Thesis writing Course for students at IDI

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Thesis writing
Course for students at IDI
Stewart Clark
Student and Academic
Division
Norwegian University of
Science and Technology
[email protected]
tel. 73 59 52 45
Contents
1. Report and thesis writing
1
2. Web resources
8
3. Style and standards
16
4. Academic language (from MIT) 33
Module 1
-Report and thesis writing• Structure of theses
• Editing your work
• Vocabulary
• Link words
• Words to avoid
• Word order
IMRAD structure
• Abstract
general > specific
• Introduction
(problems to be solved)
• Methods
• Results and Discussion
(analysis of findings)
specific > general
• Conclusions and further
research
(logical result of the process)
• Appendix: Details
Scientific reports and theses 1
Audience:
Scientific peers, scientific
community, academic work and
theses
Organization:
Paper published in journals, housestyle rules.
Organization is inductive, a logical
process.
Scientific reliability is central
Scientific reports and theses 2
• Abstract
• Introduction
(problems to be solved)
• Methods
• Results and discussion
(analysis of findings)
• Conclusions and further research
(logical result of the process)
• Appendix: Details
(detailed analysis of findings)
Title
- Label not a sentence, no final stop (period)
- Lower case for articles, conjunctions
(and, but, for, or, nor), and most short
prepositions
- Avoid articles and fuzzy words (some, certain)
as the first word:
Use
Boolean Functions, Transforms, and Recursions
Not
Some Boolean Functions, Transforms, and
Recursions
Abstract - format
(For scientific reports and theses)
Summary of the information in the report
• brief statement of why the work was
undertaken (objectives)
• brief statement of methods (methods)
• clear statement of the significant
facts/findings/ideas in the text (resultsrecommendations)
• An abstract should be as long as is necessary
to sum up the essential information (250 to
500 words as a rule of thumb)
Abstract - format
•
•
•
•
Index Terms
After final paragraph of the Abstract
Written in bold as in the Abstract
In alphabetical order
Acronyms are defined in Index Terms if
defined in the paper.
Abstract - style
• For spelling, IEEE uses Webster’s College
Dictionary, 4th Edition.
• For guidance on grammar and usage,
consult The Chicago Manual of Style
• Write good continuous prose
• Abstracts are stand alone texts
• ‘By nature, Abstracts shall not contain
numbered mathematical equations or
numbered references’ (IEEE Style Manual)
http://www.ieee.org/portal/cms_docs_iportals/iportals/publications/author
s/transjnl/stylemanual.pdf
‘Abstract’ for comment
Consider the following:
'Certain problems (specify them)
concerning dynamic Boolean systems
(without saying which) in some high
performance associative memory
systems (unspecified) have been
studied. Conclusions have been drawn
and recommendations for analytical
approaches are made.'
Format - Acknowledgement
Be formal
- I wish to thank my supervisor Professor Arne
Olsen at the Department of XZY, Norwegian
University of Science and Technology for his
invaluable assistance.
- I would also like to thank…
- I appreciate the assistance from…
- Special thanks are given to…
- Gratitude is also given to…
- I am grateful for the help from Anne Olsen,
research technician and other department staff
in preparing the FEM analysis
- Finally, I acknowledge the generous financial
support from the Research Council of Norway
Format – Contents
Table of Contents
The structural pattern of the report
Have a planned layout: fonts, capitalization, indentation
THIS IS CHAPTER 1
This is Section 1.1
Section 1.1.1
Contents – layout example
Abstract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii
Contents
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii
List of Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v
List of Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .vi
Nomenclature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii
1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
1.1 Thesis Motivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Other front material in theses
Nomenclature
• Nomenclature lists the symbols and their
definitions
List of Abbreviations
• Some these have an alphabetical list of
abbreviations and acronyms
List of Tables
List of Figures
• Check that the captions correspond to those
in the text
Format – Introduction 1
Presentation of the nature/scope of the subjectmatter
- explains what the situation was before you began
the work that you are about to report
- your objectives and strategy in writing the report
- your assumptions about the audience's
expertise/needs
Presentation of relevant literature for orientation
- how the report relates to other sources of
information
- a review of previous work and theoretical
considerations
Format – Introduction 2
Should NOT contain information you know as a
result of having completed the work you are
about to report
Shows how the thesis/report is organized (only the
chapters in a thesis:
Chapter 2 considers…
Then, Chapter 3 turns to the issue of …
After this, Chapter 4 demonstrates …
This is followed by Chapter 5 which presents the
conclusions and applications of this work for the
fish farming industry. Finally, Chapter 6 outlines
the implications and potential for further research
in this field.
Format – Body
• Methods
- The defence of your results and their reliability
• Results and Discussion
- Presentation of principles, relationships and
generalizations
- Exceptions/unsettled points
- Applications/implications
• Conclusions and Recommendations for Further
Work
Format – End matter
• References
This has no section number in front
• Appendix/Appendices
Presentation of important experiments, data and
computations.
Label: Appendix A, Appendix B, Appendix C...
“See Figure A.12 and Table C.11 for…”
Order of writing
B >C> I> A> T
>Body
methods (details to appendices)
results (details to appendices)
> Conclusions
recommendations for further
work
> Introduction
> Abstract/Executive summary
> Title
Editing your work 1
Formal editing:
• Do the section titles in the report match the contents
list?
• Are tables and figures in chronological order?
• Are words like table, figure, equation, section correctly
capitalized?
• Are terms like figure, equation, section consistent?
(Figure 3/Fig. 4. Equation 6/Eq. 4)
• Use of brackets. Are sections and
equations easy to pick out? What is (3.3)?
• Check the cited references for consistency.
Use (Olsen 1997) or (Olsen, 1997), not both.
Editing your work 2
Stylistic editing:
• Check the recommended style in "Instructions to
Authors" from the journal you are submitting to?
• The Harvard reference system, preferred in this journal,
uses the name of the author, the date of publication and,
following quoted material, the page reference, as a key to
the full bibliographic details set out in the list of
references.
Examples in the text:
• ‘This has been questioned by several authors (Smith
1990, Jones and Cook 1998, Dobbs et al. 1991)’.
(N.B. et al. is used in the text when
there are three or more authors.)
• ‘Swanwick (1988, p. 56) has attempted to …’
Editing your work 3
Reference list:
• Where there are two or more works by one
author in the same year, use 1997a, 1997b, etc.
• The reference list must include every work cited
in the text. Ensure that dates, spelling and titles
used in the text are consistent with those listed
in the reference list.
• All co-authors are to be cited. Do not use et al.
here.
• Check the correct use of italics and
punctuation in the reference list.
Editing your work 4
Reference list:
• Check the reference list for consistency
- institution names,
- names of journals,
• Avoid Norwegian and English terms for
the same institution.
(Use Google to check on the home page.
Be careful: a PhD degree from NTNU in 1995
is impossible in two ways).
IEEE Style Manual
Decide reference format
’NOTE: Editing of references may entail
careful renumbering of references, as
well as the citations in text.’ (From
IEEE Style Manual)
My suggestion: use the Harvard system
(name and year) as a working tool,
then convert to IEEE style when
finished.
IEEE Style Manual
Reference format
References in Text: In square brackets,
inside the punctuation. e.g.,
…as shown by Brown [4], [5]; as
mentioned earlier [2],
or as nouns:
as demonstrated in [3]; according to [4]
and [6]–[9].
IEEE Style Manual
Reference format
Reference list: Basic Format:
[1] J. K. Author, “Name of paper,” Abbrev. Title of
Periodical, vol. x, no. x, pp. xxx-xxx, Abbrev.
Month, year.
Example:
[1] R. E. Kalman, “New results in linear filtering
and prediction theory,” J. Basic Eng., ser. D,
vol. 83, pp. 95-108, Mar. 1961.
NOTE: IEEE style use pp. for both printed
works and papers
IEEE Style Manual
Caption format
Suggest: consecutive numbering in each
chapter with stops
Fig. 3.1. Example of linear filtering.
Fig. 3.1. Example of linear filtering
’See Figs. 3.1 – 3.4’
alternative
Fig. 3-1. Example of linear filtering.
Fig. 3-1. Example of linear filtering
But if you take this format, consider
’See Figs. 3-1 – 3-4’
A or an?
’Indefinite articles are assigned to
abbreviations to fit the sound of the first
letter (e.g., an FCC regulation; a BRI).’
(From IEEE Style Manual)
Note A is #4 in the 100 most frequent words
Abbreviations are read letter by letter, NTNU
Acronyms are read as a word, SINTEF, CERN
ARTICLES: A/AN
RULE: THE SOUND, NOT THE SPELLING, DECIDES.
A BEFORE A CONSONANT SOUND
AN BEFORE A VOWEL SOUND
Mark which of the letters of the alphabet could
take AN if they start an abbreviation:
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
Mark A or AN:
a) A/AN European Commission regulation
b) A/AN EU national
c)
A/AN euro
d) A/AN UV-spectrofluorimeter
e) A/AN ultraviolet light change
f)
A/AN HES regulation
g) A/AN Health, Environment and Safety regulation
h) A/AN 8 mm gap
i)
A/AN Master of Science degree
j)
A/AN MSc degree
Module 2
-Useful web resourcesCollocation
English Matters
British National Corpus
Academic writing
Lix – readability
Collocation
– natural word partnerships
Some words belong together naturally,
others do not.
Insert the opposites:
• Heavy traffic/ ________traffic on the
roads
• He suffered from a heavy cold/_______
cold
• A cup of strong coffee/________coffee
• A strong/_________wind was blowing
Collocation exercise
• Match each of these nouns to one of the
groups of verbs. All the verbs must
collocate with the noun:
battle
struggle
fight
war
A.avoid, get into, pick, provoke
B.declare, go to, lead to, prolong, wage
C.be engaged in, continue, give up, take up
D.fight, force, go into, lose
(See English Matters, Vocabulary exercises from Stewart)
Resources on the Web
• Oxford Teachers’ Club
www.oup.com/elt/global/teachersclub/
• British Council Education and Training
www.britishcouncil.org/education
• English Matters
www.ntnu.no/intersek/english_matters
English matters
Nettportal for deg som bruker engelsk som arbeidsspråk.
www.ntnu.no/international/english_matters/
Online dictionaries – EN/EN
• Longman (BE), Miriam Webster (AE),
• Roget’s Thesaurus, Slang dictionary
• Dictionaries with pronunciation and
translation help
Online dictionaries – EN/NO and NO/EN
• Ordnett, Clue, UMB’s Green Dictionary
English matters
Longman online dictionary - Collocations
Chance - collocations
• there's a chance (that) (=it is possible that)
• there's every chance (that) (=it is very likely)
• some chance little chance no chance a
good/fair chance (=something is likely)
• a slight/slim/outside chance (=something is
unlikely)
• a fifty-fifty chance (=the possibility of
something happening or not happening is
equal)
• a million to one chance/a one in a million
chance (=something is extremely unlikely to
happen)
British National Corpus (BNC)
• 100 million word
collection of BE
texts
• Oxford UP,
Longman,
Chambers and
British Library
• Free search sampler
http://sara.natcorp.ox.
ac.uk/lookup.html
Exercise:
something that is quite
likely to happen
Is it a large? great?
big? possibility of …
or a
strong/real/distinct
possibility?
Use Longman and
BNC to find out, and
which verb to use
Use to BNC to check collocations
Standard collocations
’I found it on the Web’
absolutely convinced (20) extremely convinced (0)
(adverb + verb)
slight breeze (20)
light wind (25)
weak wind (0)
(adjective + noun)
Numbers refer to hits on the British National Corpus
English matters
Just the Word
Helps you to find word combinations
Based on British National Corpus
Use ’suggest alternatives’ option
Generates suggestions, note colour code
Try it with ’weak wind’
English matters
Terminology – EN/NO and NO/EN
• UHR Termbase (educational terminology),
EØS base
• Norwegian ministries
• Norwegian legislation (Lovdata)
Style
•
•
•
•
Emails and letters
English Style Guidelines
Academic writing portal, self study exercises
CV writing
English matters
Vocabulary
• Vocabulary and current affairs BBC World
Service, select "News English" 3 new stories a
week. Often lesson plans in pdf
• BE and AE newspapers
Self-study
•
•
•
•
•
Collocation exercises
Agreement exercise
Phrasal verbs
Prepositions
Prefixes (BBC English 1)
Using English for Academic
Purposes
A Guide for Students in
Academic Writing
Linked on:
English Matters
Writing paragraphs
Click on Paragraph
• Try Exercise 2 (Pesticide Suicide)
Continue to Topic
- Identifying topic sentences
• Do Exercise 7 in groups of 3
Click on Flow
- Flow of information in paragraphs using key words
• Try Exercise 8
Writing paragraphs
Click on Paragraph
Continue to Signalling = link words
Note all the examples
• Do exercises 10 and 11.
• Any contrasts?
Writing paragraphs
Continue to Cohesion,
see lexical cohesion = key terms
use reference words like…
this process, this view, this solution, these
approaches
Words that summarize the text in the first
sentence and connects the next sentence.
Writing paragraphs
Group exercise: Add suitable reference words to
complete this paragraph:
’As soon as it gets to a certain size, every organization
begins to feel a need to systematize its management
of human resources.’
Some suggestions: account, advice, answer, argument,
assertion, assumption, claim, comment, conclusion, criticism,
description, difficultly, discussion, distinction, emphasis,
estimate, example, explanation, fall, finding, idea, improvement,
increase, observation, proof, proposal, reference, rejection,
report, rise, situation, suggestion, view.
Functions
• Click on functions in academic writing
No.16. Introducing
- note useful phrases at the bottom
No. 9. Including tables
- note language tips at the bottom
- Click on Exercises and try Ex. 1 and 2
(Gap filling)
Functions/Citing sources
Functions
• Click on functions in academic writing
No. 17. Conclusions
- note useful phrases at the bottom
Citing sources
• Reporting and summarizing
- note useful phrases at the bottom
Academic vocabulary
 Academic Word List (AWL) about 600 core
terms
 An AWL term has to occur over 100 times in
the 3.5 million word Academic Corpus.
 The AWL is like the icing on a cake.
 BUT don’t overdo it. A text that is full of AWL
terms will be heavy to read.
 Details of the Academic Corpus:
http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/resources/academicwordlist/corpus.aspx
Academic Word List





Note the derived terms = 3000 words
Dictionary link on left
Pronunciation help
Visual thesaurus
Two sets of exercises based on AWL
Readability
How can this text become clearer?
Creditworthiness decreases with increasing
debts and increasing cash-flow problems
caused by an increase in ordinary
depreciation, an increase in provisions for
bad debts, an increase in loss reserves and
increasing bad debts for the company.
LIX – readability index – gives this text 78
(> 60 ’Mycket svår, byråkratsvenska’
http://www.lix.se/index.php
Readability
How can this text become clearer?
Creditworthiness decreases with increasing
debts and increasing cash-flow problems
caused by an increase in ordinary
depreciation, an increase in provisions for
bad debts, an increase in loss reserves and
increasing bad debts for the company.
LIX – readability index – gives this text 78
(Score of 60 or more = Very heavy language
’byråkratsvenska’)
http://www.lix.se/index.php
Readability
Creditworthiness decreases for several
reasons. First, there are increasing debts
and cash-flow problems, which may be
caused by a rise in ordinary depreciation or
an increase in provisions for bad debts.
Second, the cause may be the need to raise
loss reserves, or more bad debts for the
company.
LIX – readability index – gives this text 43
(40 – 50 Average difficulty, normal for journals)
http://www.lix.se/index.php
Analysis of the changes
Creditworthiness decreases for several
reasons. First, there are increasing debts and
cash-flow problems, which may be caused by a
rise in ordinary depreciation or an increase in
provisions for bad debts. Second, the cause
may be the need to raise loss reserves, or
more bad debts for the company.
--------------- header = more to come for several reasons
- link words first, second, or
- blessing of punctuation: 2>4 commas 1>3 stops
- explanatory clause: which
Sentence length
Even though pervasive gaming is a fairly new
field, and there are just a few pervasive games
developed, it is already possible to identify
several unique types of pervasive games such
as smart toys, affective games, augmented
tabletop games, augmented reality games and
location-aware games (ref).
(Over 40 words). The Lix readability score is 76.
Very heavy language ’byråkratsvenska’
What can be done to make this more readable?
Sentence length
Even though pervasive gaming is a fairly new
field, and only there are just a few such
pervasive games have been developed, it is
already possible to identify several unique types
of pervasive games. These include such as
smart toys, affective games, augmented tabletop
games, augmented reality games and locationaware games (ref).
What are the changes?
Red = deleted text
Underlined = inserted text
Sentence length
Even though pervasive gaming is a fairly new
field and only a few such games have been
developed, it is already possible to identify
several types of games. These include smart
toys, affective games, augmented tabletop
games, augmented reality games and locationaware games (ref).
(Two sentences). The Lix readability score is 52.
(Normal for official texts)
Readability exercise
Exercise – take a text of about 100 words on
your laptop and enter it in Lix
http://www.lix.se/index.php
Results over 60 need revision, aim at 50.
Discuss changes with your neighbour.
What features are interesting with Lix?
Other readability indexes
Most other readability indexes are computed using 5 steps:
•
Count the number of words in the document.
•
Count the number of syllables in the document.
•
Count the number of sentences in the document.
•
Compute the index – formula given
The result is the number of years of formal education needed to
understand the text
Examples:
http://www.online-utility.org/english/readability_test_and_improve.jsp
http://www.standards-schmandards.com/exhibits/rix/
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