resource. This will come in handy when you craft your bibliography or works cited page later in the game.
- An argumentative research paper takes a position on a contentious issue and argues for one point of view. The issue should be debatable with a logical counter argument.
- An analytic research paper offers a fresh look at an important issue. The subject may not be controversial, but you must attempt to persuade your audience that your ideas have merit. This is not simply a regurgitation of ideas from your research, but an offering of your own unique ideas based on what you have learned through research.
Determine your audience. Who would be reading this paper, should it be published? Although you want to write for your professor or other superior, it is important that the tone and focus of your paper reflect the audience who will be reading it. If you’re writing for academic peers, then the information you include should reflect the information you already know; you don’t need to explain basic ideas or theories. On the other hand, if you are writing for an audience who doesn’t know much about your subject, it will be important to include explanations and examples of more fundamental ideas and theories related to your research.
- An easy way to develop your thesis is to make it into a question that your essay will answer. What is the primary question or hypothesis that you are going to go about proving in your paper? For example, your thesis question might be “how does cultural acceptance change the success of treatment for mental illness?” This can then determine what your thesis is - whatever your answer to the question is, is your thesis statement.
- Your thesis should express the main idea of your paper without listing all of your reasons or outline your entire paper. It should be a simple statement, rather than a list of support; that’s what the rest of your paper is for!
- When you outline your main ideas, putting them in a specific order is important. Place your strongest points at the beginning and end of your essay, with more mediocre points placed in the middle or near the end of your essay.
- A single main point doesn’t have to be kept to a single paragraph, especially if you are writing a relatively long research paper. Main ideas can be spread out over as many paragraphs as you deem necessary.
Consider formatting guidelines. Depending on your paper rubric, class guidelines, or formatting guidelines, you may have to organize your paper in a specific way. For example, when writing in APA format you must organize your paper by headings including the introduction, methods, results, and discussion. These guidelines will alter the way you craft your outline and final paper.
Finalize your outline. With the aforementioned tips taken into consideration, organize your entire outline. Justify main points to the left, and indent subsections and notes from your research below each. The outline should be an overview of your entire paper in bullet points. Make sure to include in-text citations at the end of each point, so that you don’t have to constantly refer back to your research when writing your final paper.
Research Paper Guidelines
Behrooz Parhami: 2007/06/20 || E-mail: parhami at ece.ucsb.edu || Other contact info at: Bottom of this page
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The following is a suggested format for your course-related research or term paper. The general guidelines are followed by sample title pages.
Page 1 Title page should contain all of the following (see the sample title pages below):
Title of paper: max 20 words (make it short, yet descriptive); avoid abbreviations
Name of author
Telephone number(s) and e-mail address for quick contact in case of questions
"Research Paper for ECE x", where x is the course number (252B, 254B, etc.)
Quarter and year (e.g., "Winter 2020")
Body of abstract (summary of contributions and/or results; approx. 1 line per page)
"Keywords:" followed by 5 to 10 keywords and key phrases describing the content
Pages 2–k "1. INTRODUCTION"
Give background on the topic (provide context and include references on prior work), justify your interest in the topic, prepare the readers for what they will find in later sections, and summarize (in a few sentences) your main findings and/or contributions. This section must be kept short. If it exceeds, say, 3 pages, you may wish to break it up by including an additional section that covers the necessary details for one or more of the above aspects. Use a descriptive title such as "2. REVIEW OF PRIOR WORK" or "2. NOTABLE APPLICATIONS OF ... " for this section.
Pages (k+1)–l Body of the paper (10-20 pp. is considered reasonable) should consist of sections dealing with various aspects of the investigation as appropriate; e.g., theory, applications, design issues, tradeoffs, evaluation, experiments, comparisons with other methods or approaches. Don't be afraid to compare, criticize, and generally leave your personal mark on the paper. There is no general rule, except that subdivisions must be coherent and of reasonable length. Avoid the extremes of single-paragraph and 10-page sections. For very long sections, consider dividing up or moving some details to an appendix. If you present performance or speed-up comparisons for your ECE 254B research paper, then make sure to read:
Crowl, L.A., "How to Measure, Present, and Compare Parallel Performance", IEEE Parallel & Distributed Technology (now IEEE Concurrency), Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 9-25, Spring 1994.
Pages (l+1)–m "q. CONCLUSION"
Give a brief summary (in a few sentences) of what has been presented and/or accomplished. Emphasize the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed approach, technique, or design. Discuss possible extensions of the work and any interesting/open problem that you can envisage. Like the INTRODUCTION, this section must be fairly short.
Pages (m+1)–n "REFERENCES"
Provide complete bibliographic information for each reference (see any paper in IEEE Trans. Computers for examples). As a rule of thumb, citing 5-20 references is reasonable; review or survey-type papers tend to have much more extensive bibliographies and original contributions breaking new ground may have fewer references. However, don't take this rule too seriously.
Figures/Tables If possible, include each figure or table close to where it is first referenced in the text. Figures and tables must be numbered and have descriptive captions. Elements of figures (boxes, curves, axes) and tables (columns and/or rows) must be clearly labeled, with units shown where appropriate. Do not copy/paste figures or tables from books, journals, or conference papers.
Special Notes I will keep all submitted papers and will return to you my comments on a separate sheet or in an e-mail message. Please make a copy for yourself before submitting. Plagiarism, in any form (outright copying or failure to properly credit ideas), will not be tolerated and will result in a failing grade.
There are many good references to help you with research methodology and technical writing. The following book, which covers writing techniques, research methods, refereeing, and oral presentations is particularly recommended.
Zobel, J., Writing for Computer Science, Springer, 2nd ed., 2004. [T11.Z62 2004]
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Sample title page #1 for a research paper:
A Procedure for Writing A-Level Research Papers
in Computer Arithmetic
A. Mark Earner
(987) 654-3210 Office
(123) 456-7890 Home
Research Paper for ECE 252B
The importance of earning good grades in graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses is well-recognized in academic circles. Although many instructors assign course grades in a seemingly random fashion, numerous studies have shown that the quality of a student’s work does in fact affect the final course grade. In this paper, I present a detailed procedure for submitting successful (A-level) papers in the field of computer arithmetic. The procedure starts with the important step of selecting the paper topic and continues with finding relevant references, taking notes, doing the actual research, organizing the material, writing the paper, and going through the appeals process if the final grade turns out to be unsatisfactory. Experimental results were obtained by asking 80 students to apply the procedure in producing their term papers for ECE 252B over a period of four years. Some 75% of these students earned grades of A+ or A, 15% ended up with A–, and the remaining 10% failed the course because the instructor discovered that they had copied papers published many years ago in certain obscure conferences.Keywords: Cheating, Course grades, Grade-point average, Graduate courses, How-to guide, Research paper, Student performance evaluation, Term paper.
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Sample title page #2 for a research paper:
The VLSI Approach to Computational Complexity*
Ann X. Student
(987) 654-3210 Office
(123) 456-7890 Home
Research Paper for ECE 254B
Advanced Computer Architecture: Parallel Processing
The rapid advances of VLSI and the trend toward the decrease of the geometrical feature size, through the submicron and the subnano to the subpico, and beyond, have dramatically reduced the cost of VLSI circuitry. As a result, many traditionally unsolvable problems can now (or will in the near future) be easily implemented using VLSI technology. In recent years, the cost of VLSI components has decreased exponentially. Hence, the application of an exponential number of processors does not cause any cost increase, and the application of only a polynomial number of processors leads to substantial cost savings. A system having an exponential number of processors will be able to solve many NP-complete problems in polynomial time. Furthermore, plotting processor costs as a function of time reveals that the cost of VLSI processors will soon become negative. Undoubtedly, this trend will create a competition for solving the same problem with more processors. We conclude that with the rapid advances of VLSI technology anything is possible and that the worth of a research paper is directly proportional to the number of processors in the system being proposed.
Keywords: Computational complexity, Concurrency, Massive parallelism, Negative-cost elements, NP-complete problems, Parallel processing, VLSI.
* Copied, with some modifications, from a piece of the same title by Danny Cohen,
in VLSI Systems and Computations, Computer Science Press, 1981, pp. 124-125.
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