Writing Guides and Templates

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MS Thesis



PhD Dissertation




Writing Style

Grammar and Word Usage

which vs. that [Grammarist | Grammarly]

where vs. in which

affect vs. effect

such as vs. like

avoid contractions such as can't

like vs. such as

Never begin a sentence with also. Use furthermore instead.

"in addition to" or "in contrast to", not "apart from"

Never use superlatives that aren't either

  • quantitatively supported in the paper
  • referenced from a quality paper that quantitatively supports
  • obvious to the community


Tense: Previous work is in the past tense, e.g. Many researchers have investigated the problem of weaving baskets under water. Current work described in the paper is in present tense, even though it reflects work recently done in the past, e.g. We use the ns-3 simulator to show that A outperforms B.

Oxford comma: We always use the comma before conjunctions (and, or, nor), e.g. resilience, survivability, and disruption tolerance (rather than resilience, survivability and disruption tolerance). This permits compound items within the list to consist of conjunctions without ambiguity. The Wikipedia article has extensive examples and rationale for and against the Oxford comma. There is a Facebook page for fans of the Oxford comma.

Alternatives: never use a slash for alternatives links/nodes

Never use and/or

Plural: never use parenthesis to mean one or more, simply use the plural.
Example: “paths” not “path(s)”
If for some reason you need to emphasise the singular option, be explicit in words (but this is rarely necessary).
Example: “one or more paths

never use quotes for emphasis, only when quoting unusual jargon or actually quoting a definition of phrase from another author

sparing use of parenthesis; prefer "such as" or similar construct

Acronyms: Acronyms must be be spelled out on first use, e.g. Resilient Transport Protocol (ResTP), unless trivial to a given readership, e.g. TCP. Acronyms should contain a parenthetical reminder when used after a long gap after which the reader may have forgotten the expansion, for example in a new chapter of a thesis or monograph, e.g. ResTP (Resilient Transport Protocol). This is particularly important for papers with many similar acronyms. In this case a table of acronyms should be provided if space allows. Individual words in acronyms must be capitalised if and only if they are a proper noun, such as the name of a particular system, protocol, or algorithm, e.g. Multipath TCP (MPTCP). They should not be capitalised if referring to a commonly-used generic (non-proper-noun) sequence of words, e.g. software defined networking (SDN) rather than Software Defined Networking (SDN).

Note that the words Internet and Web are capitalised when referring to the Global Internet and the World-Wide Web, respectively. This also applies to the Future Internet. There are very few cases where the use of a generic internet are appropriate, however the word intranet generally applies to generic version and should not be capitalised, unless part of a longer proper noun. There are many cases in which the word web refers to a generic entity, such as web page.

(to merge) Internet (the one and only Global Internet we are using now) vs. internet (a network using IP but disconnected from the Global Internet) and Web (the one and only World Wide Web we are using now that is an overlay on the Internet) vs. web. It is trickier when distinguishing between Web page (a page on the WWW) vs. web page (textual information using HTML as primary markup) and Web browser (in the context of browsing the WWW) vs. web browser (software that renders HTML). We rarely need internet (with a lower-case i) but more often use both forms of Web/web.

Avoid Anthropomorphisms: request instead of ask, determines instead of decides, etc.


  • References are *not* nouns, and should never begin a sentence
    • e.g. use "a new architecture that frizzle the spangles [ABC2017] has been proposed" rather than "[ABC2017] proposed a new architecture that frizzle the spangles"

do not use names of people unless:

  • seminal e.g. Shannon
  • in a survey paper or related work chapter of a thesis, but be consistant


Sans serf font (\sf in LaTeX; Consolas in PowerPoint) for the names of protocol fields and signalling messages

Italic font {\it in LaTeX; italic in PowerPoint) for emphasis

Slanted font {\sl in LaTeX; italic in PowerPoint) for introduction of new terms as part of the research being publihsed

Presentation Style

Mathematics Style

Publication Venues


Legitimate Journals and Conferences

Societies: IEEE, ACM, IFIP and others

Journals: IEEE, ACM, For profits (Springer, Elsevier, Wiley), and others


What to look for:

Web site: any red flags in content or sponsors

Editorial board listed? Some members well known from well-known institutions? Are these real people?

Is journal on topic? Or a very general interdisciplinary, or suite of many journals?

Does the name start with "International Journal of..."


Is it on the predatory journal list https://predatoryjournals.com/journals/

Formerly Beall's list https://beallslist.weebly.com/

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