Recap session 8 – Good style and style specifics

Sheldon-Cooper-High-NFCWe started the session off with a fun writing prompt:

Use the following words in your story: kittens, a half-eaten pizza, telepathy, a radio call-in show, salt crackers, magic, a six-pack of beer, existential angst.

This was really a fun one and it was also fun to hear what you made out of these words. I found this writing prompt somewhere online. If you google it, you will find some more stories from other people for this prompt.

The main part of our session was about good style in scientific writing. In preparation for the topic, you read chapters 6 and 7 in Zobel’s “Writing for Computer Science”. We discussed the aspects and characteristics of good style and came up with this mindmap:


(sorry for the non-optimal quality of the photo).

Both chapters can be seen as a top-down view. While chapter 6 gives an overview of the aspects of good style, chapter 7 dives into detail on these different aspects and suggests some practical approaches. Therefore, it can be used as a future reference to look up whenever you need it.


  1. Read chapters 10 „Algorithms“ and 11 „Graphs, Figures, Tables“ in „Scientific Writing for Computer Science“ in preparation for the next session.
  2. Read the text „Fighting for breath“ in  Tim Skerns „Writing Scientific English“ (p. 50f) and analyze its adherence to the aspects of good style.

[article image: Why BBQ?]

Recap session 7 – Scientific argumentation


Our session started with the writing prompt “Imagine you are someone’s shadow for a day.” Thanks to all of you who read their stories aloud, it was a pleasure as always.

The main part of our seminar was a very interesting discussion on the aspects of Chapter 4 “Hypotheses, Questions, and Evidence” in Zobel’s “Writing for Computer Science”.

We discussed different forms of evidence such as proof, modelling, simulation, and experiments and their applicability and validity in disciplines of computer science.

We also discussed computer science as a science between engineering and natural science.

Thank you all for the active participation in the discussion, this was really fun.

Here is the mindmap from the discussion aspects I made during the session:


Finally, we collected some recommendations for writing regarding scientific argumentation:



An essential aspect of argumentation is logical conclusiveness. Beware of the fallacies:


  1. Read chapters 6 “Good style” and 7 “Style Specifics” in “Writing for Computer Science” as preparation for the next session. Don’t be intimidated by the number of pages, these chapters contain a lot of examples so that there is really not that much content to read.
  2. Apply the Checklist from Zobel p.49 to the research plan of your (future) Master thesis.
    Try to answer all questions. If you feel that a question is inappropriate
    explain shortly why this is the case.
    In case you have no topic for your Master thesis yet, you can use the following paper for this exercise:

    Paul, C., Efficient Graph-Based Document Similarity. In:
    Proceedings of the ESWC 2016,

(article image: wikimedia)