Introduction to Scientific Working (WS 2023/24)

Course Number 700200 | Wintersemester 2023/24

Write and talk about scientific research


In this course, you'll learn how to write and talk about scientific research. Together, we'll analyze the structure of scientific papers and discuss how to plan and write your own paper (you'll write a short report yourself). We'll also plan and evaluate scientific oral presentations (you'll give a short presentation yourself). We want to include you in our research activities. Therefore, we designed our Bachelor@IAIK program to prepare and accompany you from start to end during an interesting research project. Our Bachelor@IAIK program consists of the three classes ISW (Introduction to Scientific Working), the optional Bachelor Project, and the Bachelor Thesis. Of course, you can also take these classes independently, but we’d be happy to welcome you in our Bachelor@IAIK program spanning multiple, ideally all three, of these classes. The available research topics are typically related to our institute's courses (CON, SLP, OS, LC, InfoSec), so we assume you are enthusiastic about at least one of those.


Date Time Who Where What
13.10.2023 12:00–13:30 ME, SM IAIK ground floor Kick-off, awards, open topics, pizza
13.10.2023 23:59 you TUGRAZonline Course registration deadline (better sooner, places are limited!)
23.10.2023 10:00–12:00 ME, DG HS i12 Writing Lab I – Structure
30.10.2023 10:00–12:00 ME, DG HS i12 Writing Lab II – Style
31.10.2023 23:59 you Email Topic registration deadline
06.11.2023 10:00–12:00 ME, DG HS i12 Writing Lab III – LaTeX
13.11.2023 10:00–12:00 ME, DG HS i12 (Backup date)
20.11.2023 10:00–12:00 ME, DG HS i12 Presentation Lab
15.12.2023 23:59 you Git Report draft submission deadline
08.01.2024 23:59 you Email Confirm presentation
11.01.2024 14:00–16:00 you IAIK (Track 1), HS i2 (Track 2) Final presentations
31.01.2024 23:59 you Git Report final submission deadline
16.02.2024 14:00–16:30 you IAIK (Track 3) Final presentations
28.02.2024 14:00–16:30 you IAIK (Track 4) Final presentations

Administrative Information

Discord channel: #isw on Discord

Topic Registration

Please register to the course group Information Security (IAIK) in TUGRAZonline. We strongly recommend to join the kick-off event, where you get an overview of our topics and can easily get in touch with potential supervisors.

To get started, contact a supervisor from a research area to discuss potential ISW/bachelor topics. Agree on a topic and discuss whether you are considering to continue with a bachelor thesis on the same topic. Send us a confirmation email after you decided:

  • Deadline: 31 October 23:59
  • From: Your email
  • To:
  • CC: Your supervisor(s)
  • Subject: [ISW] Topic registration
  • Content: My topic: <Working title of your topic> Supervisors (in CC): <Names of your supervisors> <Your name>


Confirm by email whether you present on the main date (January) or on the backup date (February):

  • Deadline: 8 January 2024
  • From: Your email
  • To:
  • CC: Your supervisor(s)
  • Subject: [ISW] Presentation confirmation
  • Content: My topic: <Final title of your topic> Supervisors (in CC): <Names of your supervisors> Presentation date: <January or February; any other restrictions (e.g., collisions)?> <Your name>

The presentations will be split into multiple tracks. Attend your track to present and discuss other presentations.

We expect that each talk takes 7-8 minutes, plus 2-3 minutes for Q&A and feedback. You can either present on your own laptop (HDMI - bring an adapter if necessary) or send a PDF version of your slides to your session chair until 1 hour before the track starts.

Report Submission

Prepare your written report in November/December. Ask your supervisor for advice where needed. Proofread it with the help of tools like Grammarly or similar software. You'll submit two versions of the report:

  • Draft version draft.pdf by 15 December 23:59: This is a complete draft document. Your supervisor will provide feedback by mid-January and probably recommend some improvements.
  • Final version final.pdf by 31 January 23:59: This is the final version incorporating all recommendations from your supervisor.

Push each report version to the repo's main branch in the root folder. (Use git add -f draft.pdf in case your .gitignore file excludes pdfs.) Both versions will influence your grade: Based on the draft version, we evaluate your independent literature research and scientific writing as advised in the writing labs (i.e., your process). Based on the final version, we evaluate the document itself in detail as a scientific text (i.e., your output).

Evaluation Criteria

We evaluate your draft report, final report, and presentation according to the following criteria (for supervisors: xslx, md):

Deliverable Category Points Details
Research & Draft Literature research 0 to 10 Did the student independently find relevant, representative literature based on initial guidance? Do they research the topic in sufficient depth and cite appropriate literature?
Correctness 0 to 10 Are the facts accurate? Is the state-of-the-art represented correctly? Are conclusions well-substantiated and logical? Are intellectual contributions attributed clearly?
Structure 0 to 10 Is the report well-structured (as far as the page limits permit)? Are the abstract, introduction, conclusion well-structured? Are the relevant contents covered?
Draft Style 0 to 10 Is the text style of the draft appropriate for a scientific report (language, typesetting)? This grade reflects how much guidance on text style from the supervisor is necessary.
Final Report Final Contents 0 to 10 Does the final report accurately cover the topic in a well-structured way? Are the bibliographic references appropriate?
Language 0 to 10 Are statements unambiguous and conclusions logical? Is the standard of English satisfactory and appropriate for scientific communication?
Typesetting 0 to 10 Is the typesetting appropriate for a scientific text (clear figures/tables, crossreferencing, citations, subject-specific notation)
Presentation Structure 0 to 10 Is the presentation well-structured for the target duration? Does it provide a good overview of the topic, including appropriate introduction and conclusions?
Slides 0 to 10 Are the slides appropriate for scientific communication (clarity of facts, good use of data/figures, clarity of attribution/references)? Are they helpful for the audience?
Talk 0 to 10 Does the talk communicate the topic clearly? Is the standard of English satisfactory? Does the nonverbal communication support the verbal communication well?

We also conduct a plagiarism check of your submitted report.

Grading scheme:

Grade 5 4 3 2 1
Min. Points < 50 ≥ 50 ≥ 60 ≥ 70 ≥ 80 of 100

ISW Deliverables


Use the provided LaTeX template. The final report should be at least 4 pages in this template (counting Section 1 "Introduction" to Section X "Conclusion", but not the title/abstract page or the bibliography). The focus of the report is primarily on the Introduction and Background parts, though you can add additional sections or rename the Background section (e.g., 1 Introduction, 2 Background on Lightweight Cryptography, 3 Comparison of Lightweight Ciphers, 4 Conclusion - discuss with your advisor). Check out the length recommendations given in the template.

  • if you're also doing a bachelor's thesis, you can write the report as if they were the first few pages of your thesis, focusing on the background (and telling a story in the Abstract/Introduction as if you had already achieved some of the planned goals of the thesis).

  • if you do only ISW, your topic describes your research question - answer it in a dedicated section (e.g., Section 3) or the conclusion.


You won't be able to explain everything in this short time - use it to give your fellow students a short introduction to the motivation, background and highlights of the topic you've selected.

For your slides, you can use any Powerpoint / LaTeX Beamer / Google Slides / ... Template you deem appropriate for science communication; if unsure, consider using the TU Graz templates (URLs in the ISW template

Follow a similar structure as in the report; depending on your presentation style, you might need somewhere between 5 and 15 slides for this:

  • Title slide (you can give a miniature abstract of 1-2 spoken sentences during this slide as well, but don't put it on the slides)
  • Motivation & main question
  • Background on existing work
  • Results/Discussion (if applicable)
  • Conclusion slide with key take-away messages to end on
  • Bibliography (not shown during talk, but you can cite items)


Some tools and resources that are useful for writing papers:


Grammar and Style Checking

  • We recommend to use an automated language checker like Grammarly to check your paper's spelling, grammar, and style. If you work on a bachelor's thesis, you'll receive an account from us. For privacy reasons, we recommend using only the web interface/API instead of installing any browser extensions or apps. You can also use any other advanced grammar checker you feel more comfortable with.

LaTeX ISW/Thesis Template

Presentation Templates

  • Feel free to use whichever tool and template you find suitable.
  • TU Graz offers templates for PowerPoint and LaTeX Beamer (git).


  • Ask your supervisor for a .bib file and follow this style (or the examples in report.bib)
  • Use Google Scholar or DBLP to find complete bib entries

Introduction to LaTeX

Writing Papers

  • Look at papers that do similar things, then try to extract characteristics
  • Think of sections you will need in your paper (see “Paper Structure”)
  • Plan how many pages each section should have. It is a lot easier to write if you have a target.
  • Everything is usually written in present tense (except Conclusion, the only section in past tense)
  • Try to write everything in the active voice, use passive voice only sparingly
  • Always use “We”, “Our”, not “I”, “My” (exception: Acknowledgements, Thesis Contribution). Don't directly address the reader.
  • Try not to use gendered terms or pronouns (e.g., avoid personal pronouns like he/she for the hypothetical attacker); prefer neutral nouns, “they”, etc. unless you want to write about a specific person (“He/She was the first to show…”).

General Structure

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Background and Preliminaries
  • Optional: Attack Model/Threat Model/Reverse Engineering/Definitions/…
  • Main Section(s) (Idea, Design, Implementation, …)
  • Evaluation
  • Optional: Related Work (might already be in Background)
  • Optional: Discussion
  • Optional: Limitations (if there are any), Future Work (if something is not finished yet)
  • Conclusion


  • Consists of two parts (background and your contribution) in 1-3 paragraphs
  • Start with a few sentences of general introduction/background
  • Introduce what you did
  • Describe the impact (either real-world impact or impact on the scientific community)
  • Provide all the important numbers/results
  • Propose what we should do now (i.e., use the idea, get rid of something, find a countermeasure, …)


  • Longer version of the abstract
  • Must be convincing, readers stop if they don't like the introduction
  • A bit of background first, describing that something has to be done (e.g., a problem needs to be solved)
  • Describe your point, what you had to do (e.g., to solve a problem)
  • There can also be a research question (which you are going to answer in this paper)
  • There can be a discussion of how your work fits in with related work
  • List of around 3 to 5 main contributions near the end. The contributions neatly summarize everything you contributed to the scientific community with this paper.
  • Introduction ends with an outline (aka mapping), showing where to find what in the paper: “In Section 2, we introduce…”


  • Everything that is not common knowledge; depends on the target audience. For a bachelor thesis: your audience is bachelor students which do not have a bachelor thesis yet (e.g., 5th-semester students)
  • Introduces topics which are necessary to understand the remainder of the paper

Threat Model / Attacker Model / Scope / Goal (optional)

  • Assumptions on the attacker's capabilities, how the environment looks like, which software/hardware is used/required, …

Main Section(s)

  • Everything you contributed
  • Have an overview figure of your idea/design/implementation. A reader should get the idea just from this figure.
  • No timeline; everything happens now
  • Don't write how hard it was/how long it took you; the reader does not care
  • Explain your contribution to someone else - this helps you to judge what you have to write in the main section (and what not).


  • Everything you did has to be evaluated: Depending on what you did, this might include runtime/performance, quality/success probability, complexity analysis, security analysis, …
  • Think of statistical significance (use formulas/online calculators for that)
  • Repeat experiments, provide (at least) number of repetitions, average, standard deviation.
  • A lot of numbers, plots, tables; the more, the better
  • Still, the text must be self-contained (i.e., every important information must be in the text, not only in figures)
  • For figures: they should be readable when printed in black and white, and also for colourblind people: use patterns (dashed, dotted, …), different markers for plots (diamond, cross, circle, …), different widths for lines, …
  • Compare your numbers to state-of-the-art papers


  • Very similar to the abstract, but in past tense
  • Repeat hard facts/numbers/main properties of your solution, summarize your main insights
  • May include a short outlook on main lessons learned/conclusions, potential future work


Stefan Mangard

Head of Institute

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Roderick Bloem


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Maria Eichlseder

Assistant Professor

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Daniel Gruß


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Bettina Könighofer

Assistant Professor

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Christian Rechberger


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Sujoy Sinha Roy
Sinha Roy

Associate Professor

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Arne Tauber


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