Introduction to Scientific Working

Course Number 705009 | Wintersemester 2020/21


Composition of lecture, discussion, independent student work and oral presentations based on existing papers and presentations of specific topics of the institute. Analysis of structure of scientific papers and preparation of structure and of sections of a paper. Planning and evaluation of oral presentations.

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 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.


Date Time Who Where What
29.10.2020 14:00–16:00 ME, DG, SM Youtube Kick-off and presentation of topics
09.11.2020 12:00–15:00 ME, DG WebEx Writing Lab
16.11.2020 15:00–18:00 ME, DG WebEx Writing Lab
25.01.2021 16:00–18:00 you WebEx Final presentations
25.02.2021 11:00–12:00 you WebEx Presentation Backup Slot


Some tools and resources that are useful for writing papers:


  • Account on, you get that from your advisor
  • Use latexdiff-git to generate a PDF which highlights the differences to a previous version


  • We have Grammarly to check your paper’s spelling and grammar. You can get an account from your advisor
  • latexgrammarly script to check LaTeX files (extgit login required)

LaTeX ISW/Thesis Template

  • IAIK has an (optional) template for bachelor’s theses (login first).
  • For ISW, you can use the same template and focus on the Abstract/Introduction/Background part.

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
  • Use Google Scholar or DBLP to find bib entries

Introduction to LaTeX

Paper Structure

Writing a Paper

  • Look at papers that do similar things – 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). Don’t directly address the reader.
  • Try not to use gendered terms or pronouns (e.g., no personal pronouns like he/she); 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
  • May include a short outlook on main lessons learned/conclusions, potential future work

Administrative Information

Discord channel:


Please register to the course in TUGRAZonline.

To get started, contact a supervisor to discuss potential topics and send us a confirmation email after you decided:

  • Deadline: 9 November 2020
  • To:
  • CC: Your supervisor
  • Subject: ISW topic registration
  • Content: Which topic? Which courses (ISW, project, thesis)?

For more administrative information, please refer to the kick-off slides.


After successful completion of the course the students are familiar with methods of scientific methods of operation and have acquired a basic understanding for them. They are able to analyse the structure of written scientific papers and of oral presentations and are also able to apply the acquired knowledge to their own work.

Teaching Method

Technical-scientific work under guidance; preparation of the structure and of sections of a scientific paper and oral presentations.

How to get a grade

Written scientific paper and oral presentation (possibly virtual).


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

Assistant Professor

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Christian Rechberger


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