The first step towards a good Computer Science research paper is deciding a clear topic area that you are going research. Your topic should be from a particular branch of Computer Science that you have prior acquaintance with and/or a strong interest in. The topic should have a narrow scope so as to not cover too vast a range of problems to address within your research limits, while being inclusive enough to overlap with established research lines that would provide you with related theories, ideas and discussions.
Your research paper should be focused on addressing a problem or set of problems within your topic area, and you dedicate some time to establishing the most suitable problem for you to address. You should be able to justify the need for solving the problem, making a case for the value of a solution/answer. There are a number of Computer Science efforts that your research paper could address and the type of problem should be clearly identified early.
You could be addressing a problem that involves a design-and-build, working with a client, researching a theory, providing a system or theoretical specification or evaluation, amongst others. Depending on the type of problem, you will need to set out specific objectives, questions or hypothesis accordingly, where hypothesis are reserved more for researching a theory or undertaking an evaluation. To help defining your research paper and topic you should begin some tentative reading around to find those current discussions, unanswered questions and key problems worth addressing and ensure that there is existing literature, but don’t spend too much time seeking more once you have some ideas.
From the beginning to end, all the tasks involved to write your research paper will need to be managed well to achieve a successful delivery. You should manage your research paper with a plan that you set out with that estimates a schedule for each stage such as reading around, practical tasks (systems analysis techniques, testing, implementation, evaluations, etc.) and the write up, with their necessary resources and assigned deliverables identified to be checked off along the way.
For an extra level of planning, you can carry out a risk analysis of the undesirable problems that your research paper may encounter that would jeopardize its completion to the quality, entirety and timeliness required. To do this, you should identify particular risks, their severity, the likelihood of them occurring, approaches to prevent them and ways to mitigate them should their prevention not be possible. Such an analysis will give you thorough preparation for those pitfalls to avoid and minimize the damage they can cause, as well as understanding the priority you will need for each. When approaching the write up of the paper, you should give consideration to your intended readership, which groups or individuals you expect to read your research paper, what knowledge they will have and what they should be able to take away from reading your paper. This should determine decisions you make about the language in your paper, whether to include a glossary of technical terms more specific than a general Computer Scientist would be expected to know, etc.
The main research for your paper is an arduous and seemingly never-ending task.
You will want to keep your research structured and relevant to the specific directions you have set out in the definition of your research paper and a good method is to split up research paths in accordance to those directions that should culminate once you have answered questions or met objectives. You can easily find yourself searching deeper and wider so it’s useful to follow references from the most popular resources that you encounter initially as a way to gain more background in a particular stream. You should start to build an initial bibliography while you are actually finding sources as well as make notes of the pertinent information and ideas you will want to include in your writing.
Research Paper Drafting
A good Computer Science research paper should be very well structured, with clear and logical sections and arguments that successively build towards your conclusion, integrating your findings and secondary sources at the important times. You should write an outline or draw a diagram to design the relationships between all of the concept and arguments that you want to present. Your final draft should be free from errors in grammar and spelling and to that end, you should thoroughly proofread it as well as use spell checking tools. It should be easy to understand and the best way to ensure that is to ask someone within the expected audience to have a read and highlight any difficulties they had to follow it
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