Some postgrad rules of thumb
Here will (eventually) come some general "rules" for writing up your work.
If you are my student, please try not to give me anything to read without first
checking here. Thanks!
- R1 compare and contrast:
when you are writing something up, always find a way to put what you are doing in some kind of context.
Give something to compare it with.
- R2 references:
the more the better.
- R3 references:
try to give the original reference. If you give a reference that is not the original, say perhaps "see for example "
(here you are showing that it is not the unique reference on the topic).
- R4 think of the reader:
if you are writing a long unit of work, give a preliminary component
introducing it and saying what the reader will get out of it.
This applies to whole documents, and also to large units within documents.
- R5 think of the reader:
Try to make your document self-contained. This can be done by referencing
other (accessible) documents which contain the
prerequisites, for example.
- R6 think of the reader:
There is no such thing as an informal document. If you are giving it
to someone else (e.g. me or a co-supervisor) then give it due care.
For example, if acknowledgements are appropriate, include them.
- R7 it is mathematics:
avoid subjectivity; avoid non-proofs (proof by bullying;
proof by just wanting it to be true; etc etc).
Respect the structures of mathematical writing (and if you are unsure, ask).