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The Technology Context – B101

Short report writing techniques

Academic year 2011/12



Objectives:
  1. Parts of an academic article or report
  2. Using your Mosaic coursework pages
  3. Getting started and continuing to write
  4. Citations, references list and plagiarism
  5. Common mistakes to avoid
  6. Checklist before coursework submission






Parts of an academic article or report



The thesis statement or research question affect every part of the article or report:
  1. Title
    Indication of the report content
  2. Introduction
    An invitation to read the report
  3. Research method
    Chronological summary of your work
  4. Findings
    Main body of the report
  5. Conclusions
    Response to the thesis statement or answer to the research question
  6. References
    List of secondary research sources






Use your Mosaic coursework page at every step



  1. Collect keywords and develop the title
  2. Keep research notes
  3. Use comments to record research sources and method
  4. Select the method to organize the findings
  5. Write drafts
  6. Use comments to ask for help
  7. Receive feedback in the comments part at designated milestone dates


The saved version history and comments on your Mosaic coursework page is the primary indication of your efforts.

Miraculous coursework submissions without supporting evidence in Mosaic is considered suspicious.






Writing is hard work



  1. Work gradually instead of waiting until the last minute
  2. Practice is required to improve writing skills
  3. Start now






Writing is hard work




Write an article about the Domain Name System (DNS) that address the questions below:
  1. How would you describe the size of the Domain Name System?
  2. Which 3 components are the most important for DNS operations and how are they related to each other?
  3. How would you describe the function of the Domain Name System?
  4. Is the operation of the Domain Name System affected by any legislation in the UK?
  5. What is the most significant limitation to the continued operation of the Domain Name System?
What is the coursework asking you to do?









Writing is hard work




Write an article about the Domain Name System (DNS) that address the questions below:
  1. How would you describe the size of the Domain Name System?
  2. Which 3 components are the most important for DNS operations and how are they related to each other?
  3. How would you describe the function of the Domain Name System?
  4. Is the operation of the Domain Name System affected by any legislation in the UK?
  5. What is the most significant limitation to the continued operation of the Domain Name System?
What do you already know about the subject matter?









Writing is hard work




Write an article about the Domain Name System (DNS) that address the questions below:
  1. How would you describe the size of the Domain Name System?
  2. Which 3 components are the most important for DNS operations and how are they related to each other?
  3. How would you describe the function of the Domain Name System?
  4. Is the operation of the Domain Name System affected by any legislation in the UK?
  5. What is the most significant limitation to the continued operation of the Domain Name System?
What do you need to research in order to finish the coursework?









Writing is hard work




Write an article about the Domain Name System (DNS) that address the questions below:
  1. How would you describe the size of the Domain Name System?
  2. Which 3 components are the most important for DNS operations and how are they related to each other?
  3. How would you describe the function of the Domain Name System?
  4. Is the operation of the Domain Name System affected by any legislation in the UK?
  5. What is the most significant limitation to the continued operation of the Domain Name System?
How will you start research for the coursework?









Write an informative title




Preferred qualities of a report title:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Clear and honest indication of the report content
  3. Helps to differentiate the report from other works
  4. Attracts reader interest and attention
How would you rate these titles from CiteSeer search results?

• Development of the Domain Name System

• Storing Certificates in the Domain Name System

• Domain Name System Security Extensions

• Addressing Weaknesses in the Domain Name System Protocol

• A Replicated Architecture for the Domain Name System

• Perils of Transitive Trust in the Domain Name System

• A Study of Caching in the Internet Domain Name System






Write the introduction as an invitation to the reader




Ideas for an introduction:
  • Use a question
  • Use a story
  • Use an example
  • Use a surprising or unusual fact
  • Use a quotation
  • Use a personal experience
Preferred qualities of an introduction:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Active voice
  3. Present or future verb tense
  4. Early indication of the personality and style of the writer






Write the introduction as an invitation to the reader




Preferred qualities of an introduction:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Active voice
  3. Present or future verb tense
  4. Early indication of the personality and style of the writer
How would you rate this introduction?

The DNS can be viewed as the equivalent of a powerswitch for the Internet in the sense that DNS problems can greatly diminish Internet service availability up to the point where it can paralyze the Internet for significant periods of time.
...
We believe one must tackle the various issues from two perspectives: at the micro-infrastructure level one must address the management of a single zone eliminating the single point of failure and providing a building block for timely propagation of zone updates to all authoritative servers; at the macro-infrastructure level one must address the availability of the DNS system as a whole and guarantee the timely propagation of updates to end resolvers. We show these services help provide an underlying design structure that will allow the DNS to continue its tremendous success and provide a solid base design that encompasses current demands and provides the building blocks for future changes.

Source: Amir, Y., Massey, D., & Tutu, C. (2003, July 18). A new look at the old Domain Name System. Retrieved from http://www.pdos.lcs.mit.edu/papers/click:sit-ms.ps.gz






Write the introduction as an invitation to the reader




Preferred qualities of an introduction:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Active voice
  3. Present or future verb tense
  4. Early indication of the personality and style of the writer
How would you rate this introduction?

Leaks of query target identity can be abused for censorship purposes. For example, an ISP can forbid access to a host by simply dropping all queries for that host-name at the local name server controlled by the ISP. This approach, known as DNS filtering, is effectively employed by the Great Firewall of China to filter out websites considered to be a threat by the state.
...
This paper focuses on adversaries located at DNS servers. Clearly, a malicious DNS server poses some very serious threats. In this paper, we limit the scope of threats based on the assumption that an adversary does not wish to expose itself too early by behaving too aggressively.

Source: Lu, Y., Tsudik, G. (n.d.). Towards plugging privacy leaks in the Domain Name System. Retrieved from http://sprout.ics.uci.edu/papers/PID1038848.pdf






Research method is a chronological summary of your research




Preferred qualities of a research method summary:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Clear relationship to the citations and references list
  3. Evidence of work done by the writer
  4. Chronological order
How would describe your research steps that led to these results?

• Attending university

• Current housing situation

• Current mobile phone

• Current employment






Findings are the main body of the report




There are different ways to organize the findings:
  • Chronological
    • Earliest to most recent
    • Most recent to earliest
    • Calendar dates
    • Historical dates
  • Sequential or procedural
    • First step to last step
    • Last step to first step
  • Priority
    • Least important to most important
    • Most important to least important
    • Most impact to least impact
    • Least impact to most impact
  • Familiarity
    • Most familiar to least familiar
    • Least familiar to most familiar
    • Most famous to least famous
    • Least famous to most famous
  • Complexity
    • Easy to difficult
    • Difficult to easy
    • Example to theory
    • Theory to example
  • Compare and contrast
    • Differences to similarities
    • Similarities to differences
  • Cause and effect
    • Case by case
    • Explanation to examples
    • Examples to explanation
Preferred qualities of the organizational structure as indicated by headings in the report:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Consistent in voice and verb tense
  3. Logical and coherent progression from one heading to the next
  4. Use of whitespace to visually emphasize headings






Findings are the main body of the report




There are different ways to organize the findings:
  • Chronological
    • Earliest to most recent
    • Most recent to earliest
    • Calendar dates
    • Historical dates

Preferred qualities of the organizational structure as indicated by headings in the report:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Consistent in voice and verb tense
  3. Logical and coherent progression from one heading to the next
  4. Use of whitespace to visually emphasize headings
Write chronological headings for a report about development of computers.









Findings are the main body of the report




There are different ways to organize the findings:
  • Sequential or procedural
    • First step to last step
    • Last step to first step

Preferred qualities of the organizational structure as indicated by headings in the report:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Consistent in voice and verb tense
  3. Logical and coherent progression from one heading to the next
  4. Use of whitespace to visually emphasize headings
Write sequential headings for a report about the university application process.









Findings are the main body of the report




There are different ways to organize the findings:
  • Priority
    • Least important to most important
    • Most important to least important
    • Most impact to least impact
    • Least impact to most impact

Preferred qualities of the organizational structure as indicated by headings in the report:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Consistent in voice and verb tense
  3. Logical and coherent progression from one heading to the next
  4. Use of whitespace to visually emphasize headings
Use priority order to write headings for a report about how to train for a competition (e.g. athletics or games).









Findings are the main body of the report




Ideas for report headings:
  • Anticipate questions
  • Consider opposing or different opinions
  • Use your own words
Preferred qualities of the organizational structure as indicated by headings in the report:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Consistent in voice and verb tense
  3. Logical and coherent progression from one heading to the next
  4. Use of whitespace to visually emphasize headings






Using photos, graphs or videos




Preferred qualities of photos, graphs or videos in the report:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Reduce the complexity or difficulty of the report topic
  3. Useful on its own with only the caption text
  4. Does not distract the reader






Write the conclusion to convince the reader




Write the conclusion as a:
  • positive response to the thesis statement, or
  • positive answer to the research question
Preferred qualities of a conclusion:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Positive point of view
  3. Reminder of the personality and style of the writer






Do not plagiarize




In the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, the verb plagiarize is defined as:

Source: Plagiarize. (n.d). In Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus online. Retrieved from http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/plagiarize






Do not plagiarize




These actions are plagiarism:

• Copying text without giving credit.

• Using an answer provided by another person.

• Using a photo, graph or video without giving credit.

• Using information from an email or phone call without giving credit.

• The same work submitted by more than one student.

• Having someone else write some part of your work.
These actions are not plagiarism:

• Copying text and giving credit.

• Receiving help from another person.

• Using a photo, graph or video and giving credit.

• Using information from an email or phone call and giving credit.

• Working in small groups of more than one student.

• Having other people proof read your work.






Do not plagiarize



Rules to avoid plagiarism:
  1. Do not use the copy and paste functions, e.g. Control-C
  2. Write everything in your own words, even notes while doing research
  3. If in doubt, include a citation and reference






Citations gives credit to external sources



Citations are very short placeholders used within the main text of the report, which have sufficient information for the reader to find the complete source in the reference list at the end of the report. Usually, citations include the following information placed inside a pair of parentheses:








References provide access to external sources



References are the complete list of details about external sources to help readers independently access, review or verify sources used in a report. All the references are included in one list at the end of the report and arranged in ascending alphabetical order.








Article in an online magazine



Citation format:
  ( Author surname, year of article )

Citation format if author is unknown:
  ( Title of article, year of article )

Reference format:
  Author, A. (Year). Title of article. Name of Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.magazine.com/full/url

Reference format if author is unknown:
  Title of article. (Year). Name of Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.magazine.com/full/url


Write a summary, citation and reference for each article below.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/policy/reengineering-afghanistan-at-what-cost

http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/39036






Article in an online newspaper



Citation format:
  ( Author surname, year of article )

Citation format if author is unknown:
  ( Title of article, year of article )

Reference format:
  Author, A. (Year, Month Day). Title of article. Name of Newspaper. Retrieved from http://www.newspaper.com/full/url

Reference format if author is unknown:
  Title of article. (Year, Month Day). Name of Newspaper. Retrieved from http://www.newspaper.com/full/url


Write a summary, citation and reference for each article below.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15490687

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/nov/01/governments-must-not-censor-internet






Page from a wiki website



Citation format:
  ( Title of page, year of page )

Citation format if date is unknown:
  ( Title of page, n.d. )

Reference format:
  Title of page. (Year). Retrieved from name of wiki: http://www.wiki.com/full/url

Reference format if date is unknown:
  Title of page. (n.d.). Retrieved from name of wiki: http://www.wiki.com/full/url


Write a summary, citation and reference for each wiki page below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_nations

http://www.neos-guide.org/NEOS/index.php/Simplex_Method






Post from a blog website



Citation format:
  ( Author surname, year of post )

Citation format if author is unknown:
  ( Title of post, year of post )

Citation format if author and date is unknown:
  ( Title of post, n.d. )

Reference format:
  A. Author. (Year, Month Day). Title of post. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.blog.com/full/url

Reference format if author is unknown:
  Title of post. (Year, Month Day). [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.blog.com/full/url

Reference format if author and date is unknown:
  Title of post. (n.d.). [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.blog.com/full/url


Write a summary, citation and reference for each blog post below.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/green-tech/clean-coal/the-nonstory-in-carbon-captur

http://www.evilmadscientist.com/article.php/ebmmf2011






Information from online presentations (including lecture notes)



Citation format:
  ( Author surname, year of document )

Citation format if author is unknown:
  ( Title of document, year of document )

Citation format if author and date is unknown:
  ( Title of document, n.d. )

Reference format:
  Author, A. (Year). Title of document. [document format] Retrieved from http://www.any.com/full/url

Reference format if author is unknown:
  Title of document. (Year). [document format] Retrieved from http://www.any.com/full/url

Reference format if author and date is unknown:
  Title of document. (n.d.). [document format] Retrieved from http://www.any.com/full/url


Write a summary, citation and reference for each document below.

http://www.slideshare.net/carrja99/high-powered-messaging-with

http://code.google.com/edu/tools101/mysql.html






Information from general websites or online documents



Only use this format if the website does not fit into one of the more specific categories described in the previous pages.


Citation format:
  ( Author surname, year of document )

Citation format if author is unknown:
  ( Title of document, year of document )

Citation format if author and date is unknown:
  ( Title of document, n.d. )

Reference format:
  Author, A. (Year). Title of document. Retrieved from http://www.any.com/full/url

Reference format if author is unknown:
  Title of document. (Year). Retrieved from http://www.any.com/full/url

Reference format if author and date is unknown:
  Title of document. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.any.com/full/url


Write a summary, citation and reference for each website link below.

http://voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/7184

http://www.washington.edu/alumni/columns/june98/technology.html






Information from email messages



Citation format:
  ( First initial and surname of source, personal communication, Month Day, Year )

Reference format:
  Not included in the reference list.






Printed books or magazines



Citation format for a book or magazine article:
  ( Author surname, year of publication )

Reference format for a book:
  Author, A. (Year). Book title. Location : Publisher.

Reference format for a magazine article:
  Author, A. (Year, Month Day). Title of article. Name of Magazine, page numbers.






Citations and references for other sources









Common mistakes to avoid



  1. Too much reliance on spell checking tools
  2. Inappropriate use of jokes or figures of speech
  3. Incorrect description of numeric or statistical values
  4. Incorrect application of quantitative data
  5. Inconsistent verb tense
  6. Inconsistent pronouns
  7. Unnecessary use of comparative adjectives






Checklist before coursework submission