Structure your text

A well-organized text structure aids readers in easily following your arguments and progression of your text. Simultaneously, it provides a framework for you to systematically organize your content during the writing process.

In computer science, the structure of scientific texts typically mirrors the research workflow. Initially, you identify a problem to solve, gather necessary background information, and review existing work. Following that, you develop innovative ideas, implement them, and assess the outcomes. Each of these phases involves various sub-steps, like formulating hypotheses, weighing pros and cons, or tackling individual tasks.

Similarly, the text structure is hierarchical. The main theme is divided into several chapters, which are further broken down into sections, sub-sections, and ultimately into paragraphs and sentences. Each level of this hierarchy serves a specific purpose, which will be explained in the upcoming sections.


Chapters form the broadest sections of your text. Consequently, the selection and organization of chapters depend on your specific content; there isn’t a universal template that suits every scenario.

Here are some typical structures adopted by many theses, reports, and papers:

  • Structure 1 for studies,
  • Structure 2 for software projects, and
  • Structure 3 for literature research.

These frameworks serve as starting points to tailor the structure of your document according to the nature and requirements of your work.

Structure 1 Structure 2 Structure 3
Abstract Abstract Abstract
Introduction Introduction Introduction
Related Work Background Literature Review
Methodology Approach Data Collection
Results Implementation Analysis
Discussion Analysis Conclusion
Conclusion Evaluation Bibliography
Future Work Related Work Appendix
Bibliography Conclusion
Appendix Future Work

The titles of these chapters are not cut in stone. You may modify them as needed.

Be aware that some terms may serve similar purposes or overlap:

  • Related Work and Literature Review
  • Methodology, Methods, and Approach

In certain instances, alternative terms may be more suitable; for example for studies, Study Design might be preferred over Methodology.

Additionally, you have the option to combine or separate sections; for instance, a brief Background section could be included within your Introduction, or Future Work could be incorporated into your Conclusion.


The Abstract provides a concise and precise summary of your text, typically ranging from 200 to 250 words. It should:

  • offer a brief motivation,
  • set the context,
  • describe your achievements and methodologies, and
  • highlight key results,

without delving into extensive details.

It’s advisable to write the abstract later, once you have a clear overview of the entire document’s content.


The Introduction serves as the opening segment of your thesis, aiming to engage and motivate the reader. Here, you:

  • present your hypothesis or define the problem, and
  • outline your contributions in this work.

The Introduction usually spans one to two pages, providing a deeper context than the abstract but maintaining brevity. Like the abstract, it may be best to compose the introduction at a later point in time.

In this section, you’ll position your research within the broader field by reviewing relevant literature. This includes studies on foundational theories, similar research, or alternative methodologies. It’s essential to:

  • provide clear and concise descriptions,
  • identify any parallels with existing work, and
  • emphasize your distinctions and improvements.

Related work can be sourced from a variety of materials, including academic papers, books, theses, online resources, or even oral presentations and discussions. Reviewing these resources early in your project sets a solid foundation. The placement of this chapter varies: place it early if explaining foundational concepts and prior research, or later to contrast and compare your findings with existing solutions.


Including a background chapter helps ensure all readers have the necessary understanding to grasp your work, regardless of their specialty within computer science. While you can assume a general level of knowledge, remember that not all computer scientists will be familiar with specific subfields or concepts. For instance, they might understand what a binary search tree is and how to read code, but not the nuances of symmetric vs. asymmetric encryption or the differences between black-box and white-box testing.

Main Part

The main part details all the work you’ve conducted independently. This extensive section unfolds across several chapters and constitutes the bulk of your document. In this segment, you should:

  • explain all your methodologies, approaches, and designs,
  • justify your choices and detail their application,
  • present the evaluations, and
  • discuss the outcomes and implications of your findings.


The conclusion wraps up your research, summarizing your work and presenting your findings, unanswered questions, potential edge cases, and limitations. It may also contain a section on Future Work, suggesting paths for forthcoming research and enhancements.

Use this section to prepare a comprehensive handover: imagine providing a successor with all they need to advance your work, offering a clear and comprehensive guide for potential future directions.


The bibliography section enumerates all the references you’ve cited in your work. For more details on how to manage citations effectively, refer to the section on Use citations and Citations in LaTeX.


The appendix serves as a repository for supplementary material that supports your main text, such as study questionnaires or additional datasets. If you include this information on a CD/DVD, ensure you catalog the contents provided—be it source code, digital copies of referenced materials, outcomes of studies, or benchmark results.