Acedemic writing workshop | Week 4

Acedemic writing workshop lectured by Steven Wallace.

Also see the blog in his techinical writing editor company:

Why go to conferences

To meet other humans of the same special interest group and to impress them

  • reviewers and editors
  • potential coauthors

Show them you are interested in their studies. Exchanging email addresses is even better.

Conference paper

  • Accepts partial results (if you get full results go for regular journals)
  • Most likely not count towards multiple submissions, except
    • Journal conference papers
    • Conference with a ISBN
  • If rejected, send a nice letter to query reviewer comments to help your paper.


  • Match the keyword for survive the screening and for search engines
  • Word limit for abstract is around 300 words (2 sentences for each section)
  • Do not use Abbrs. uncommon acronyms, symbols difficult to explain
  • Cite one new research for novelty, one important person in your field, and one conference reviewer (e.g. techincal editor) for connection.

How to write a paper

(General version)

Writing order

Methods and results -> (target a journal) -> Intro and discussion -> title


  • Avoid telling a long history
  • Minimal amount a necessary background information
    • Motivation
    • Literature review for terms and definitions
    • Knowledge gap
    • Research qustions (Research aim)
  • Only cite for
    • Context (motivation)
    • Keywords (lit. review)
    • Concepts (lit. review)
    • Knowledge gap (related work)
  • Common mistakes ⚠️
    • Cite one source too much
    • Cite irrelevant sources
    • Overcite definitions
    • Misattribute (may upset your referee)
      • Misuse implication as facts
    • Cite a citation (for the keyword definition, go for the first one)
    • Quote too much
    • Paraphrasing : when you just opy the notes. Instead: close the reference and note and try to recall by impression alone.


  • Present: for facts and descriptions in figures / tables
  • Present perfect: for multiple previous studies (e.g. knowledge gaps)
  • Past: for a single previous study and your methods / results

Meterials and methods

  • Past tense, except for populations and facts
  • Cite for methodology only
  • Passive voice to hide we
  • Occasionally hint the reader the purpose of your methods
  • Avoid using then too much
    • After A, B…
    • Once A, B …
    • In the end, …
  • Verbs > Nouns. Adv. + Verb » a lot of descriptions
  • Give your devices a meaning name instead of tube 1, tube 2, …


Figures and table are here to save your text, not to replicatd them.

  • Use present tense in the descriptions
  • legends should be standalone
  • Put related data into subplots
  • Avoid power point humors


What does your results mean?

  • Note and difference of strong vs weak verbs: e.g. found (strong facts) vs. suggested (weak implications)
  • Do reverse lit. review to state the connection of prev. work and yours
  • Future works to encourage other to join force and you can get cited. Also get relevent to the reality.


  • Ones who helped you and cheered you up
  • Reviewers and editors
  • Sponsors and funding