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Old 15th December 2012, 05:45 PM   #31
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The text based on someone else's material should have a superscripted 1, 2,... At the end of the thought or quote that matches the reference either at the end of the paper as he did or in a footer on the same page. And as mentioned, should include a page number to. At least this is how I was taught (by more than one) and practice.
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Old 15th December 2012, 06:09 PM   #32
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The referencing style required by this particular prof is APA style (6th ed.) but that's not usually the style required by the applied sciences in general. I don't like APA, but I did follow its conventions properly.

I do seriously appreciate all the feedback from everyone - slightly more than I was anticipating. I think the thread title gives a pre-conception to some that I was looking to do new research here, which is not the case, this is an overview paper that was required to argue for one side of a controversial topic (while describing both sides of said topic). I will admit that very little re-writing or outline formation occurred and it may show, but in the end I got an A in the class and next semester will pose new challenges. The point primarily was for me to learn about the subject - which I certainly did.

I also quite enjoy the variety of feedback given, gives me a good sense of where I can improve and what my strengths were. Thanks everyone.
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Old 15th December 2012, 07:50 PM   #33
golfnut is offline golfnut  New Zealand
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Hi Stochastic
I have written a lot of technical papers and I have an approach that you might find helpful.
First: make sure you understand your audience – you’ll see why in what follows… This is the first law of communication.
Second: having done all your research, figure out what you have learned. Distil that down to two or three nuggets. These are the things that your proposed audience would be interested in, or like to know, or should know. In a scientific paper, these should be novel ideas. These are the main threads of your conclusion.
Third: Figure out why these two or three nuggets are important to your audience. Now you can draft the introduction. Set the scene in a way that helps to explain the importance of the topic, explain what is known and not known, line up the discussion so that it points in the direction of your conclusion. At the end of your introduction provide an outline – two or three sentences at the most – summarising where you are heading so the reader knows what to expect.
Fourthly: You now have the starting point and the end point – the main body of your paper should join the dots – don’t be tempted to stray from that path. It helps to do Steps 2-4 as bullet points before you actually start drafting text.
Fifth: Once you have drafted the text, read and revise (many times). Read it out loud to yourself; make sure the text reads easily. There should be no long sentences with multiple ideas in them. Try to recognise ambiguities or gaps in arguments, and get rid of them. Anticipate arguments against any of your claims. Revisit steps 2 and 3 to remind yourself of what you are trying to achieve – does the paper work? This (recursive) step takes the most time – most of my papers have 10-30 revisions. Some papers take months to get to a point where I’m happy with them.

Finally, remember that all communication is a ‘sales job’. With technical papers, you are selling ideas. If you don’t understand your audience, know what the ideas are, and why they are important to your audience, it is unlikely that the paper will achieve its aims.
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