Recap session 4 – “Research, references, and citation”

After having a sneak peek into the brand new student project page we started the session with the following writing prompt:

A man jumps off the roof of a 40-story building. As he passes the 28th floor he hears his mobile ringing in his pocket. He regrets having jumped. Why?

Thanks for  sharing  your stories in class. It is always exciting how different your stories are for the same writing prompt.

Today’s topic was “Research, references, and citation”. We discussed Chapter 3 from Zobel’s “Writing for Computer Science” and made a  ranked list of reference-worthy publication types. We also talked about how to judge the quality and trustworthiness of a paper. In the exercise, we had a look in one rather negative example of a paper, which was not reference-worthy at all.

I prepared some slides (in German) regarding references and quotes. I didn’t show those in session as we didn’t really need them, but here they are anyway, for reference.

As someone asked for tools for managing literature after class, my recommendation is Mendeley. I use this tool heavily for my day-to-day work. It comes as a browser-based client, but there are also desktop apps for the major OS (Win, Linux, OSX).

I held a workshop for the “Lange Nacht der aufgeschobenen Hausarbeiten” back in March this year where I talked about tools for scientific writing. My slides for that workshop are not really useful as standalone material, but maybe the list of tools might help you. If you have any questions or recommendations for tools, please leave a comment below.

Homework for the next session (May 12 2016)

  1. Read the introduction of Tim Skern’s “Writing Scientific English” (pages 13-33). We will discuss this chapter in the next session.
  2. Find at least 5 important literature references for your student project topic. Write down the full bibliographical record of the reference and argue why you picked it. Keep in mind the quality criteria we discussed in this session.
  3. Prepare a 5-minute whiteboard talk for your student project topic. Try to introduce your topic to someone who has no knowledge about it. This talk should be relaxed and informal – just like you would do if you would explain your topic to a friend. You can use the whiteboard to sketch something. Your tutor will send around a doodle to find a time for a meeting to have this talk. So you will be in a session with your tutor and 5 other students and you will explain your topics to each other. The audience should ask questions if there are things that remain unclear. This exercise should help you jumpstart your project and help you understand the important aspects.

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