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How to Write a Scientific Paper

Scientific Research Paper

❶This isn't a diary.

1. Schedule your writing time in Outlook

Scientific Paper Example


Your Results section is the heart of your paper, representing a year or more of your daily research. So lead your reader through your story by writing direct, concise, and clear sentences. Now that you are almost half through drafting your research paper, it is time to update your outline. While describing your Methods and Results, many of you diverged from the original outline and re-focused your ideas. So before you move on to create your Introduction, re-read your Methods and Results sections and change your outline to match your research focus.

The updated outline will help you review the general picture of your paper, the topic, the main idea, and the purpose, which are all important for writing your introduction. The best way to structure your introduction is to follow the three-move approach shown in Table 3. Adapted from Swales and Feak [ 11 ]. The moves and information from your outline can help to create your Introduction efficiently and without missing steps.

These moves are traffic signs that lead the reader through the road of your ideas. Each move plays an important role in your paper and should be presented with deep thought and care.

When you establish the territory, you place your research in context and highlight the importance of your research topic. By finding the niche, you outline the scope of your research problem and enter the scientific dialogue.

The three moves allow your readers to evaluate their interest in your paper and play a significant role in the paper review process, determining your paper reviewers.

As a result, many novice writers do not present their experimental approach and the major findings, wrongly believing that the reader will locate the necessary information later while reading the subsequent sections [ 5 ]. To interest the reader, scientific authors should be direct and straightforward and present informative one-sentence summaries of the results and the approach. Another problem is that writers understate the significance of the Introduction.

Many new researchers mistakenly think that all their readers understand the importance of the research question and omit this part. However, this assumption is faulty because the purpose of the section is not to evaluate the importance of the research question in general.

The goal is to present the importance of your research contribution and your findings. Therefore, you should be explicit and clear in describing the benefit of the paper. The Introduction should not be long. Indeed, for most journals, this is a very brief section of about to words, but it might be the most difficult section due to its importance. For many scientists, writing a Discussion section is as scary as starting a paper.

Most of the fear comes from the variation in the section. Since every paper has its unique results and findings, the Discussion section differs in its length, shape, and structure. However, some general principles of writing this section still exist. The structure of the first two moves is almost a mirror reflection of the one in the Introduction.

In the Introduction, you zoom in from general to specific and from the background to your research question; in the Discussion section, you zoom out from the summary of your findings to the research context, as shown in Table 4.

Adapted from Swales and Feak and Hess [ 11 , 12 ]. The biggest challenge for many writers is the opening paragraph of the Discussion section. This is important in those cases where the researcher presents a number of findings or where more than one research question was presented. One of the most frequent mistakes of the novice writer is to assume the importance of his findings. Even if the importance is clear to you, it may not be obvious to your reader.

Digesting the findings and their importance to your reader is as crucial as stating your research question. Another useful strategy is to be proactive in the first move by predicting and commenting on the alternative explanations of the results. Addressing potential doubts will save you from painful comments about the wrong interpretation of your results and will present you as a thoughtful and considerate researcher. Moreover, the evaluation of the alternative explanations might help you create a logical step to the next move of the discussion section: The goal of the research context move is to show how your findings fit into the general picture of the current research and how you contribute to the existing knowledge on the topic.

This is also the place to discuss any discrepancies and unexpected findings that may otherwise distort the general picture of your paper.

Moreover, outlining the scope of your research by showing the limitations, weaknesses, and assumptions is essential and adds modesty to your image as a scientist. However, make sure that you do not end your paper with the problems that override your findings. Try to suggest feasible explanations and solutions. This should be a general statement reiterating your answer to the research question and adding its scientific implications, practical application, or advice.

Just as in all other sections of your paper, the clear and precise language and concise comprehensive sentences are vital. However, in addition to that, your writing should convey confidence and authority.

The easiest way to illustrate your tone is to use the active voice and the first person pronouns. Accompanied by clarity and succinctness, these tools are the best to convince your readers of your point and your ideas. Now that you have created the first draft, your attitude toward your writing should have improved. Moreover, you should feel more confident that you are able to accomplish your project and submit your paper within a reasonable timeframe. You also have worked out your writing schedule and followed it precisely.

Just as the best and most precious diamond is no more than an unattractive stone recognized only by trained professionals, your ideas and your results may go unnoticed if they are not polished and brushed. Despite your attempts to present your ideas in a logical and comprehensive way, first drafts are frequently a mess.

Use the advice of Paul Silvia: The degree of your success will depend on how you are able to revise and edit your paper. The revision can be done at the macrostructure and the microstructure levels [ 13 ].

The macrostructure revision includes the revision of the organization, content, and flow. The microstructure level includes individual words, sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The best way to approach the macrostructure revision is through the outline of the ideas in your paper.

The last time you updated your outline was before writing the Introduction and the Discussion. The outline will allow you to see if the ideas of your paper are coherently structured, if your results are logically built, and if the discussion is linked to the research question in the Introduction.

You will be able to see if something is missing in any of the sections or if you need to rearrange your information to make your point. The next step is to revise each of the sections starting from the beginning. Ideally, you should limit yourself to working on small sections of about five pages at a time [ 14 ]. After these short sections, your eyes get used to your writing and your efficiency in spotting problems decreases.

When reading for content and organization, you should control your urge to edit your paper for sentence structure and grammar and focus only on the flow of your ideas and logic of your presentation. Experienced researchers tend to make almost three times the number of changes to meaning than novice writers [ 15 , 16 ]. Revising is a difficult but useful skill, which academic writers obtain with years of practice. In contrast to the macrostructure revision, which is a linear process and is done usually through a detailed outline and by sections, microstructure revision is a non-linear process.

While the goal of the macrostructure revision is to analyze your ideas and their logic, the goal of the microstructure editing is to scrutinize the form of your ideas: You do not need and are not recommended to follow the order of the paper to perform this type of revision. You can start from the end or from different sections. You can even revise by reading sentences backward, sentence by sentence and word by word. One of the microstructure revision strategies frequently used during writing center consultations is to read the paper aloud [ 17 ].

You may read aloud to yourself, to a tape recorder, or to a colleague or friend. When reading and listening to your paper, you are more likely to notice the places where the fluency is disrupted and where you stumble because of a very long and unclear sentence or a wrong connector. Another revision strategy is to learn your common errors and to do a targeted search for them [ 13 ].

All writers have a set of problems that are specific to them, i. Create a list of these idiosyncrasies and run a search for these problems using your word processor. The same targeted search can be done to eliminate wordiness.

The final strategy is working with a hard copy and a pencil. Print a double space copy with font size 14 and re-read your paper in several steps. Try reading your paper line by line with the rest of the text covered with a piece of paper.

When you are forced to see only a small portion of your writing, you are less likely to get distracted and are more likely to notice problems. You will end up spotting more unnecessary words, wrongly worded phrases, or unparallel constructions. After you apply all these strategies, you are ready to share your writing with your friends, colleagues, and a writing advisor in the writing center. Get as much feedback as you can, especially from non-specialists in your field.

You may decide what you want to change and how after you receive the feedback and sort it in your head. Even though some researchers make the revision an endless process and can hardly stop after a 14th draft; having from five to seven drafts of your paper is a norm in the sciences.

It is late at night again. You are still in your lab finishing revisions and getting ready to submit your paper. You will submit your paper tomorrow, and regardless of the outcome, you know that you can do it. If one journal does not take your paper, you will take advantage of the feedback and resubmit again.

You will have a publication, and this is the most important achievement. What is even more important is that you have your scheduled writing time that you are going to keep for your future publications, for reading and taking notes, for writing grants, and for reviewing papers.

You are not going to lose stamina this time, and you will become a productive scientist. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Yale J Biol Med. To whom all correspondence should be addressed: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License, which permits for noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any digital medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not altered in any way.

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Writing a research manuscript is an intimidating process for many novice writers in the sciences.

Schedule your writing time in Outlook Whether you have written papers or you are struggling with your first, starting the process is the most difficult part unless you have a rigid writing schedule. Study more than one sample of scientific paper to see what your writing should look like! How to Write a Scientific Paper When you start your academic paper, you should thoroughly understand what kind of essay you need to complete.

Scientific Paper Example If you are a young scholar or a prospective college or university student, you need to know how to write and publish a scientific paper. Don't waste your time and order a flawless paper right now!

View sample This is only a sample, to get your own paper you need to: Scientific Paper Writing 1. Scientific Paper Writing 2. No more wasting time! Leave your contacts and we will call you back shortly. You need assistance with I want to place an order I want to check up on the progress of my order I'd like to discuss details of my order Other. You want the title to be specific and reflect the data that is presented in the paper.

This is the teaser for the paper, so you want to grab their attention. At the same time, you want to be succinct and use as few words as possible.

Consider which keywords you want to tag so that readers searching for articles on a specific topic will be directed to your work.

Choose to present the data as a figure or a table. The way you present the data is completely up to you, but there are some guidelines to help you decide the best way to show it to readers. Tables are used to present the raw data of the experiment while figures are used to illustrate comparisons. Figures are used to compare the experimental results of the different groups in a visual way.

Format the table properly. When presenting data in a table, you must align any decimal points in numbers. Tables include short self-explanatory titles and brief legends to explain acronyms. You can add these tables to an appendix if absolutely necessary. Position the legend directly above the table. Make data sets easily distinguishable. When constructing a figure, avoid adding too many datasets to one graph. This will look cluttered and will be difficult for the reader to understand.

You may need to split the data into multiple graphs. Avoid adding more than datasets per graph. Label all axes properly and use the appropriate scales.

Include scale markers on photographs. When using microscope images or photographs of specimens, a scale bar must be included so the reader understands the size of what they are looking at. Make the scale bar clear, the font size easily readable, and include it in the corner of the image. If the image is light, make the scale bar a contrasting dark. Use black and white images whenever possible. If you are submitting to a journal, there are substantial fees associated with color images, so avoid using colored figures if you can use line styles or patterned graphs instead.

Use fonts that are large enough to read. When making the figure, the font may look perfectly legible, but keep in mind it will be smaller when placed into the paper itself.

Before you turn the paper in, look through all of the figures and make sure that all of the text is readable without having to squint. Write figure legends that describe the data. The figure legend should be positioned underneath the figure itself. Every source should be cited directly within the paper. If you are making a statement based on information read in a book or another journal article, it needs to be cited directly after the statement.

Cite peer-reviewed literature, manuscripts, and published data. Avoid personal communications, submitted, but unpublished manuscripts, and articles not in English. Check the style guide for format.


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A GUIDE TO WRITING SCIENTIFIC PAPERS. Scientific experiments are demanding, exciting endeavors, but, to have an impact, results must be communicated to others. A research paper is a method of communication, an attempt to tell others about some specific data that you have gathered and what you think those data mean in the context of your research.

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(When you write to non-specialists about scientific topics, we call that science writing.) T he scientific paper has developed over the past three centuries into a tool to communicate the results of scientific inquiry. The main audience for scientific papers is extremely specialized.

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In this paper, I will discuss the issues related to the writing process of a scientific paper. Specifically, I will focus on the best approaches to start a scientific paper, . Students who have faced some difficulties in writing their academic papers may contact our writing experts to get entire information how to write scientific papers. A scientific paper is a paper that is written for scientists by scientists - or, in case of student writers, for scientists by student scientists.

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Feb 21,  · How to Write a Scientific Paper Five Parts: Formatting the Paper Writing the Sections Making the Figures and Tables Citing Your Sources Properly Sample Paper Community Q&A Even if you are not planning to publish a scientific paper, you may be asked to write in this format for a college course or other program%(53). In this section of the MOOC, you will learn what is necessary before writing a paper: the context in which the scientist is publishing. You will learn how to know your own community, through different exemples, and then we will present you how scientific journal and publication works.