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How to Write a Scientific Paper

Scientific Research Paper

❶In any case, your results may be of importance to others even though they did not support your hypothesis.

Scientific Paper Example

1. Schedule your writing time in Outlook


Limit your statements concerning each segment of the paper i. The Abstract helps readers decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper, or it may be the only part they can obtain via electronic literature searches or in published abstracts. Therefore, enough key information e. How do you know when you have enough information in your Abstract? A simple rule-of-thumb is to imagine that you are another researcher doing an study similar to the one you are reporting.

If your Abstract was the only part of the paper you could access, would you be happy with the information presented there? Use the active voice when possible, but much of it may require passive constructions.

Write your Abstract using concise, but complete, sentences, and get to the point quickly. Maximum length should be words, usually in a single paragraph. Although it is the first section of your paper, the Abstract, by definition, must be written last since it will summarize the paper.

To begin composing your Abstract, take whole sentences or key phrases from each section and put them in a sequence which summarizes the paper. Then set about revising or adding words to make it all cohesive and clear. As you become more proficient you will most likely compose the Abstract from scratch. Once you have the completed abstract, check to make sure that the information in the abstract completely agrees with what is written in the paper. Confirm that all the information appearing the abstract actually appears in the body of the paper.

Quite literally, the Introduction must answer the questions, " What was I studying? Why was it an important question? What did we know about it before I did this study? How will this study advance our knowledge? Use the active voice as much as possible. Some use of first person is okay, but do not overdo it. The structure of the Introduction can be thought of as an inverted triangle - the broadest part at the top representing the most general information and focusing down to the specific problem you studied.

Organize the information to present the more general aspects of the topic early in the Introduction, then narrow toward the more specific topical information that provides context, finally arriving at your statement of purpose and rationale.

A good way to get on track is to sketch out the Introduction backwards ; start with the specific purpose and then decide what is the scientific context in which you are asking the question s your study addresses.

This section is variously called Methods or Methods and Materials. In this section you explain clearly how you carried out your study in the following general structure and organization details follow below: Organize your presentation so your reader will understand the logical flow of the experiment s ; subheadings work well for this purpose.

Each experiment or procedure should be presented as a unit, even if it was broken up over time. The experimental design and procedure are sometimes most efficiently presented as an integrated unit, because otherwise it would be difficult to split them up. In general, provide enough quantitative detail how much, how long, when, etc. You should also indicate the statistical procedures used to analyze your results, including the probability level at which you determined significance usually at 0.

The style in this section should read as if you were verbally describing the conduct of the experiment. You may use the active voice to a certain extent, although this section requires more use of third person, passive constructions than others. Avoid use of the first person in this section. Remember to use the past tense throughout - the work being reported is done, and was performed in the past, not the future.

The Methods section is not a step-by-step, directive, protocol as you might see in your lab manual. Strategy for writing the Methods section. Describe the organism s used in the study. This includes giving the 1 source supplier or where and how the orgranisms were collected , 2 typical size weight, length, etc , 3 how they were handled, fed, and housed before the experiment, 4 how they were handled, fed, and housed during the experiment. In genetics studies include the strains or genetic stocks used.

For some studies, age may be an important factor. For example, did you use mouse pups or adults? Seedlings or mature plants? Describe the site where your field study was conducted.

The description must include both physical and biological characteristics of the site pertinant to the study aims. Include the date s of the study e. Location data must be as precise as possible: When possible, give the actual latitude and longitude position of the site: It is often a good idea to include a map labeled as a Figure showing the study location in relation to some larger more recognizable geographic area.

Someone else should be able to go to the exact location of your study site if they want to repeat or check your work, or just visit your study area.

Describe your experimental design clearly. Be sure to include the hypotheses you tested, controls , treatments , variables measured, how many replicates you had, what you actually measured , what form the data take, etc.

Always identify treatments by the variable or treatment name, NOT by an ambiguous, generic name or number e. When your paper includes more than one experiment, use subheadings to help organize your presentation by experiment.

A general experimental design worksheet is available to help plan your experiments in the core courses. Describe the procedures for your study in sufficient detail that other scientists could repeat your work to verify your findings. Foremost in your description should be the "quantitative" aspects of your study - the masses, volumes, incubation times, concentrations, etc.

When using standard lab or field methods and instrumentation, it is not always necessary to explain the procedures e. You may want to identify certain types of equipment by vendor name and brand or category e. It is appropriate to report, parenthetically, the source vendor and catalog number for reagents used, e. Always make sure to describe any modifications you have made of a standard or published method.

Describe how the data were summarized and analyzed. Here you will indicate what types of descriptive statistics were used and which analyses usually hypothesis tests were employed to answer each of the questions or hypotheses tested and determine statistical siginifcance. Here is some additional advice on particular problems common to new scientific writers.

The Methods section is prone to being wordy or overly detailed. This is a very long and wordy description of a common, simple procedure.

It is characterized by single actions per sentence and lots of unnecessary details. The lid was then raised slightly. An inoculating loop was used to transfer culture to the agar surface. The turntable was rotated 90 degrees by hand. The loop was moved lightly back and forth over the agar to spread the culture. The bacteria were then incubated at 37 C for 24 hr. Same actions, but all the important information is given in a single, concise sentence.

Note that superfluous detail and otherwise obvious information has been deleted while important missing information was added. Here the author assumes the reader has basic knowledge of microbiological techniques and has deleted other superfluous information. The two sentences have been combined because they are related actions. In this example the reader will have no clue as to what the various tubes represent without having to constantly refer back to some previous point in the Methods.

Notice how the substitution in red of treatment and control identifiers clarifies the passage both in the context of the paper, and if taken out of context. The A of the no-light control was measured only at Time 0 and at the end of the experiment. The function of the Results section is to objectively present your key results , without interpretation, in an orderly and logical sequence using both text and illustrative materials Tables and Figures.

The results section always begins with text, reporting the key results and referring to your figures and tables as you proceed. Summaries of the statistical analyses may appear either in the text usually parenthetically or in the relevant Tables or Figures in the legend or as footnotes to the Table or Figure. Important negative results should be reported, too. Authors usually write the text of the results section based upon the sequence of Tables and Figures.

Write the text of the Results section concisely and objectively. The passive voice will likely dominate here, but use the active voice as much as possible. Use the past tense. Avoid repetitive paragraph structures. Do not interpret the data here. The transition into interpretive language can be a slippery slope. Consider the following two examples: The duration of exposure to running water had a pronounced effect on cumulative seed germination percentages Fig.

The results of the germination experiment Fig. Strategy for Writing the Results Section. Frequently asked questions FAQs. What are the "results"? When you pose a testable hypothesis that can be answered experimentally, or ask a question that can be answered by collecting samples, you accumulate observations about those organisms or phenomena.

Those observations are then analyzed to yield an answer to the question. In general, the answer is the " key result". The above statements apply regardless of the complexity of the analysis you employ. So, in an introductory course your analysis may consist of visual inspection of figures and simple calculations of means and standard deviations; in a later course you may be expected to apply and interpret a variety of statistical tests.

You instructor will tell you the level of analysis that is expected. For example, suppose you asked the question, " Is the average height of male students the same as female students in a pool of randomly selected Biology majors?

You would then calculate the descriptive statistics for those samples mean, SD, n, range, etc and plot these numbers.

In a course where statistical tests are not employed, you would visually inspect these plots. Suppose you found that male Biology majors are, on average, Differences, directionality, and magnitude: A useful strategy in discussing your experiment is to relate your specific results back to the broad theoretical context presented in the Introduction.

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. This section should not offer any reasons for those particular conclusions--these should have been presented in the Discussion section.

By looking at only the Introduction and Conclusions sections, a reader should have a good idea of what the researcher has investigated and discovered even though the specific details of how the work was done would not be known.

In this section you should give credit to people who have helped you with the research or with writing the paper. If your work has been supported by a grant, you would also give credit for that in this section. This section lists, in alphabetical order by author, all published information that was referred to anywhere in the text of the paper.

It provides the readers with the information needed should they want to refer to the original literature on the general problem. Note that the Literature Cited section includes only those references that were actually mentioned cited in the paper. Any other information that the researcher may have read about the problem but did not mention in the paper is not included in this section. This is why the section is called "Literature Cited" instead of "References" or "Bibliography". The system of citing reference material in scientific journals varies with the particular journal.

The method that you will follow is the "author-date" system. Listed below are several examples of how citations should be presented in the text of your paper.

The name s of the author s and year of publication are included in the body of the text. Sentence structure determines the placement of the parentheses. Three or more authors: Entries in the Literature Cited section are listed alphabetically by author s and chronologically for papers by the same author s. The following citations illustrate the details of punctuation and order of information for a journal article, book, Internet source, and your laboratory packet.

Occurrence of indoleacetic acid in the bryophytes. Processes of Organic Evolution. Salt Tolerance in Phaseolus vulgaris. Generally, most references will be to the primary literature i. Popular literature and the Internet should be used sparingly and with caution. Other sources such as book chapters and pamphlets typically have their own specific citation formats. If necessary, be sure to find out what these formats are and use them appropriately.

For a much more detailed discussion about writing scientific papers, consult: Council of Biology Editors, Inc. This guide is based on a paper by Gubanich, A.

Writing the scientific paper in the investigative lab. Examples from the scientific literature that illustrate material in various sections of a scientific paper. Revision of the theory of phototropism in plants: However, determination of the absolute amounts of indoleacetic acid IAA in the agar blocks, using a physicochemical assay following purification, showed that the IAA was evenly distributed in the blocks from the illuminated and shaded sides.

In the blocks from the shaded and dark-control halves the amounts of IAA were 2. Chromatography of the diffusates prior to the Avena curvature test demonstrated that the amounts of two growth inhibitors, especially of the more polar one, were significantly higher in the agar blocks from the illuminated side than in those from the shaded side and the dark control.

These results show that the basic experiment from which the Cholodny-Went theory was derived does not justify this theory. The data rather indicate that phototropism is caused by the light-induced, local accumulation of growth inhibitors against a background of even auxin distribution, the diffusion of auxin being unaffected. Inducible defensive responses in plants are known to be activated locally and systematically by signaling molecules that are produced at sites of pathogen or insect attacks, but only one chemical signal, ethylene, is known to travel through the atmosphere to activate plant defensive genes.

Methyl jasmonate, a common plant secondary compound, when applied to surfaces of tomato plants, induces the synthesis of defensive proteinase inhibitor proteins in the treated plants and in nearby plants as well.

The presence of methyl jasmonate in the atmosphere of chambers containing plants from three species of two families, Solanaceae and Fabaceae, results in the accumulation of proteinase inhibitors in leaves of all three species.

When sagebrush, Artemesia tridentata , a plant shown to possess methyl jasmonate in leaf surface structures, is incubated in chambers with tomato plants, proteinase inhibitor accumulation is induced in the tomato leaves, demonstrating that interplant communication can occur from leaves of one species of plant to leaves of another species to activate the expression of defensive genes. Cytokinins in a genic male sterile line of Brassica napus. The failure or inability of an individual to produce functional gametes under a given set of environmental conditions is known as sterility.

Male sterility in plants is generally associated with the lack of production of viable pollen; however its expression can vary Frankel and Galun , Kaul In any event, male sterility is of fundamental importance in the production of hybrid seeds and in breeding programs. Plant growth substances, both exogenously applied and endogenous, have often been implicated in the regulation of male sterility in several plant species Frankel and Galun , Kaul Cytokinins, gibberellins, auxins and abscisic acid, as well as polyamines, are all known to affect pollen and stamen development in a number of species e.

The objective of this study was to determine a possible relationship between endogenous cytokinins with male sterility in the genic male sterile system in Brassica napus. Thus, an analysis of a number of cytokinins in various organs of the wild type and genic male sterile plants was conducted.

Species-dependent effects of seed predation and ground cover on seedling emergence of old-field forbs. A major goal of plant ecology is to explain spatial variation in a species frequency of occurrence.

Spatial variation in seed predation may contribute to spatial variation in plant frequency by reducing seed supply sufficiently to limit seedling emergence more at one location than another Louda , Anderson Spatial variation in seed predation is well documented e. Since factors such as dense ground cover may suppress seedling emergence regardless of the amount of seed predation Harper , additional studies are needed to clarify the effect of seed predation on seedling emergence.

Therefore, we examined the effects of both seed predation and ground cover i. Mode of action of natural growth inhibitors in radish hypocotyl elongation -- influence of raphanusanins on auxin-mediated microtubule orientation. Seeds of Raphanus sativus L. After 3 days in darkness at 25oC, 4-mm hypocotyl segments were excised below the hook of the 3 cm long etiolated seedlings. In other experiments, segments were preincubated for 1 h in small petri dishes containing 1 mM IAA solution, and then raphanusanin B was added to the medium final concentrations 1 or 3 mM.

Segment lengths were measured using a microscope with microgauge. All manipulations were carried out under dim green light 3mW m Dynamics of cytoplasmic organelles in the cell cycle of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe: Three-dimensional reconstruction from serial sections. Schizosaccharomyces pombe h90, the homothallic, readily sporing haploid strain, was used. The strain was maintained on malt extract-yeast extract MY agar as described by Tanaka and Kanbe Cells at the exponential phase were spread on a MY plate and further incubated at 30oC for 4 to 6 h before harvesting for microscopy.

For the staining of F-actin, cells were washed and suspended in Rh-ph solution Molecular Probes, Inc. Stimulation of root elongation and curvature by calcium. The RNA content of the nucleolus and nucleolus-like inclusions in the anther of Lilium estimated by an improved RNase-gold labelling method. Gold particles were predominant over the nuclear nucleolus-like bodies NLBs Fig.

Although the distribution histogram of gold particles over the nuclear NLBs showed that labelling varied from 40 to particles mm-2, most of that fell in the range of 80 - 90 particles mm-2 Fig. The quantitative estimation of labelling, which represented the average number of gold particles per mm2, indicated the labelling over the nuclear NLBs to be twice as strong as that over the loosened chromatin, and four times as strong as that over the condensed chromatin Table 2. Phototropism in hypocotyls of radish.

Influence of unilateral or bilateral illumination of various light intensities on phototropism and distribution of cis - and trans -raphanusanins and raphanusamide. The present study demonstrates that phototropism in radish hypocotyls is caused by a gradient of growth inhibition which depends on the light intensity through the amounts of growth inhibitor, and thus strongly supports the Blaauw Blaauw hypothesis, explaining phototropism as an effect of local growth inhibition by light.

Unilateral reorientation of microtubules at the outer epidermal wall during photo- and gravitropic curvature of maize coleoptiles and sunflower hypocotyls. The striking agreement between changes in microtubule orientation observed at the outer epidermal wall during tropic bending and during induction or straight growth by external auxin strongly indicates that auxin is, in fact, functionally involved in mediating asymmetric growth leading to organ curvature.

There is no evidence that short-term growth of epidermal cells is controlled through the orientation of microfibrils. Also the data do not prove a causal relationship between auxin action on microtubule orientation and tropic curvature.


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Today, we will try to show you how a scientific paper differs from any other academic papers in order to help you with 'how to write a scientific paper' question. In addition, we’ll write about the way you should structure your scientific papers.

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Feb 21,  · How to Write a Scientific Paper. 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. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. By using our site, you agree to our cookie policy. Although this is the order the paper will be published in, it is not 71%(53).

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General Format for Writing a Scientific Paper Scientists have established the following format for "scientific papers”. A complete paper is divided into sections, in this order. When you write about scientific topics to specialists in a particular scientific field, we call that scientific writing. (When you write to non-specialists about scientific topics, we call that science writing.) The scientific paper has developed over the past three centuries into a tool to.

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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, tips for writing each section, and the best revision strategies. Scientific research articles provide a method for scientists to communicate with other scientists about the results of their research. A standard format is used for these articles, in which the author presents the research in an orderly, logical manner. This doesn't necessarily reflect the order in.