Paper Writing Tips

These were tips given in Jim Whitehead’s Generative Methods class at UCSC (specifically 2-27-12). It was an informal paper, but the notes are still useful.

Also a useful source by Joanna Bryson:

ACM Sig formatting style, 8-10 pages
1. Intro
– Broader relevance argument (Why did you just waste n weeks working on this?)
Better – Faster – Cheaper: Pick two!
– Super broad to the generic masses (Layman)
– Save $ on content equations (cheaper)
– More expressive, opens avenues of creativity (better)
– Adaptability to player actions (better)
– on-the-fly generation for a replayability (faster, better)
– and/or inside a particular research community (Specific language and phrasing)
– An appeal to how the work contributes to a well-known research agenda (Holodeck and interactive narrative)
– Framing of your work against other work (if you don’t know the community, it can be hard)
– Statement of research questions
– Just bullet point it!  “The research questions we address are…”
– Can number them and reference them
– Also good to have rational text before/after (initially got this, which suggests that, etc)
– Road map paragraph
– The remainder of the paper is this… (related work, system, evaluation…)

2. Related Work
– Most related systems/algorithms/etc.
A. Enumeration Approach/Death March (if you do it wrong)
– 1-2 sentences up to 1-2 paragraphs on each relevant system/alg/etc
** – At the end, give differentiation from your work (can take the opprotunity to take a pot shot!)
– Reference other papers that solved problems, or forward reference where you fix them
Ideal: problems with or gaps in prior work directly led to the current work
System A
System B
System C…
B. Framework Approach ** Better, but harder **, can often see a Table
– Characterize/Classify the work that’s come before (categorize)
– Slot in related work into those categories you defined
– Must describe classification scheme and categorize, and relate each category to your work *****
– Benefit: can fold many systems into one category, or use a category to dismiss a bunch of things at once
CategoryA (system, system, system)
CategoryB (System, system, system)…

3. Description of System/Approach (used to answer research questions)
– Architecture approach, major data structures, major representation details (grammar etc)
– Major components, broad algorithms,
– Typically: no code, few implementation details (ie language, design pattern)
– Architecture diagrams are good!  Data flow diagrams are also common

4. Evaluation
– Does the system answer/shed light on the research questions?
– A bunch of exemplars (cherry picking (success/failure cases)), or not
– Evaluation of generative space (usually better)
– Results for each research question (get down in the weeds, broader trends?)

5. Discussion
– Talk about broader trends if there are more to talk about!
– Talk about results in #4
(Not always present)

6. Future Work (less and less prevelant now)
– Criticize some things there, not criticized for NOT having one 😛
– Only if you have non-obvious conclusions
– Convincing other people to do it for you, not you doing it yourself
– Not a future task list for yourself
** PHD Dissertation is different: Branching out, thinking through, very good to have

7. Conclusion
– Restate what you learned about the research questions (Summary form, narrate it)
– Bring back to the broader relevance.
– How does knowledge learned relate to goals as stated in broader relevance discussion?

8. Abstract
– Write last, put first!

9. References ****
– Minimum: Convey the kind of thing that is being referenced
(book, webpage, converence page, journal, game)
– Do not trust Bibtex, do not trust end note, etc.
– Manually inspect references to make sure you know what KIND of thing it is
– Please include the year (ACM or IEEE style)


About robbierabbit

As of the making of this account, a 1st year phd student in computer science with a focus in computer games and intelligent agents.
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