Technical Writing

Here are a list of suggestions that may help you with technical writing.  I have gleaned these from many sources.  See the reference list for expanded coverage.

Categorization of Your Paper

Writing Issues

Generic Issues

Professional and Ethical Issues


  1. Robert A. Day, How to write and publish a scientific paper, 5th edition, Oryx Press, 1998.
  2. Joseph Gibaldi and Walter S. Achtert, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, The Modern Language Association of America, 1988. This is a basic, college textbook.
  3. Ralph E. Johnson, et al., "How to get a paper accepted at OOPSLA," in OOPSLA 1993 Conference Proceedings, ACM Sigplan Notices, vol. 28, no. 10, Oct. 1993. (This is a panel discussion in which each panelist discusses specific issues: theoretical papers, experience papers, methods, programming language papers [this conference is devoted to object oriented programming systems and the languages that support it], the paper-writing process. Although this is targeted for a particular conference and topic area, the suggestions are general and applicable to most papers in computing. The paper acceptance rate at this conference was only 9%.)
  4. Linda Levine, Linda H. Pesante, and Susan B. Dunkle, Technical Writing for Software Engineers, Curriculum Module SEI-CM-23, Carnegie-Mellon University, November, 1991. This 75 page document is available through Research Access, Inc., 800 Vinial Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. The principal audience for this is teachers of technical writing for software engineering students. Almost half of this document consists of an excellent, annotated bibliography.
  5. Alan J. Smith, "The task of the referee," Computer, April 1990.
  6. Alan Snyder, "How to get your paper accepted a OOPSLA," in OOPSLA 1991 Conference Proceedings, ACM Sigplan Notices, vol. 26, no. 11, Nov. 1991. (Alan Snyder was the program chairman for this conference. He discusses the paper acceptance criteria and tells why many of the submitted papers were rejected. I highly recommend this paper!)
  7. William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style, Macmillan Publishing Co., New York, 1979. This short book is the principal book on writing that I recommend to my own students.
  8. Mark N. Wegman, "What it's like to be a POPL referee, or how to write an extended abstract so that it is more likely to be accepted," ACM Sigplan Notices, vol. 21, no. 5, May 1986.
  9. The IEEE Power Engineering Society has good guidelines for overheads here.