Saturday, December 27, 2008

On reviewing a student's paper drafts

Posted on Saturday Oct 18, 2008

We will have three reviewing phases of your paper drafts:

Phase 1: Submit your draft to me for me to review the ideas (in the phase, I won't fix your writing but focus on your ideas, just like the way a PC member reviews your draft). After you receive my feedback, you revise your draft based on my feedback. Then you repeat Phase 1 till I explicitly tell you to do a peer review (moving on to Phase 2). When you send me a new version via iterations, you need to highlight the changed parts that need my attention.

Phase 2: Submit your draft to a peer student for the student to review both the writing and idea. After you receive the feedback from the student, you revise your draft based on the feedback. Move on to Phase 3.

Phase 3: Submit your draft to me for me to review both the writing and ideas. Note that I will review your writing only after you have gone through Phase 2.

This policy is also applicable to the intermediate writing during the research development besides the final writing before the submission deadline.

I want to point out another thing on intermediate writing during research development. Many students sit too long on a writing phase before actual tool development or evaluation. I expect the turnaround time for submitting your writing to me in a cycle of one week or two weeks. But some students take multiple weeks to prepare the writing to submit to me. Doing so loses the point of the original intention: getting in-time and early feedback on your work.

Here are my more explicit guideline on intermediate writing during the life cycle of research development:

(1) Prepare the abstract, introduction, example, and related work sections and submit them to me.

--> Start tool development

(2) Prepare the approach section and submit it to me

--> Continue tool development

(3) Refine the approach section and prepare the evaluation design section and submit them to me

--> Finish tool development
--> Conduct evaluation

(4) Prepare the evaluation results section and submit them to me

--> Now you shall have a relatively complete draft after you add the conclusion section and discussion section if needed.

Additional points:

*. In each later phase, you should refine and improve sections written during early phases.

*. Before you write down your ideas (on your approach or evaluation design, etc.) in your paper as formal writing, you need to discuss with me to get my OK stamp on the things that you are going to write down. I had been through some cases where a student spent a lot of time in writing down what the student thought to be a reasonable idea before discussing with me on the idea. After I read the writing, I rejected the idea with good reasons. Then the student basically had to discard the old writing (with a lot of time previously being wasted). That is, don't rely on only the formal writing as the only media for communicating with me with your ideas or work. You need to fully discuss with me with what you plan to write down in your formal writing.

Again, remember that you shouldn't sit on the writing for one of the above phases for too long.

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