Write a scientific research paper

Types of Abstracts. To begin, you need to determine which type of abstract you should include with your paper.

Structure of a Scientific Manuscript

There are four general types. The researcher evaluates the paper and often compares it with other works on the same subject. Critical abstracts are generally words in length due to the additional interpretive commentary. These types of abstracts are used infrequently.


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  • Writing and publishing a scientific research paper.

Descriptive Abstract A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research.

Essentially, the descriptive abstract only describes the work being summarized. Some researchers consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short, words or less. Informative Abstract The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it.

A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself.

11 steps to structuring a science paper editors will take seriously

That is, the researcher presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the paper. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract [purpose, methods, scope] but it also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is usually no more than words in length.

In that a highlight abstract cannot stand independent of its associated article, it is not a true abstract and, therefore, rarely used in academic writing. Writing Style. Use the active voice when possible , but note that much of your abstract may require passive sentence constructions. Regardless, write your abstract using concise, but complete, sentences. Get to the point quickly and always use the past tense because you are reporting on a study that has been completed. Abstracts should be formatted as a single paragraph in a block format and with no paragraph indentations.

In most cases, the abstract page immediately follows the title page. The parameter that was measured growth. The specific organism that was studied the bacterium, Escherichia coli. If the title had been only "Effects of Light and Temperature on Escherichia coli ", the reader would have to guess which parameters were measured. That is, were the effects on reproduction, survival, dry weight or something else?

If the title had been "Effect of Environmental Factors on Growth of Escherichia coli ", the reader would not know which environmental factors were manipulated. If the title had been "Effects of Light and Temperature on the Growth of an Organism", then the reader would not know which organism was studied. In any of the above cases, the reader would be forced to read more of the paper to understand what the researcher had done.

Exceptions do occur: If several factors were manipulated, all of them do not have to be listed. Instead, "Effects of Several Environmental Factors on Growth of Populations of Escherichia coli " if more than two or three factors were manipulated would be appropriate. The same applies if more than two or three organisms were studied.

How to write a scientific paper—Writing the methods section | Pulmonology

The researcher would then include the names of the bacteria in the Materials and Methods section of the paper. The abstract section in a scientific paper is a concise digest of the content of the paper. An abstract is more than a summary. A summary is a brief restatement of preceding text that is intended to orient a reader who has studied the preceding text. An abstract is intended to be self-explanatory without reference to the paper, but is not a substitute for the paper. The abstract should present, in about words, the purpose of the paper, general materials and methods including, if any, the scientific and common names of organisms , summarized results, and the major conclusions.

Do not include any information that is not contained in the body of the paper. Exclude detailed descriptions of organisms, materials and methods. Tables or figures, references to tables or figures, or references to literature cited usually are not included in this section.


  • Before writing: delimiting your scientific paper;
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  • Layout and Length!

The abstract is usually written last. An easy way to write the abstract is to extract the most important points from each section of the paper and then use those points to construct a brief description of your study. The Introduction is the statement of the problem that you investigated. It should give readers enough information to appreciate your specific objectives within a larger theoretical framework. After placing your work in a broader context, you should state the specific question s to be answered.

This section may also include background information about the problem such as a summary of any research that has been done on the problem in the past and how the present experiment will help to clarify or expand the knowledge in this general area. All background information gathered from other sources must, of course, be appropriately cited.

Proper citation of references will be described later. A helpful strategy in this section is to go from the general, theoretical framework to your specific question. However, do not make the Introduction too broad. Remember that you are writing for classmates who have knowledge similar to yours. Present only the most relevant ideas and get quickly to the point of the paper. For examples, see the Appendix. This section explains how and, where relevant, when the experiment was done.

The researcher describes the experimental design, the apparatus, methods of gathering data and type of control. If any work was done in a natural habitat, the worker describes the study area, states its location and explains when the work was done. If specimens were collected for study, where and when that material was collected are stated. DO NOT write this section as though it were directions in a laboratory exercise book. Instead of writing:. First pour agar into six petri plates. Then inoculate the plates with the bacteria.

Then put the plates into the incubator. Simply describe how the experiment was done:. Six petri plates were prepared with agar and inoculated with the bacteria. The plates were incubated for ten hours.

How to Format a Scientific Paper

The materials that were used in the research are simply mentioned in the narrative as the experimental procedure is described in detail. If well-known methods were used without changes, simply name the methods e. If modified standard techniques were used, describe the changes. Here the researcher presents summarized data for inspection using narrative text and, where appropriate, tables and figures to display summarized data. Only the results are presented.

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No interpretation of the data or conclusions about what the data might mean are given in this section. Do not present raw data! Do not repeat extensively in the text the data you have presented in tables and figures. But, do not restrict yourself to passing comments either. For example, only stating that "Results are shown in Table 1.

The text describes the data presented in the tables and figures and calls attention to the important data that the researcher will discuss in the Discussion section and will use to support Conclusions. Rules to follow when constructing and presenting figures and tables are presented in a later section of this guide. Here, the researcher interprets the data in terms of any patterns that were observed, any relationships among experimental variables that are important and any correlations between variables that are discernible.

The author should include any explanations of how the results differed from those hypothesized, or how the results were either different from or similar to those of any related experiments performed by other researchers. Remember that experiments do not always need to show major differences or trends to be important. A useful strategy in discussing your experiment is to relate your specific results back to the broad theoretical context presented in the Introduction.

Understanding academia

Since your Introduction went from the general to a specific question, going from the specific back to the general will help to tie your ideas and arguments together. Revisions of previously published articles with new titles or authors; 6. Reprints of your articles published in other periodicals, with the written permission of the copyright holder; 7. Papers you wrote as an undergraduate or graduate student, but were never published; 9. Any other article or paper you have written that you would like to publish. Our philosophy is that if you have done research, written a paper, or have an opinion about some subject, you should be able to get it published for the world to see, and receive publishing credit for it.

Wheras reviews, case reports and other articles have non-structured abstracts. Conclusions: [occasionally optional or not required]. Do not reiterate the data or discussion.

Can state hunches, inferences or speculations. Offer perspectives for future work. Then list here the correspondig articles, books, websites, or other sources you used and referred to in the text of your paper. Acknowledgements: Names of people who contributed to the work, but did not contribute sufficiently to earn authorship.