Dissertation Writing comms ug

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Information about Dissertation Writing comms ug

Published on November 27, 2007

Author: Mahugani

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Slide1:  Dissertation Writing Workshop Robert Blake SLDC & Nicola Longden, Communication Systems Slide2:  An overview of technical report writing structure Tailoring the report structure to your project Technical writing and referencing WORKSHOP OUTLINE Slide3:  In addition to this main workshop presentation, there is a handout containing supplementary information This handout is split into 4 parts: 1) What Lecturers are Looking for in Your Dissertation 2) Structure of sections before and after the main body of the dissertation 3) Technical writing reference information 4) Final checklists WORKSHOP SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL (I) Slide4:  Parts 1 and 4 are stand alone and do not need to be read in conjunction with sections from the main presentation Part 2 should be read with the “overview of technical report writing structure” section of this presentation Part 3 should be read with the “technical writing inc. references!” section of this presentation WORKSHOP SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL (II) Slide5:  Your dissertation is your way to show what you have achieved during your project This is the only thing that will be assessed Bear in mind that your dissertation will not only be read by your project supervisor THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DISSERTATION (I) Slide6:  You need to lead your readers through your project from the idea and aims behind it, to what you have done, and then to the conclusions you can draw from your work You should include discussion of solutions that you didn’t choose and explain why Do not be afraid to discuss what went wrong but ensure that you provide reasons for what happened THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DISSERTATION (II) Slide7:  WRITING FOR THE READER Before you start writing, think about who the readers will be. Who are you writing for? Then make sure you write in a manner & level of detail appropriate for them Explain to your reader why & what you did, what the outcome was Write concisely whilst explaining clearly. Write in good formal technical English that is clear, accurate & reader friendly. Slide8:  PART 1: AN OVERVIEW OF TECHNICAL REPORT WRITING STRUCTURE Slide9:  We’ll start with 2 questions: What is the conventional format for technical reports? What are the main sections you expect to see in a technical report? TECHNICAL REPORT STRUCTURE Slide10:  TECHNICAL REPORT STRUCTURE Title page Abstract Contents list (inc. List of figs, List of Tables, List of Acronyms) Glossary Introduction Background Methods Results Discussion of results Conclusions/Future work / Evaluation References Acknowledgements Appendices Slide11:  TECHNICAL REPORT STRUCTURE: IMRAD+ C The core sections of a technical report are IMRaD Introduction Methods Results & Discussion Or IMRaD + C i.e. with the addition of a Conclusion Slide12:  IMRAD & C DIAGRAM The diagram shows the shape of the IMRaD & C structure Note how in the introduction the focus of the report is broad before focusing on your specific study The structure remains narrowly focused in the Methods & Results but gradually broadens in the Discussion & Conclusion Introduction Method Results Discussion Conclusions and Further Work Slide13:  SECTIONS BEFORE THE MAIN BODY OF THE REPORT Title (see slides 10-12 of supp. mat.) Abstract Table of Contents (see slide 13 of supp. mat.) Lists of Figures, Tables, Formulae and Acronyms (see slide 14 of supp. mat.) Glossary (see slide 15 of supp. mat.) NB – You may be required to insert a declaration after the title page Slide14:  THE ABSTRACT (I) This is one of the most difficult parts of the dissertation to write It should give your reader a brief but complete summary or overview of the entire dissertation from aims to conclusions From the abstract alone, your reader should know what you have done and found out It is the last thing that your write – how can you write about your entire dissertation before you have finished it? Slide15:  THE ABSTRACT (II) Typically 100 to 200 words in length One paragraph Highly succinct Is not an introduction 1st section to be read, therefore important Slide16:  THE CONTENTS PAGE (I) Needs to be self explanatory Gives a clear overview of structure Uses headings to guide the reader through the report structure Uses numbering, indentation, subheadings (especially in long reports). You can use automated features in MS Word to do this [index, tables, cross reference, page numbers] Slide17:  THE CONTENTS PAGE (II) 1 Introduction 1 1.1 Overview…………………………. 1 1.2 Aims…………………………………. 3 2 Exercise 1 5 2.1 Method……..…………………….. 5 2.2 Results……….……………………. 7 2.3 Analysis…..………………………..10 Slide18:  THE CONTENTS PAGE (III) Your chapters, sections & subsections should be numbered in the same way When you use figures you should also include a List of Figures with Figure number Figure caption / description Page number The same applies for tables Slide19:  SECTION NUMBERING NB – The section numbers that you list in the table of contents should match the numbers given to those sections in the main body of the dissertation e.g. Chapter 1 Introduction … 1.1 Project Aims … Numbering should start with the Introduction and end with the Conclusion or final chapter before References. Appendices should be numbered independently Slide20:  SECTIONS IN THE MAIN BODY OF THE REPORT Introduction Background Methods Results Discussion Conclusions and Further Work Slide21:  THE INTRODUCTION (I) This sets the scene for the dissertation, by introducing information needed to understand the rest of the dissertation It gives : brief background to the study explains reason[s] for the work carried out briefly explains connections with previous work (referencing!) can include a time plan for your project Slide22:  THE INTRODUCTION (II) At the end of the introduction explain your aims clearly introduce how you will address these explain briefly how the report is structured (signposting) Slide23:  BACKGROUND This provides the detailed information and explanations needed to understand the rest of the dissertation You’ll explain connections with previous work i.e. reviewing relevant technical papers (referencing!) This is the section where you will bring in any reading & cite the work you’ve read Slide24:  METHODS (I) Now detail the methods you used to address the aims you outlined in the introduction. Depending on your study, the methods may describe: software or hardware design a model or simulation the production of a media artifact such as a video Slide25:  METHODS (II) The aim of this section is to enable another researcher to repeat your methods so you need to explain to the reader: How you designed the model Reasons for choices made e.g. certain functions of a software package you have used This section should also demonstrate that you are using standard technical procedures Slide26:  RESULTS (I) Presents the data or results i.e. data from the simulation/ model experiment There is little analysis here, unless you have a combined results & discussion chapter You need to consider the most appropriate method of organising & presenting results Slide27:  RESULTS (II) Do not just include figures & tables, ensure that the text provides: a commentary guiding the reader through the figures & tables refers to all of these e.g. figure 3.2 illustrates … as can be seen from figure 4.1 … Slide28:  RESULTS (III) Figures & tables need to be well presented: Carefully labelled Carefully numbered, e.g. Figure 3.2 They must have a caption describing the data presented Figure axes must have clearly specified units when the data being presented has units Remember the reader will look at the figures & tables only if directed to do so in the text. Slide29:  DISCUSSION In this section you interpret and analyse your data or results, discussing the main findings of your lab work or simulation Keep your dissertation aims in mind If there are any limitations of your study, state them. Broaden the scope of your discussion to compare your findings with those of earlier work i.e. link back to to earlier sections Slide30:  CONCLUSIONS (I) This section is short & succinct State what you major conclusions are, referring back to your original aims. Have you achieved these aims? Highlight key features Discuss what advances you have made Most dissertations also include a Further Work or Recommendations section Slide31:  CONCLUSIONS (II) You should include an evaluation of both the research you have conducted or the artefact you have produced and the success of the project as a whole Slide32:  In your dissertation, an important subsection of the Conclusions is Further work. Given more time & funding how would you overcome limitations (weaknesses) & take the work further You’re demonstrating your wider technical & theoretical awareness & knowledge, & discussing aspects you didn’t have time for FURTHER WORK Slide33:  SECTIONS AFTER THE MAIN BODY OF THE REPORT Acknowledgements (see 17 of supp. mat.) References Appendices (see slides 18-19 of supp. mat.) Slide34:  REFERENCES We will look at referencing in detail later (from slide 51) Briefly, if you use the work or ideas of others, you must cite them in your dissertation & then list the full details in a referenced list at the end Slide35:  APPENDICES (I) Appendices can be very helpful way to make your dissertation easier to read and not swamp your reader with bulky data such as code & full programmes Many readers of your dissertation may not read these sections & certainly should not need to read them to follow your report. However, some readers will want to analyse your detailed results in greater depth e.g. to compare with their own findings. Slide36:  APPENDICES (II) Examples of what should be contained in the Appendices: Listing of code developed Scripts Interviews Story boards Slide37:  PART 2 Structuring Your Dissertation for Your Study Slide38:  STRUCTURING YOUR DISSERTATION Remember to adapt the structure to suit the information you are presenting & organise it more effectively. Use as many headings as you need Make sure the scope of each chapter or section is clearly defined by its title & the introduction to that chapter. Make sure the layout is logical & the work flows. Slide39:  “BUILD PROJECT” - POSSIBLE STRUCTURE FOR THE MAIN BODY Introduction Background Possible Solutions Selected Solution (Method) Design Implementation Testing Results (if applicable) Discussion of results (if applicable) Conclusions / Future work / Evaluation of artefact, inc. limitations Slide40:  “RESEARCH PROJECT” - POSSIBLE STRUCTURE Introduction Background Literature Review Research Findings (Method) Results (if applicable) Discussion of results (if applicable) Conclusions / Future work / Evaluation of findings, inc. limitations Slide41:  Adapt the central chapters to help your reader to: 1] understand what you did & how you did it, 2] realise your understanding of the task 3] what could be taken further & how STRUCTURING YOUR DISSERTATION – MODIFYING SECTIONS Slide42:  As well as an IMRaD pattern, reports & dissertations often have an underlying problem-solution pattern. In some types of dissertation, this is recursive (=repeated) until a more effective solution is found SITUATION PROBLEM SOLUTION EVALUATION STRUCTURING YOUR DISSERTATION Slide43:  STRUCTURING YOUR DISSERTATION Slide44:  Your dissertation will be a long document You need to ensure that it makes sense as a continuous document Techniques for this include sign-posting in your introduction and providing short introductions and summaries for each of the middle chapters of the report, such as the background, design or research chapters STRUCTURING YOUR DISSERTATION: MAKING IT FLOW Slide45:  Some of the main causes of lack of fluency in a dissertation are: Assuming the reader has additional knowledge of your project Putting figures or tables in the report without referring to them STRUCTURING YOUR DISSERTATION: MAKING IT FLOW Slide46:  PART 3 Technical Writing inc. Referencing! Slide47:  FORMAL & OBJECTIVE STYLE Avoid “I”, “We” or “You” Don't use contracted verb forms : can't & doesn’t, use cannot & does not instead Write in formal rather than colloquial English. Avoid vague & imprecise words : stuff, things, loads, lots; use words such as materials, issues, significant number/ large quantities TECHNICAL STYLE Slide48:  FORMAL & OBJECTIVE STYLE Avoid attitudinal words e.g. really, actually, great, magnificently. Choose formal words (Nouns & verbs with Latin/ Greek origins such as survey, examine, consult, rather than 2 part [phrasal] verbs, such as look about, look into, look up, TECHNICAL STYLE Slide49:  Personal pronouns, ‘I’ & particularly ‘you’, are rarely used in technical writing, where an objective or impersonal style is standard. You can use the passive, despite advice from the MS Word grammar & spelling checker, just be careful as overuse can make reading your work heavy going for the reader. Slides 21 to 26 in part 3 of the supplementary material give you an number of ways of writing in an impersonal rather than subjective style TECHNICAL STYLE: WRITING OBJECTIVELY Slide50:  6.7 Summary At the end of this chapter, the following conclusions are made.        It is possible to construct trellis structures to meet the requirements in a quasi-synchronous adder channel. These trellises are modified versions of the synchronous cases and have improved the reliability of composite codewords.       A price paid for the improvement of the individual user is a reduction in the sum rate. In an M-choose T scenario, the identification process based on metric accumulation is shown to be reliable when using the modified decoders catering for each quasi-synchronous set EXAMPLE OF TECHNICAL STYLE Slide51:  Use tables & figures to present information clearly & economically Write clear, self-explanatory figure legends [labelled]; axes clearly labelled with values clearly identified Make sure tables & figures are referred to in text, and meaning & interpretation are covered For further help, see the Bates college website: http://abacus.bates.edu/~ganderso/biology/resources/writing/HTWtablefigs.html GRAPHICAL PRESENTATION Slide52:  GRAPHICAL PRESENTATION: EXAMPLE Figure 3.1 Bit Error Rates of Modulation Schemes for 8 User Systems Figure 3.1 illustrates the bit error rate performance of QAM, QPSK and BPSK modulation schemes when used in communication systems with 8 users. As can be seen, the performance of QPSK and BPSK are almost identical. The performance of QAM when compared to these modulation schemes is worse as more bits will be received in error at every signal to noise ratio. Slide53:  Looking at the list below what are the most important reasons for citing other scientists? To show that we have knowledge of the field To provide an overview of the current state of the field To show where our work fits in with current understanding in the field To review other studies critically To highlight a gap in the field To justify the work we have done To support the work we have done To make theories on the basis of other scientists’ findings. BRINGING OTHER SCIENTISTS’ RESULTS INTO YOUR WRITING Slide54:  You can do this by rephrasing in your own words, either summarising or paraphrasing and adding a reference to the source. You can refer to the source in 2 ways: 1) Paraphrase the idea, then give the surname of the author + year of publication in brackets or reference number e.g. Statistical analysis can be used to demonstrate… [Berridge 2002] or [2] This method emphasises the study. CITATION – REFERRING TO OTHER WRITERS IN THE MAIN BODY OF YOUR REPORT (I) Slide55:  2) Begin the sentence with the author’s surname + year of publication in brackets e.g. Berridge [2002] or [2] has demonstrated that statistical analysis can be used … This method emphasises the author you are citing. NB Direct quotation & acknowledgement is rarely used CITATION – REFERRING TO OTHER WRITERS IN THE MAIN BODY OF YOUR REPORT (II) Slide56:  When referring other studies, they need to be integrated into your report. You need to use your writing style, your “voice”, rather than patching together the disconnected styles of other researchers. So when you refer to another writer, you should begin & end in your own impersonal voice, with the middle part consisting of paraphrase or summary of the source The language that you use when citing other work will show your judgement of the work you are reviewing. A list of verbs you can use to report other scientists’ ideas is given in the supplementary material on slide 34 INTEGRATING SOURCES INTO YOUR REPORT Slide57:  References should list all the sources (books, journal, webs material etc) that you have used in the text. Do not include common knowledge: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_plagiar.html There are 2 main methods of listing references 1. in alphabetical order i.e. sorted by surname (Harvard) 2. In numerical ordering of appearance in the body of the dissertation See http://www.uefap.co.uk/writing/writfram.htm BRINGING IN THE WORK OF OTHER SCIENTISTS: REFERENCES Slide58:  Curtis, P.S. (2003) UMBS Forest Carbon Cycle Research. UMBS research. Ameriflux network. UMBS data access. http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/ftp/ameriflux/data/us-sites/preliminary-data/UMBS (data accessed on February 14, 2003) Wofsy, S.C. and J. W. Munger (2003), Harvard University. Atmospheric Sciences. Forest and Atmospheric Measurements. Data exchange. NIGEC data archive. http://www-as.harvard.edu/data/nigec-data.html (accessed on June 23, 2003) WEB SOURCES IN THE REFERENCE LIST: ALPHABETICAL SYSTEM Slide59:  [1] Curtis, P.S. UMBS Forest Carbon Cycle Research. UMBS research. Ameriflux network. UMBS data access. http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/ftp/ameriflux/data/us-sites/preliminary-data/UMBS (data accessed on February 14, 2003) [2] Wofsy, S.C. and J. W. Munger, Harvard University. Atmospheric Sciences. Forest and Atmospheric Measurements. Data exchange. NIGEC data archive. http://www-as.harvard.edu/data/nigec-data.html (accessed on June 23, 2003) WEB SOURCES IN THE REFERENCE LIST: NUMERICAL SYSTEM Slide60:  Extra care is needed when citing articles from the web due to their transient nature In the body of the dissertation, only give the endnote –numbered. Make a permanent copy on cd of any journal article accessed on the web [PDF] CITING MATERIALS FROM THE WEB Slide61:  Plagiarism means using other writers’ ideas, words or frameworks without acknowledgement. It means that you are falsely claiming that the work is your own. This can range from copying whole papers, paragraphs, sentences or phrases without acknowledgement to merely changing a word or two within a sentence. AVOIDING PLAGIARISM Slide62:  AVOIDING PLAGIARISM Slide63:  1. Copying a paragraph verbatim from a source without any acknowledgement. 2. Copying a paragraph and making small changes - e.g. replacing a few verbs, replacing an adjective with a synonym; acknowledgement in the bibliography. 3. Cutting and pasting a paragraph by using sentences of the original but omitting one or two and putting one or two in a different order, no quotation marks; with an in-text acknowledgement plus bibliography. 4. Composing a paragraph by taking short phrases from a number of sources and putting them together using words of your own to make a coherent whole with an in-text acknowledgement + bibliography. 5. Paraphrasing a paragraph by rewriting with substantial changes in language and organisation; the new version will also have changes in the amount of detail used and the examples cited; citing in bibliography. 6. Quoting a paragraph by placing it in block format with the source cited in text & bibliography. [Carroll J. 2000 Teaching News November, 2000. Based on an exercise in Academic Writing for Graduate Students by Swales and Feale, University of Michigan, 1993] on http://www.ilt.ac.uk/resources/Jcarroll.htm Accessed 12/05/2003 ] WHICH OF THESE IS PLAGIARISM? Slide64:  Ensure that you are using effective paraphrasing and summary skills. See http://www.uefap.co.uk/writing/writfram.htm or for help with paraphrase see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/ r_paraphr.html AVOIDING PLAGIARISM Slide65:  There is no point for you to plagiarise in your final dissertation. Being able to integrate and use the work of others in your work is a highly important skill that you need to demonstrate. You can only demonstrate this if you reference the work that you have used You are not expected to know everything, there is no shame in needing to reference the work of others. In fact, used selectively it can demonstrate your knowledge and hard work If you are found to be plagiarising work in your dissertation you can fail the project AVOIDING PLAGIARISM

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