Computer Laboratory

Research Skills


The notes relating to the writing lectures are Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 8 of Writing for Computer Science.

Writing the First Draft & Editing

  • 1984: look at the opening paragraph of the first draft of George Orwell's 1984. Consider how many changes Orwell made to that draft. Here is an analysis of the changes Orwell made to the first page of the book, between that first draft and the final, published version.
  • John Wyndham didn't get Day of the Triffids' opening right at first. Compare the original manuscript (below) with the published version. What is different? What has been removed, added, and moved? Why is the published version better?

    Image of manuscript page taken at the Out of this World exhibition at the British Library.
  • I have written an example (88kB PDF) that demonstrates Exercise 5. This shows repeated editing, cutting the number of words down by 30 each time. I have used Microsoft Word's reviewing facility to show you exactly which words have been removed and which added on each iteration; you do not need to do this for your submission.

Lecture 12: writing a good paper

This is a guest lecture by Prof. Simon Peyton Jones from Microsoft Research Cambridge.


These resources are the homework reading for this lecture.