Questions tagged [writing]

Academic writing is intended for a critical and informed audience, based on closely investigated knowledge, and posits ideas or arguments.

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109
votes
7answers
19k views

Choice of personal pronoun in single-author papers

Which personal pronoun is appropriate in single-author papers - 'I' or 'we'? Could the use of 'I' be considered egotistical? Or will the use of 'we' be considered to be grammatically incorrect?
34
votes
4answers
21k views

Can I reuse part of a paper for my thesis?

I am finishing writing my master's thesis (~100 pages) and I also just submitted a paper (8 pages) to a conference. Since both are on the same subject and I am an author on both, is it ok if I reuse ...
24
votes
1answer
1k views

Getting secondary citations right

I have some questions regarding secondary citations (in an computer-science research paper that should be published in a journal). I know that they should be avoided when possible, but it is not ...
12
votes
5answers
4k views

How should I cite a website URL?

I am currently writing a report and I have been compiling a list of references (from IEEE mostly) and I also have a number of websites. My question is, what is the best way to note a website URL? ...
112
votes
13answers
98k views

Software to draw illustrative figures in papers [closed]

I would like to have suggestions of good software for drawing illustrations in research papers. I already know about Xfig, but this works only on Linux and is at times, clunky when it comes to text. ...
71
votes
7answers
12k views

Why use version control systems for writing a paper?

I am following the advice of @Piotr Migdal in Is there an internet Git-like repository for collaboration on a paper?, and I want to ask about version controls: how beneficial are they (specially under ...
47
votes
4answers
3k views

Simplest way to jointly write a manuscript?

As with many papers in the sciences, there are multiple authors who aren't physically close to each other. I was curious about the most efficient and simplest way to technically share the writing. On ...
21
votes
8answers
6k views

Can an emotional letter of motivation be harmful in a PhD application?

Today some of my friends were discussing a motivation letter. One friend's application was rejected. One reason his friends find out is that the letter of motivation is very emotional. So I was ...
30
votes
3answers
14k views

Dissertation acknowledgements

I'm at the stage in writing my dissertation where most of the substantive aspects are finished and the only tasks left are more or less administrative. However, one thing that I've been avoiding is ...
70
votes
10answers
4k views

How to write an academic paper for the first time?

While writing an answer to that question, I realized I don't really have a good list of resources that could be useful to first-time authors, like MSc or PhD students who write their first paper. I ...
83
votes
7answers
36k views

Use of first person in a PhD Thesis

Is there a non written rule to which person to use in the PhD thesis, 5 years of using "We" in the papers have brought me to the innate necessity to do it every time I describe something. Recently, ...
11
votes
4answers
76k views

How to cite sources written in a different language than English?

Assume one wants to cite a paper written in a different language than the article citing said paper (e.g., ones own article is written in English, but the source is French). How to properly handle ...
18
votes
4answers
4k views

Are spelling and/or grammar mistakes a cause for submitting Errata?

During my studies I've read a number of published articles where spelling mistakes have somehow squeaked through the review process. For example, I have found a paper with a section entitled ...
61
votes
2answers
17k views

In what tense (present/past) should papers be written?

That is, should it be present tense or past tense? Should there be a difference between the abstract, main body and the conclusion? Does the field of publication have any impact?
37
votes
7answers
5k views

Any place for people with fear of writing?

This isn't the best moment to ask the question, since I should be writing an overdue document and presentation. However, is there any place where a person with fear of writing can work? I am ...
41
votes
4answers
2k views

How to find ways to proofread English in papers

As a non-native speaker of English, it can often be hard to spot some of the errors that a native speaker would find. For a long time, I've been thinking about getting a native speaker to help me with ...
42
votes
6answers
32k views

Is it mandatory to include the registered trademark symbol ® next to the name of a computer program?

Suppose you write a paper and you use Wolfram Mathematica to do calculations. In the article, should the program be mentioned with the registered-trademark symbol immediately following the name and in ...
34
votes
5answers
8k views

What suggestions should I make when reviewing a poorly written paper?

Since I need a break from the reviewing... Often in my field I review papers from researchers in Asia (reviews are not double blind) which are poorly written. By poorly written, I don't mean that the ...
9
votes
4answers
26k views

How to reference studies mentioned in a paper without having to read the original papers?

I'm review the literature at the moment. Now I'm reading a paper that mention other studies. How can I reference them without reading the original papers?
8
votes
3answers
23k views

How do I cite same reference multiple times in a paper?

I am writing a report on CPUs and I need to constantly need to cite technical information from a single reference multiple times throughout the report, specifically the datasheet for an Intel ...
31
votes
4answers
1k views

How to improve technical writing

Whenever I write an article, I feel the result is not good enough. Although every theorem is solid and correctly proven, something is always "squeaky". The main evidence for my feeling shows itself ...
31
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you “grow your own” post doc opportunity?

I am a finishing doctoral student (graduation in ~7-9 months) and I would love to get an year or so of postdoctoral experience. I've come to understand that a postdoc is generally paid by funds ...
40
votes
6answers
4k views

Should I write a paper on open-source software I've built?

I have been fairly active in the open-source software community with a few projects that have gotten some attention. However, my reputation in the academic/publications world is a little bit low and I'...
44
votes
5answers
3k views

Writing papers in language X and translating to English vs. writing papers in English to begin with?

I'm working with a group in China, and we were discussing the following question, which I would like to ask here too: Question: Is it better to write a paper in Chinese, then translate it into ...
17
votes
2answers
834 views

Conjugation: Do we cite authors or papers?

When referencing to another work in a scientific paper, do we cite the paper or its author(s)? This question is intended to clarify the conjugation of the verb that follows the reference -- ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Active or Passive Voice in International research journal, within the field of microorganism?

I have been composing the International journal for microbiology research. I learn that research journal should consist of active voice not passive, but I find that the previous researchers for ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

How much of humor in a formal academic writing is considered as disrespect? [duplicate]

In a formal academic writing (in the everyday sense), is it appropriate to use phrases such as "step out on" to titillate the reader? Since I am not a native English speaker, and since I have not ...
69
votes
3answers
35k views

What's the point in “the paper is structured as follows”?

Inspired by the recent question on list of figures: what is the point of ending your introduction with a paragraph saying "The paper is structured as follows: in Section 1 we do BLAH, then in Section ...
34
votes
7answers
1k views

Resources on how to overcome writer's block, especially for non-native English speakers?

One of the issues we have at my English-language institute is the problem of getting our doctoral students to write papers in English. For some, writing isn't a big challenge. For others, however, the ...
51
votes
7answers
5k views

How do I overcome fear of rejection when writing academic papers?

I don't know how to put it. I have never published before. Previously my one paper was rejected, that was because the experiments were not ready and my advisor asked me to still submit it just to have ...
39
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there an internet Git-like repository for collaboration on a paper?

I've just started using git for tracking changes in a LaTeX paper I'm writing, and for collaboration with co-authors. However, I cannot find easily private git repositories with reasonable plans for ...
30
votes
4answers
7k views

When and why a scientific technical report is written?

While making some paper search in my scientific field, sometimes I find articles that are not published in journals or conference proceedings, but as technical reports. In my experience, I've never ...
24
votes
4answers
107k views

What is the standard/recommended font to use in papers?

I looked around but did not find that anyone has asked this before, but what are the fonts that are standard/recommended while writing academic reports/papers?
16
votes
5answers
1k views

What are we expected to do when citing literature?

Open any research article and it is littered with citations. I’ve recently been wondering what is expected of us when citing the literature: Are we expected to cite every reference relevant to our ...
22
votes
5answers
411 views

Are there any good strategies for conveying the true significance of the results that look obvious post factum?

In nearly any field there is a number of important results which look obvious to experts post factum but somehow are not that easy to come by in the first place (e.g. in mathematics some important ...
14
votes
3answers
10k views

How to send a research proposal to find potential PhD supervisor?

I am trying to look for a PhD position by contacting potential supervisors through email. I have made a list of professors who I found interesting through searching some papers and their department ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the general protocol to name something after somebody (some people)?

In mathematics (and other sciences) there are thousands of concepts, theorems, lemmas, etc which are named after some mathematicians (scientists). However, this nominations are not always very ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How to use copyrighted images in an article?

I have developed an educational software in which I make use of some copyrighted images, for example from Disney, and am now writing an article about it. How should I reference or cite that those ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Should supervisors read acknowledgments before the printed version of the thesis?

I'm finishing my M.Sc. thesis and I sent it to my supervisors so that they can read it. In the final version, I would like to insert an acknowledgements page where I thank them. Should I include it ...
66
votes
5answers
142k views

How to write a strong introduction into a research paper?

How does one write a strong (good) introduction into a research paper? Some introductions make me really curious about the rest of the paper while others do not. Although it is relatively easy to say ...
57
votes
8answers
150k views

What is the difference between Abstract, conclusion and summary?

The above question is self explanatory, still I would like to break it into two parts. Q1. What is the difference between abstract and summary/conclusion? Q2. What is the difference between summary ...
107
votes
15answers
27k views

Why are research papers written in language that's difficult for undergraduate students?

As an undergraduate student, I find it hard to understand research papers on any particular subject. Why don't researchers use simple language for their reports, so that everyone would understand? ...
54
votes
11answers
6k views

How to make thesis-writing feel less tedious?

I'm about to finish my master's thesis on a TCS topic (algorithms). I'm quite happy with my results; the most engaging part of the thesis was grappling with getting up to speed on the state of the art,...
30
votes
5answers
55k views

How to write a Ph.D. thesis Introduction chapter?

I am in the process of writing my Ph.D. thesis and struggling with the introduction chapter, what to cover, what not. This is a technical thesis. The broad area is molecular simulation in statistical ...
43
votes
5answers
2k views

How can we promote better writing skills in academic education?

This question may be too wide or in some perspective perceived as unclear but covers a key issue (for me) in academia, namely, academic writing. Students start their academic career with varying ...
24
votes
6answers
4k views

How do academics find time to write books?

Books covering primarily academic topics, from philosophy and neuroscience to physics and geopolitics, are usually written (not surprisingly) by experts in the field, which are normally academics ...
36
votes
6answers
150k views

How can I cite the same reference in successive sentences?

I've just read a paper that cited the same reference in two successive sentences: This is the first sentence (xxxx 2013). This is the second sentence (xxxx 2013). Up until now, I would have ...
39
votes
4answers
3k views

Collaborative paper-writing with non-LaTeX-using colleagues

Background: I work in a field where the use of LaTeX is common but still far from universal. So far I have been lucky in that all my coauthors in the past have been fellow LaTeX users, so ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

In writing a paper, how far can criticism of previous works go?

What are the appropriate limits when criticizing the previously published work of others that you're citing in a paper? Are there limits with respect to maintaining decorum and decency?
20
votes
3answers
4k views

Motivation to write the dreaded dissertation

Ok... so I have hated graduate school since day one but have slogged through because I couldn't find anything else to do (I have applied for hundreds of jobs as an escape route with no success). It ...