2. Structure of Research Papers
2.1 Logical organization
Last week we talked about the Problem–Solution pattern. Can you remember what steps may be
present in this pattern?
The Problem–Solution pattern is one of many possible logical patterns in writing. You should
follow a logical pattern at every level of your paper: in the main sections, the subsections of each
section, the paragraphs of each subsection, and the sentences of each paragraph. Two common
patterns are as follows:
Aim and method To solve A, do B
Situation and result A. Thus, B.
How many others can you think of? Close your books. In groups, write down as many as you can.
Certain patterns tend to be used with certain types of content. For example, explanations of new
phenomena often follow the "effect and cause" pattern, while papers claiming a faster algorithm or
a more effective system often follow the "comparison/contrast" pattern. What patterns are used in
the two following paper outlines?
Extrema Graphs: Guides in Searching for Seed Cells to Be Used in Generating Isosurfaces
2. Related work
a. Conventional triangulation algorithm
b. High-performance algorithms
3. Our algorithm
a. Extracting extrema points
b. Generating an extrema graph
c. Generating isosurfaces
Impact of Speech on User Interfaces (main sections)
1. General trends of UI technologies
a. Evolution of UI technologies
b. Voice commands vs. menus
ii. Advantages of menus
iii. Disadvantages of menus
iv. Advantages of voice commands
v. Disadvantages of voice commands
2. Status and trends of speech technologies
a. Speech recognition
b. Speech synthesis
3. Trends of speech applications and market
a. Overview of speech applications
b. Factors for increasing the market
2.2 What's in a paper?
The structure of a paper naturally depends on its content. Since the contents of technical papers can
be classified into a few main categories, such as design of a new system and development of a new
theory, the structure often follows a more or less standard pattern. In this chapter, we will look at
some of the most common patterns for the various parts of a paper after the introduction.
2.2.1 Parts of a paper
Most papers include some or all of the following parts, though they are not always named in this
(Table of Contents)
Body (methods, materials, results, discussion, etc.)
(Figures and Tables)
(Appendices). The parts in parentheses aren't always necessary.
A typical experimental paper has four main sections: introduction, methods and materials, results,
and discussion, with an abstract on the first page. Conceptually the shape of a paper is something
The introduction starts with general discussion of the field, then moves to the specific topic of the
paper. The next two sections also discuss the specific topic. The discussion section moves from the
specific topic back to a general discussion of the field.
In general, the main sections show what you studied, how you conducted your research, how you
obtained your results, what those results were, and what their significance is. The number, contents,
and names of these sections vary according to the field: for technology, there is usually an
experimental section and a results section; for system design, there are often sections on techniques
and system features; and so on.
Causal patterns (A --> B)
Action and purpose We did A in order to do B.
(Purpose and action) To do A, we did B.
(Question and answer) Q...A
Action and method We did A by doing B.
(Method and action) By doing A, we did B.
(Problem and solution) To solve A, B
Situation and consequence A. Therefore, B.
(Reason and result) A. As a result, B.
(Situation and reason) A because B.
(Cause and effect) A causes B.
(Effect and cause) A is caused by B.
(Situation and implications) A. This implies B.
Condition and consequence If A, then B.
(Requirement and objective) A is necessary for B.
Additive patterns (A + B)
Sequence A, B, C, . . .
(Time sequence) First A, next B, then C . . .
(Spatial sequence) At the front is A. In the middle is B. At the back is C.
(Order of importance) Most importantly, A, then B, . . .
(Reverse order of importance) Least importantly, A, then B, . . .
From general to specific A's in general . . . This specific A . . .
(Statement and example(s)) A is true. For example, A1, A2, . . .
(Preview and details) Let us consider A. A is . . .
(Statement and explanation) A. That is to say, . . .
(Picture and explanation) [Picture]. The picture shows A, B, . . .
Matching A. B.
(Similarity) A. Similarly, B
(Contrast) A. On the other hand, B.
(Comparison) A is (fast)er than B.
(Hypothetical and real) Some people say A. In fact, B.
(Theory and practice) In theory, A. In practice, B.
Exercises for Unit 2
Exercise 1 – The Problem-Solution Pattern
Look at this short summary of a research paper. Can you find a Problem-Solution pattern?
We now accept that grammar is not restricted to writing, but is present in speech. This
can lead to assumptions that there is one kind of grammar for writing and one for speech.
A large-scale corpus survey of English has been undertaken. Results show that the same
system is valid for both writing and speech.
Exercise 2 – Logical Patterns
What types of logical patterns are used in these sentences? Discuss with a partner.
1. To obtain a fairly triangulated surface, they minimized the weighted sum of three energy
factors: (1) co-planarity, (2) co-normality, and (3) co-circularity.
2. The co-planarity condition causes neighboring nodes to lie on each other's tangent plane.
3. Due to its linear execution time, Taubin's approach is powerful for polygonal surfaces with
millions of nodes.
4. In comparison with finite-difference approaches, finite-element approaches generally yield a
5. Celniker and Gossard's approach generates a C1 continuous surface by using a finite-element
Exercise 3 - Organizing Lists
How could you organize the data in the following lists? Why? Discuss with a partner.
1. Java, Fortran, C++, Prolog, Algol, LISP
2. Advantages of Windows:
a. Availability of machines with Windows installed
b. Lower cost of Windows machines
c. Quantity of application software
d. Availability of help
e. Compatibility of software and hardware
f. Plug and play
g. Ease of wireless networking