Rather than trying to write your entire document, choose some specific part, and write just that part. Then, move on to another part. Find other text that you have written on the topic and start from that. An excellent source is your progress reports — you are writing them, aren't you? This can remind you what was hard or interesting, or of points that you might otherwise forget to make. You will rarely want to re-use text verbatim, both because you can probably convey the point better now, and also because writing for different audiences or in different contexts requires a different argument or phrasing.
For example, a technical paper and a technical talk have similar aims but rather different forms. If you wrote something once, you can write it again probably better! Early on, the point is to organize your ideas, not to create finished sentences. Brevity Be brief. Make every word count. If a word does not support your point, cut it out, because excess verbiage and fluff only make it harder for the reader to appreciate your message.
Use shorter and more direct phrases wherever possible. Make your writing crisp and to the point. Eliminate any text that does not support your point. Here is one way you might go about this; it is time-consuming but extremely effective. First, examine each section of the paper in turn and ask what role it serves and whether it contributes to the paper's main point.
If not, delete it. Next, within each section, examine each paragraph. Ask whether that paragraph has a single point. If not, rewrite the paragraph. Also ask whether that point contributes to the goals of the section. If not, then delete the paragraph. Next, within each paragraph, examine each sentence. If it does not make a single, clear point that strengthens the paragraph, delete or rewrite it.
Finally, within each sentence, examine each word, and delete or replace those that do not strengthen their point. You will need to repeat this entire process multiple times, keeping a fresh perspective on the paper. Writing style Passive voice has no place in technical writing. It obscures who the actor was, what caused it, and when it happened. Use active voice and simple, clear, direct phrasing.
First person is rarely appropriate in technical writing. Never use first person to describe the operation of a program or system. It is only appropriate when discussing something that the author of the paper did manually. And recall that your paper should not be couched as a narrative. As a related point, do not anthropomorphize computers: they hate it. Avoid puffery, self-congratulation, and value judgments: give the facts and let the reader judge.
And if the point is not obvious to readers who are not intimately familiar with the subject matter the way you are, then you are offending readers by insulting their intelligence, and you are demonstrating your own inability to communicate the intuition. Prefer singular to plural number. When describing an experiment or some other event or action that occurred in the past, use past tense. When describing the paper itself, use present tense.
The reason for this is that the reader is experiencing the paper in real time; the paper is like a conversation between the authors and the reader.
In a list with 3 or more elements list, put a serial comma between each of the items including the last two. I've seen real examples that were even more confusing than these. In English, compound adjectives are hyphenated but compound nouns are not. Some of the suggestions in this document are about good writing, and that might seem secondary to the research. But writing more clearly will help you think more clearly and often reveals flaws or ideas!
Furthermore, if your writing is not good, then either readers will not be able to comprehend your good ideas, or readers will be rightly suspicious of your technical work. If you do not or cannot write well, why should readers believe you were any more careful in the research itself? The writing reflects on you, so make it reflect well. Figures Use figures! Different people learn in different ways, so you should complement a textual or mathematical presentation with a graphical one.
Even for people whose primary learning modality is textual, another presentation of the ideas can clarify, fill gaps, or enable the reader to verify his or her understanding.
Figures can also help to illustrate concepts, draw a skimming reader into the text or at least communicate a key idea to that reader , and make the paper more visually appealing. It is extremely helpful to give an example to clarify your ideas: this can make concrete in the reader's mind what your technique does and why it is hard or interesting. A running example used throughout the paper is also helpful in illustrating how your algorithm works, and a single example permits you to amortize the time and space spent explaining the example and the reader's time in appreciating it.
It's harder to find or create a single example that you re-use throughout the paper, but it is worth it. A figure should stand on its own, containing all the information that is necessary to understand it. Good captions contain multiple sentences; the caption provides context and explanation. For examples, see magazines such as Scientific American and American Scientist. The caption may also need to explain the meaning of columns in a table or of symbols in a figure. However, it's even better to put that information in the figure proper; for example, use labels or a legend.
When the body of your paper contains information that belongs in a caption, there are several negative effects. The reader is forced to hunt all over the paper in order to understand the figure. The flow of the writing is interrupted with details that are relevant only when one is looking at the figure.
The figures become ineffective at drawing in a reader who is scanning the paper — an important constituency that you should cater to! As with naming , use pictorial elements consistently. Only use two different types of arrows or boxes, shading, etc.
Almost any diagram with multiple types of elements requires a legend either explicitly in the diagram, or in the caption to explain what each one means; and so do many diagrams with just one type of element, to explain what it means. You should simply call them all figures and number them sequentially.
The body of each figure might be a table, a graph, a diagram, a screenshot, or any other content. Put figures at the top of the page, not in the middle or bottom. If a numbered, captioned figure appears in the middle or at the bottom of a page, it is harder for readers to find the next paragraph of text while reading, and harder to find the figure from a reference to it. Avoid bitmaps, which are hard to read.
Export figures from your drawing program in a vector graphics format. If you must use a bitmap which is only appropriate for screenshots of a tool , then produce them at very high resolution. Use the biggest-resolution screen you can, and magnify the partion you will copture. Computer program source code Your code examples should either be real code, or should be close to real code. Never use synthetic examples such as procedures or variables named foo or bar.
Made-up examples are much harder for readers to understand and to build intuition regarding. Furthermore, they give the reader the impression that your technique is not applicable in practice — you couldn't find any real examples to illustrate it, so you had to make something up.
Any boldface or other highlighting should be used to indicate the most important parts of a text. Even if your IDE happens to do that, it isn't appropriate for a paper. For example, it would be acceptable to use boldface to indicate the names of procedures helping the reader find them , but not their return types.
Naming Give each concept in your paper a descriptive name to make it more memorable to readers. If you can't think of a good name, then quite likely you don't really understand the concept. Think harder about it to determine its most important or salient features. Horse-drawn carriages have a hard time moving on land because of vegetation.
This makes travel slow, or outright impossible. We present a novel concept that we call roads. Our measurements show that roads decrease travel time from years to days to reach the 20 most popular destinations throughout the Roman Empire. It touches on one of my pet peeves when reading articles. I often try to break bigger and more daunting tasks down into smaller, more manageable mini-tasks, and I also make lists and prioritize the items, focusing on more urgent matters first.
It may be a bit overwhelming to look at a long list, but it is so gratifying to cross each item off of it! Is there a limit to the number of courses I can complete in one day? Research indicates that student comprehension begins to diminish after extended periods of study. CCEI has limited the maximum number of courses a student can complete in any program to 6 courses per day. After I complete a course, how do I get a certificate of completion? When completing an individual professional development course, the certificate of completion is available to print immediately upon course completion in the Completed Courses folder.
After successfully completing a CCEI Certificate Course of Study Program, students will be able to print their certificate from their certificate program page and will receive a graduate packet in the mail that includes a letter of completion, certificate of completion, and transcript.
Can I get college credit for my completed coursework? CCEI coursework is eligible for college credit articulation through articulation agreements with accredited institutions of higher learning. For more information, visit the Articulation Partners page of our website. Go to Enroll Now. To change your name in our system you must provide CCEI with a copy of legal documentation showing the name changed.
Acceptable forms of legal documentation include copy of marriage license if recently married or page from divorce decree showing you reclaimed your maiden name if recently divorced. If you have legally changed your name through the court system, a copy of the documentation from the court showing your current and former name is required. You may fax the documentation to our Compliance department at 1. Please allow up to five 5 business days for your change to be made in our system. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of requires that all transcript requests be submitted in writing and be signed by the student.
Telephone requests for transcripts cannot be processed. Transcripts will only be released when students have met all of their financial obligations to CCEI. Students should allow up to ten 10 business days for the request to be processed. How can I authorize someone other than myself to obtain information on the status of my certificate program of study?The body of each figure might be a table, a graph, a diagram, a screenshot, or any other content. Use a consistent number of digits of precision. Most work that you do will never show up in any paper; the purpose of infrastructure-building and exploration of blind alleys is to enable you to do the small amount of work that is worth writing about. Some of the suggestions in this document are about good writing, and that might seem secondary to the research.
In each sentence, move your reader from familiar information to new information. You will need to repeat this entire process multiple times, keeping a fresh perspective on the paper.
For a copy of the certificate program application in Spanish click here.
A paper should never first detail a technique, then without forewarning indicate that the technique is flawed and proceed to discuss another technique. If you are unable to enroll online, you can complete enrollment by completing a paper application and faxing it to Scholarship funds may be available in your state. If not, then delete the paragraph. We present a new type of hamburger, called the Hand Burger, that is small enough to hold in one hand.
One good way to automate these tasks is by writing a program or creating a script for a build system such as Make or Ant. When completing an individual professional development course, the certificate of completion is available to print immediately upon course completion in the Completed Courses folder. If you blame a lazy or dumb reviewer, you are missing the opportunity to improve. Know your message, and stay on message The goal of writing a paper is to change people's behavior: for instance, to change the way they think about a research problem or to convince them to use a new approach. Please allow up to five 5 business days for your change to be made in our system. CCEI coursework is eligible for college credit articulation through articulation agreements with accredited institutions of higher learning.
No, you can log out of CCEI coursework at any time. If you do not currently have an email address, you can register for a free account from a provider such as www. A reader will and should assume that whatever you write in a paper is something you believe or advocate, unless very clearly marked otherwise.
Good captions contain multiple sentences; the caption provides context and explanation. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of requires that all transcript requests be submitted in writing and be signed by the student. With your knowledge of the overall structure, goals, and audience, you will be able to do a much better job. Your response needs to give ammunition to your champion to overcome objections.
Reporting extra digits can even distract readers from the larger trends and the big picture.
You need to ensure that readers understand your technique in its entirety, and also understand its relationship to other work; different orders can work in different circumstances.
But writing more clearly will help you think more clearly and often reveals flaws or ideas! Use the biggest-resolution screen you can, and magnify the partion you will copture. Finally, be civil and thankful the reviewers. You may be required to purchase textbooks depending on the program you register for. Your response to each point will be one paragraph in your response.
Your paper should give the most important details first, and the less important ones afterward. Otherwise, no refunds will be issued. The costs of required textbooks are not included in the tuition cost and are the responsibility of the student. If a measurement is exact, such as a count of items, then it can be acceptable to give the entire number even if it has many digits; by contrast, timings and other inexact measurements should always be reported with a limited number of digits of precision.
The reader should not encounter any surprises, only deeper explanations of ideas that have already been introduced. Rather than trying to write your entire document, choose some specific part, and write just that part.