Writing – advice

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This page contains advice on academic writing. I could probably give a lot of pointers about writing, but it is an individual process, so I will provide mostly links. This is not an official guide and there is probably much more to find on the internet than you can think. Having said this, the links below are the ones that I use myself and recommend my students.

I use this page as a compendium, so please treat it as such. It is intended to help to get information about how to write different parts, not advice on style.

There are variations depending on the scientific text. That is natural and quite obvious. A 4 page short paper cannot contain as much as a 200 page dissertation. However, the difference is often in the quantity and in the scope of the text, therefore a lot of the text below is applicable to all kinds of scientific texts – starting from the bachelor thesis and ending in the dissertation.

To start, I recommend to read this page about the types of academic writing: https://www.sydney.edu.au/students/writing/types-of-academic-writing.html


The first part of the paper is the abstract. Here I strongly recommend using the structured abstract model. It is often used in medicine, but software engineering has adopted it a lot also.

The most basic template: https://community.dur.ac.uk/ebse/resources/notes/sa/Structured_Abstract_Template.pdf

Instructions from Information and software technology: https://www.elsevier.com/journals/information-and-software-technology/0950-5849/guide-for-authors – the example is a bit into the page (scroll down).

From psychology: http://www.unice.fr/sg/authors/abstracts.htm

How to make them more impactful: https://www.enago.com/academy/tips-writing-impactful-structured-abstract/


A good resource for writing introductions is the CARS model, which helps to guide the reader into the research by starting from the existing research.

A good link from social sciences: https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/CARS

Another one, a bit more “raw”: http://sana.aalto.fi/awe/style/reporting/sections/intros/cars/cars.html

And yet another one from a book: https://researchwrit.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/article_swales_cars-model.pdf

Related work

The related work section is probably the one that gets the least attention in modern papers, although the situation is slightly changing. Novice writers usually leave this section to the end, which is a “bad” idea. You should write the related work along your research, making notes of everything you read, making relations to what you do.

Basic advice: https://guidetogradschoolsurvival.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/how-to-write-related-work/

How to structure the related work as a funnel: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/writing-related-work-section-paperthesis-chamin-morikawa/

An example from performance engineering: https://www.seas.upenn.edu/~cse400/CSE400_2008_2009/related_work.pdf

Research design

The research design section contains the description of how you designed your research. It is often based on the research methodology that you follow. Here are some examples from the methods used in software engineering:

Experimentation: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9781461370918

Case studies: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1118104358/acmorg-20

Design science research: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783662438381

Action research: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030326098


The results section is similar to the research design, depending on the research methodology of your choice.


There are several ways to go about it, but the one that I like the most is this one: https://library.sacredheart.edu/c.php?g=29803&p=185933

I also like this one, which is from the same place as the CARS model: https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/discussion

This one is very hands-on: https://www.biosciencewriters.com/How-to-Write-a-Strong-Discussion-in-Scientific-Manuscripts.aspx


To write conclusions, I recommend to start with this page: https://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Conclusion-for-a-Research-Paper – it shows how to gradually build up your conclusions section.

Another good resource is the same website as for the CARS model, but for the conclusions section: https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/conclusion


Examples are important throughout scientific texts. However, they are often neglected. Surprisingly, it is quite difficult.

Code examples: https://stackoverflow.com/help/minimal-reproducible-example

Short, self- contained example: http://www.sscce.org/

Other resources

An interesting resource is this website from Lund University about academic popular science writing: https://awelu.srv.lu.se/genres-and-text-types/writing-in-academic-genres/popular-science-writing/

A checklist for academic texts, a bit long, but a good idea to go through it before starting to write: http://www2.elc.polyu.edu.hk/CILL/essay_checklist.htm

Now, very often happens that we already have written a text that need saving – here is a good link that can help you save your article: https://medium.com/advice-and-help-in-authoring-a-phd-or-non-fiction/seven-upgrade-strategies-for-a-problematic-article-or-chapter-3c6b81be9aa2#.5kzzhaqhw

Here is a link to the official dictionary of terms related to higher education in Sweden, which can come in handy when translating terms: https://www.uhr.se/publikationer/svensk-engelsk-ordbok/

A course that you can take from BBC about academic writing. If you have time, then it’s perfect to work with: https://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/course/go-the-distance/unit-1/session-4


Finally, here are some of the books that helped me to get better in writing.

And a nice video from the author (youtube link).

Another nice video from Steven Pinker.