topical media & game development
write an essay!
Even when you prefer to do practical work, it might well pay off
to take a step back, reflect on your approach and
and study one aspect of multimedia in more detail.
When you plan to work in an academic situation,
it is very likely that at some point you must report
about your work and provide some theoretical context to it.
These few closing paragraphs are meant to give you some hints
about how to approach writing a paper or report.
Independent of how you tackle the process of collecting
material, organizing notes and writing it all down,
keep in mind that the end result must consist of:
title -- indicating the topic
name -- to tell who you are
abstract -- giving the 'message' of your efforts
introduction -- clarifying the approach and structure
background -- explaining the context of the subject
sections -- to elaborate on the subject
related work -- characterizing related approaches
conclusion(s) -- summarizing the main point(s)
references -- listing the literature you consulted
appendices (optional) -- providing extra information
It is surprising how often students forget, for example,
an abstract or a proper introduction.
Often the familiarity with the material, built up
when working with it, seems to make them forget that
for the reader these items are important and cannot
be missed to grasp the point(s) of their efforts.
Also, I wish to note that, although the discipline
of giving references is in computer science much less
strict than in, for example, philosophy,
sufficiently clear references are necessary for the reader
to check and verify your claims.
AS I already indicated I do not wish to elaborate
on how to gather material, how to organize your collection
of potentially useful notes,
or how to convert these notes into readable text.
Rather, I wish to to discuss the distinction, or tension, between form
Form, I would say, is determined by the perspective from which you
approach the material and the goal you set yourself
when writing the paper or report.
Possible perspectives, or if you prefer forms, are:
- review/background -- sketch perspectives, history, viewpoints
- case study -- analyse assumptions, gather empirical data, and explain!
- technical analysis -- technology-oriented, work out the details
- formal study -- clarify in a formal manner, conceptualize and formalize
- tutorial -- explain for the laymen, but do it very good
To be clear, the phrase perspectives as used here is only
vagely related to the use of perspectives when used
to introduce the parts, where it meant to indicate
the scientific discipline or point of view from
which to look at a particular topic.
Content, as opposed to form,
may be characterized as the collection of possible subjects,
which in the area of multimedia include
authoring, digital convergence, standards
and information retrieval.
Obviously, some subjects are better matched with particular
forms or perspectives than others.
For example, a formal study is suitable
for discussing standards, but, to my mind,
less so for explaining multimedia authoring.
To get an idea of how I look at the problem
of reconciling form and content when writing a paper about
multimedia, consult the matrix:
| technical analysis
|formal study ||-||-||++||- |
You may wonder why I don't think of tutorials
as a suitable form for writing about multimedia.
Well, in fact I do think that the form of a tutorial
is an excellent way to write about
multimedia technolgy, but it is not a very rewarding
form for getting academic credits.
When you want to be an acdemic, you'd better
learn to write a technical analysis or case study.
However, by that time perhaps the
generators might have matured to the extent
that writing has become a
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