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This is a first attempt to summarize the most important
aspects of writing a scientific paper in the field of computer
graphics. Papers in other fields are usually similar but
differ in detail (see links above). If you have any
suggestions for improvements, something is unclear or could be
formulated in a better way, or have general remarks please
report them to the maintainer of this page (see bottom).
When you get your paper(s) from your supervisor and do your
literature research you will soon realize that most papers
follow a similar form. This should not be seen as a
restriction but as help for both the reader and the writer
of the paper. The reader is usually better guided to the
information he wants (e.g., to get a quick overview of the
paper, read the abstract, to know the results, read the
results section, simple, see?). The writer, on the other
hand, knows how to structure the information so it is best
communicated to the reader.
We first state a few general remarks on writing a paper,
also scan the above mentioned pages for more information.
- be consistent (also in tense, ...)
- use active form (simpler, easier, stronger)
- never use contractions (e.g., it's, can't, ... )
- all images, figures, tables, ... must be labelled and
referenced in the text
- all images, figures, tables, ... must have a caption
describing what they are there for
- no paragraph should have only one sentence
- use a spellchecker (however, do not rely on the spellchecker,
it does not find
every mistake and be careful with "replace all")
- the word data is plural (e.g., data are reported)
- use simple formulations and short sentences, if a sentence
can be broken into two, do it.
- try to avoid abbreviations (except: i.e., e.g.), if more
convenient, introduce in Introduction
A scientific paper usually is divided into several sections,
and each section serves a specific purpose in the
paper. Deviations to this structure are possible but should be
motivated by a rather strong reason. We now describe the
standard format of a scientific paper.
Sections marked with * have to be included. Titles of sections
can differ (but should not without good reason), the content
however should be there.
The title of the paper is the most often encountered part of
any paper and therefore has great importance in the success of
the paper. Thousands of readers will scan the title but never
read the abstract or paper itself. Abstracting and Indexing
services will also utilize the title, therefore, all words in
the title should be chosen with great care and their
association with other words in the title carefully managed.
Titles should never contain abbreviations and jargon. Indexing
these word substitutions makes indexing difficult to
impossible and impairs the titles credibility.
What is a good title?
The fewest possible words that adequately describe the
contents of the paper.
How long should the title be?
The title should be a label and not a sentence. Consequently
it does not suffer from the need to be complete and balanced,
i.e., subject, verb, object arrangement, etc.
A well prepared abstract should enable the reader to identify
the basic content of a document quickly and accurately, to
determine its relevance to their interests, and thus to decide
whether to read the document in its entirety. The abstract
should concisely state the principal objectives and scope of
the investigation where these are not obvious from the
title. More importantly, it should concisely summarize the
results and principal conclusions. Do not include details of
The abstract must be concise, not exceeding 250 words, usually
in a single paragraph. If you can convey the essential details
of the paper in 100 words, do not use 200. The abstract,
together with the title, must be self-contained as it is often
published separately from the paper (on web pages, ...). Omit
all references to the literature and to tables or figures, and
omit obscure abbreviations and acronyms even though they may
be defined in main body of the paper. The abstract is only
text. Use the active voice when possible, but much of it may
require passive constructions. Usually the abstract is written
in the present tense. Maximum length should be 200-300 words.
Summarizing, the abstract should contain:
it should not contain:
- the question(s) you investigated (or purpose), a motivation
for the work (from Introduction) state the purpose very clearly
in the first or second sentence.
- A short description of the method (no details), advantages over
- A brief summary of your interpretations and conclusions
- lengthy background information
- references to other literature
- elliptical (i.e., ending with ...) or incomplete sentences
- abbreviations or terms that may be confusing to the reader
- any sort of illustration, figure, or table, or references to them
The keywords should not only be taken from the title.
is often merged with Related Work
As its name implies, this section presents the background
knowledge necessary for the reader to understand why the
findings of the paper are an advance on the knowledge in the
field. Typically, the Introduction describes first the
accepted state of knowledge in a specialized field; then it
focuses more specifically on a particular aspect, usually
describing a finding or set of findings that led directly to
the work described in the paper. In many papers, one or
several major conclusions of the paper are presented at the
end of this section, so that the reader knows the major
answers to the questions just posed.
- state objectives clearly
- why is this work necessary/interesting/useful, motivation
- what are the preliminaries/put your work in context
- cite important literature (if you have no related work section)
This is either included within the introduction or it is a
sction on its own. Establish the context by providing a brief
and balanced review of the pertinent published literature that
is available on the subject. The key is to summarize (for the
reader) what we knew about the specific problem before you did
your studies (developed your algorithm). This is accomplished
with a general review of the primary research literature (with
citations) but should not include very specific, lengthy
explanations. Objectively state the drawbacks of existing
methods and why you have to look for other solutions.
* 2-4 main sections
Explain your Algorithm and the theory behind it, include useful
figures, structure the explanation (do not jump from point to
point) before starting to write, keep the thread. This is the
most difficult part of the paper to give useful hints how to do
it since this of course strongly dependent on what your paper is
The function of the Results section is to objectively present
your key results in an orderly and logical sequence using both
illustrative materials (Tables and Figures) and text
explain used data sets
Bilder, Bilder, Bilder, Tables (timings, space reqs.,...)
compare to other methods
should clearly describe what was found, and not require the reader to
interpret data from figures and tables.
If a figure can be used to show the data, use the figure
(e.g. a graph) instead of the table. Most people understand
graphs more quickly than tables. Don't present the same data
in several ways, choose the one best way. While tables are
good for presenting some kinds of data, consider the
options. Both tables and figures should be clearly labeled
Figure 1 or Table 1 in order of being referred to in the text,
and should include a descriptive caption so they "stand alone"
without needing reference to the text of the results section.
* Conclusions (and Future Work)
In your conclusions, address the following:
If the last two points make up more than one paragraph, put
them in a seperate section entitled "Future Work".
- reach conclusions about the initial objectives (therefore
we call the section "Conclusions")
- show advantages of your method over previously published methods
- state open problems, cases your method does not or insufficiently work
- identify needed next steps in research on the problem
If you received any significant help in thinking up,
designing, or carrying out the work, received materials (data
sets, source code, ...) from someone who did you a favor by
supplying them or funding, you must acknowledge their
assistance and the service or material provided.
Do not include your dog, your friends, or wife/husband (in
order of importance), or similar Sachen.
- cite all references in the text
- reference order is dependent on publisher, usually it is
alphabetically, sometimes in order of appearance in the text
- include all necessary information for others to locate the
- usually it is not a good idea to reference web pages
- be consistent
required fields of most common entries (names from bibtex):
- article (an article in a journal):
authors, title, journal, volume, number, pages, year
- inproceedings (a paper in conference proceedings):
authors, title, booktitle, pages, year
- book (yes, a book):
author or editor, title, publisher, year
Sometimes interesting but not necessary information about a
paper (e.g., a rather lengthy proof) is included within an
appendix. Usually, it is not necessary.