How to Write a Scientific Research Paper
This article is a guide to help you know how to write a scientific research paper that is impressive with ease. The aim of a research paper is to tell others about specific data you have gathered and what it means in the context of research.
The guidelines for writing scientific research papers are rigid and very different from those used in library research or English theme paper. Obviously the paper must adhere to proper use of English language. Additionally, it has to be written in a concise and clear manner in order to ensure readers understand what you have carried out and how you have carried it out.
It is important as you write a scientific research paper, to understand the general format used. This can be highlighted as follows:
- Cited works
Tips on how to write a scientific research paper
Section headings (introduction, abstract etc.) must be centered. The body of every section needs to follow immediately below the heading. Each section should not be started on a new page. If there is a section that ends way down a page, it should immediately be followed by the next heading section on that same page.
A general, important rule you need to bear in mind is that the paper should report something done in the past. Therefore, you must writ the paper in past tense (were, was) while the present tense should only be used for stating conclusion or generalizations.
Often, the present tense is used in the Conclusion, Introduction and Discussion sessions. The paper is supposed to read as narrative where the author described results obtained from the work and what was done.
One good sample paper to help you know how to write a scientific research paper can be viewed at wikihow.com.
Every scientific research paper should have a title that is self-explanatory. The reader, through the title should be able to say what the paper is about without reading the content. For instance, the title “A Biological Laboratory Report” does not tell the reader anything while “Effects of Temperature and Light on Growth of Bacterium, Escherichia coli” reports what has been done by the researcher by highlighting 3 things:
- Environmental factors manipulated (temperature, light).
- Parameter measured (growth).
- Specific organism studied (bacterium, Escherichia coli).
In this section, you are supposed to present a brief digest of the research paper content. Ideally, it should be more than the average summary and must be self-explanatory without any references to the paper though it should not be a substitute.
Note that your abstract should be about 250 words and should be a presentation of the paper’s purpose, the general methods and materials, summarized results as well as major conclusions. You should not add any information that cannot be found in the body of your paper.
Detailed descriptions such as those of methods, organisms and materials should not be included in your abstract. Also, references, figures or tables and literature cited should not be added to this section. Usually, you should write the abstract last by extracting important points from every section of the paper and using the points to write a short description of the study.
As you write your scientific research paper, it is important to explore strategies of writing an introduction. The introduction should be a statement of the issue you have investigated. It is supposed to give your reads information so they can appreciate your objectives within a large theoretical framework.
In this section you are supposed to include some background information regarding the problem, for instance summary of research carried out in the past. Any background information you provide from other sources must be cited appropriately. Keep in mind that the introduction should be brief and not too broad.
Therefore, present ideas that are most relevant and move to the central point of your paper immediately.
Another sample to help you get more insight on how to write a scientific research paper can be found here.
Methods and Materials
In this section, you are supposed to explain where and how the experiment was carried out. Make sure you describe the experiment design, techniques used to gather data, the kind of control you had and apparatus used. As a general rule, remember this section should be clear and detailed such that it leaves the reader with in-depth knowledge of the scientific techniques used.
However, be careful not to write the section as you would directions for an exercise book. At the same time, never list equipment used in the course of the experiment. Materials used can only be mentioned in narrative as part of the experimental procedure.
If there are some methods that are well known and used without making any changes, name these methods (for instance standard spectrophotometry and standard microscopic methods). If you made any modifications to the methods, describe them.
In this section, you are supposed to summarize data for purposes of inspection by use of narrative text. Where possible, use figures and tables for the purpose of explaining the data you have. You are supposed to present the results only.
There should not be any conclusions or interpretation of data made in this section. If you present data in figures/tables, it should supplement text and this should be done in a form that is easy to understand.
Under no circumstances are you supposed to present data that is raw. Figures/tables must at all times, be accompanied by narrative text.
Interpret your data in terms of patterns you observed in the course of the experiment as well as relationship between experimental variables. You are supposed to include explanations of how your results differ from those that are hypothesized or the manner in which they are either similar or different to those related to experiments done by other researchers in the past.
Bear in mind it is not necessary for experiments to show major trends or differences. An ideal strategy in discussion of the experiment is relating specific results to the broader theoretical context that is presented in your introduction.
In this section, you are supposed to state what you think the data means and it should relate to the question/problem you stated in your introduction. Also, in this section, do not offer reasons for your conclusions since these should be presented in the section of discussions.
This is where you are supposed to give credit to those who helped with writing your scientific paper or with the research.
Anyone who knows how to write a scientific research paper knows that they must cite the works used. While doing this, you should use alphabetical order for purposes of listing the names of authors’ whose work you have used. Any published information in your paper should be included in this section.
Also, it should provide your readers with the information that is needed in the event they want to use the original literature as a reference. This section should include only references that were mentioned in your text. If there is information you read but failed to mention in your paper, do not include it in the section. It is because of this that it is referred to as ‘works cited’ and not ‘Bibliography’ or ‘references’.
Often, most references tend to be primary literature (journal articles) and to a lower degree, books. The Internet and popular literature should be used with caution and sparingly. Other sources like book chapters or pamphlets have their own citation format.
It is advisable to find the kind of citation format you are supposed to use according to the source material used. This is crucial as it is the only way to ensure you cite sources appropriately.
Here is another sample of a scientific research paper you can look at.
Additionally, reviewing samples written by experts makes it easy for you to understand the concept and format that needs to be followed to deliver a high quality paper.
The guidelines above are meant to help you understand how to write a scientific research paper without challenges.
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You may also want to continue reading more guidelines on writing different academic papers or other non-related material. To do so, continue looking in this blog where you will also find academic sample papers under different disciplines.