Date of Award

Fall 2023

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Software Engineering


Electrical, Computer, Software, and Systems Engineering

Committee Chair

Omar Ochoa

First Committee Member

Massood Towhidnejad

College Dean

Jim Gregory


The construction of scientific papers is performed in service of the greater scientific community. This iterative process is, in effect, an academic economy, where all members benefit from well-written papers. However, many published scientific papers are poorly written; they often lack sufficient detail to allow replication, there is improper usage of citations or a lack of regard to relevant work, reporting is vague or without linked empirical data to allow verification, figures do not correspond to text or are non-sensical, literary elements, e.g., bulleted lists, are used ineffectively, formatting renders certain sections unreadable, and grammatical errors abound. The issues of paper quality are widespread and of varying concern. Similarly, the development of software systems is rife with many processual issues, from high-level architectural flaws to small developer errors, e.g., setting a Boolean value to true instead of false, which can be disastrous in large systems. As an answer to these longstanding concerns, software development methods have emerged over decades, most notably, the Waterfall and Agile approaches. These methods have established software engineering as a professional discipline backed by rigorous, empirical evaluation on many systems. A scientific paper is, conceptually, a system to be developed, much like a software system: it has a name, particular sections codified for different purposes, e.g., as the abstract summarizes and the conclusion concludes, it has an author or authors, it goes through several iterations of refinement, it may reference outside systems and it is eventually released to the public, and possibly maintained in future versions. It is posited that, due to the relatively small nature of most scientific papers (4-20 pages), the Agile method of software development can be used to produce more reliable scientific papers, in a more efficient manner and with better availability to readers, by employing the principles of open-source software, and a version control system, e.g., Git. Agile methods consistently provide deliverables of higher quality; this work intends to demonstrate that Agile can be adapted to streamline the scientific writing process and improve publication quality.