How to write a scientific research paper

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Sooner or later, all students are asked to write a well-structured and logical scientific research paper. What is this academic assignment all about? The short answer is that this paper is a certain report that sums up answers to generated research questions in a background plan. It’s a detailed review of relevant publications, including magazines, sites, and books, which discuss the scientific topic that you choose for investigating. The long answer to this question is that a research paper sums up the theory behind your particular scientific experiment.

Professors and instructors want to see that their students understand why experiments turn out the way they do. How to write a scientific research paper? You conduct your online and library research to make the accurate prediction of what will happen in your scientific experiment. You get the right knowledge to understand the things that cause the outcomes that you observe, whether your prediction is wrong or right.

Basic information about scientific research papers

From a practical perspective, any scientific research paper also discusses the tools and techniques necessary to investigate the chosen topic. Some methods and devices are more reliable because they’ve been used many times. Determine if you can use for your scientific project the procedure similar to the experiments done before. If it’s possible to get this information, your research project will be better and more successful. Consider special facts or details that should be included in this assignment. Basically, many scientific experiments can be easily explained through mathematics. When writing research papers, be sure to include as much relevant information as you understand. If you think that a simple equation can describe the main aspects of your project, don’t hesitate to include it.

Writing scientific research papers

As you keep reading reliable sources in a bibliography, you need to take notes. Many teachers advise their students to take notes on special note cards that contain sources and key points quoted or listed. Others prefer typing important notes right into a favorite word processor. Keep track of all the sources used to get facts and evidence, no matter how you decide to take notes.

How to organize your writing project

Do a little planning is one of the most effective ways to speed the writing process. Before you get started, consider the right order to discuss major section in your research paper. In general, you should start with a particular assignment question to let readers know its main purpose. What will come next? Consider the information that other people need to know first to understand the rest of your writing project. A standard organization of scientific research papers looks like that:

  • Your project topic or question;
  • Definitions of all significant concepts, words, and equations related to your experiment;
  • The history of similar projects and experiments;
  • Mathematical formulas needed to describe the results of your project;
  • Answers to major background research questions.

How and when to reference or footnote used sources

When writing your research papers, you may decide to copy diagrams, pictures, words, or thoughts from the sources that you use. Students can copy this information as long as they reference it with correct citations. If it’s a sentence, paragraph, or phrase, you need to put this information in special quotation marks. Quotation and citation marks tell other people where you get particular ideas or facts.

For a scientific research project, using reference citations is a popular method to reference any information that you copy. Citation referencing seems confusing to some students, but it’s simple. All you need to do is to put in parentheses the following details (after the information that you want to copy):

  • Publication year;
  • Author’s last name;
  • Page number.

Place reference citations at the end of a sentence, but it should be before a final period. Check whether the sources of all copied parts are in your bibliography.

Key info to include

While doing your research, follow a background plan and take notes from reliable sources of information because they will help you submit a better summary. The main purpose of your scientific research paper is providing readers with the information necessary to understand why a particular experiment goes the way it does.

For each picture or fact in your paper, you need to follow it with the citation that tells others where you find it. The key purpose that citation serves is to document used sources clearly, briefly, and accurately. If you copy any text from sources, place it in special quotation marks too because this simple step will help you avoid plagiarism. It’s not allowed to copy the works of other people and call them yours, so you always need to give credit when it’s due. Instructors want scientific research papers to have the following sections:

  • Title page with your name and date;
  • Your report;
  • Bibliography.

Ask your teacher if there are any extra requirements that must be met, including a table of contents or page numbers.

Important scientific research paper characteristics

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For many students, the idea of writing their scientific research paper may seem both overwhelming and exciting. It can be hard to determine how and where to start your writing process if you’re faced with a lot of information, notes, and other important elements. However, if you conduct your research well and choose an appropriate topic, it’s a good start to approach this process methodically.

There are certain characteristics that any successful scientific research project must have. Above all, this type of writing should aim for accuracy, simplicity, and clarity. These are the benchmarks or touchstones of completing this academic assignment successfully. It’s a fine balance that your research writing should maintain, so ensure that your work is easily comprehensible to the audience.

  • Clarity means that your scientific project is unambiguous and has no extraneous details or conjectures;
  • Accuracy means that all citations, figures, references, tables, and data are represented both verifiably and honestly;
  • Simplicity means that your language and sentence structure are easy to follow and understand without losing scientific credibility or authority.

The right structure of your scientific paper

Most students are familiar with the right structure of scientific research papers because there are clear standards. However, writing within this basic structure requires your deeper understanding of the role played by every section.

  • Title provides readers with an enticing and clear introduction of the chosen subject;
  • Authors name every major contributor to the work;
  • Abstract is a brief summary of the main focus of your paper;
  • Introduction reveals the main question or issue;
  • Materials and methods explain how this question was approached specifically;
  • Results reveal important findings;
  • Discussion talks about their meaning;
  • Acknowledgements are optional and they recognize any institutions or people who helps you with your research;
  • References or literature cited account for all supporting documents.

When it comes to the title and abstract of your research paper, they are focused on drawing in readers with a concise and clear language. An introductory paragraph should highlight the main issues of your research while providing the audience with some context for the main problem of question that will be discussed. Methods and materials describe specific protocols and details of your scientific experiment and they should be explicit enough for your research to be easily duplicated by others.

Results and discussion are quite succinct sections focused on all critical findings, including the unexpected ones. Your literature cited should match references in the main body precisely. Be selective when picking the sources that you want to cite and avoid using too many references in your text.

Effective and simple writing strategies

The main goal of any academic writing is to communicate an important message. When writing a scientific research paper, you need to adhere to a particular structure and communicate your key message to readers. Use helpful writing strategies to achieve this goal and impress teachers.

How to achieve clarity

In research writing, clarity is achieved through correct grammar and language use in addition to proper sentence structuring. For instance, shorter sentences and paragraphs allow readers to grasp all concepts easier. No one likes going back and rereading everything a few times only to grasp something that author wants to say. If you fail to achieve enough clarity, your paper will only discourage potential readers. It’s advisable to write informative and simple sentences without sounding unsophisticated and choppy.

Correct grammar and language use helps you improve the flow of your research paper and improve a reading experience. It prevents any possible bias because poor grammar and language use may cause other people question your educational background and assume that your scientific project is not worth of their consideration, no matter how excellent your research is.

Editing and time management

Writing academic papers is a time-consuming task. For students who are making the first attempt at writing scientific research papers, it’s quite imperative to spend time on working on specific sections on a daily basis. That’s why you should make a detailed schedule and stick to it. Research writing is detailed and complex so that every section requires careful rereading and attentive editing. You may grow weary of your text before it’s ready to be submitted. For this reason, it’s helpful to ask other people to review your final draft and share their comments or suggestions for the necessary changes. You will always benefit from helpful reviews because they can improve the quality of your research papers significantly.

Global endeavors

The modern academic world is no longer divided into isolated nationalities and cultures. Even if a classroom is full of students with similar national and cultural backgrounds, they are trained to be a part of the global community of scientists. Therefore, it’s important to think about the audience and existing guidelines while writing your research paper.

Scientific experiments are quite demanding and exciting endeavors, but their results should be properly communicated to other to have a huge impact. A research paper offers an effective method of communication and an attempt to tell other people about the information you gather and its meaning in the context of your research. The main rules of completing this academic assignment are quite rigid and they differ from the ones applied when writing creative or literary essays.

To guarantee a clear and efficient communication, you need to use the right language because it’s the first thing that will be considered when evaluating your research writing. This paper should be written concisely and clearly to let readers with similar backgrounds easily understand everything you do in the right order if they want to repeat the same scientific experiment. You should assume that your readers have their similar knowledge in a particular field.

General scientific research writing rules

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There are certain rules that must be followed when writing any scientific research paper. As an example, all section headings should be centered, while the body of every section must follow below a heading. It’s not allowed to start every section on a new page. Another important general rule to keep in your mind is that scientific research papers are detailed reports about something done in the past. This means that most of it should be written in the past tense, while the present tense is used to state conclusions and generalizations (in such sections as the conclusion, discussion, and introduction). Ensure that your research paper is read as an interesting and logical narrative where you describe a particular scientific experiment and its results.

How to write a catchy title

Each research paper should have its self-explanatory title. After reading a title, your scientific experiment should be clear to readers without finding out more. When writing it, be sure to state a few important things:

  • Specific environmental or other factors;
  • Parameters that you measure;
  • Specific subjects that are studied.

Don’t leave readers guessing the parameters measured during your scientific experiment and environmental or other factors present during it. If you fail to come up with a good title, you will force the audience to read more to understand the main purpose of your research paper. However, there are specific exceptions to this general research writing rule. If you manipulate a few factors, you don’t have to state all of them in a title. The same rule applies if you study a few subjects at the same time.

What to include in your abstract

In any scientific research paper, the abstract section is a concise summary of its content. It’s all about a short restatement of the preceding text intended to orient readers who studied it. Your abstract should be self-explanatory with no references to a research project, but it’s not a substitute of your paper. This section usually consists of 250 words and states the following:

  • The main purpose of your writing project;
  • General methods and materials;
  • Major conclusions;
  • Summarized results.

Don’t include any facts or details that aren’t contained in the main body. You should exclude any detailed descriptions of research methods, materials, etc. Furthermore, figures or tables, references to them or literature cited aren’t included in this section. Most students prefer to write their abstract last. One of the easiest ways to write it is to define the most important ideas of every section and use them to give a brief description of your scientific study.

How to master introduction writing

An introductory paragraph is a brief statement of the subject that you investigate. It should provide the audience with enough data to appreciate specific objectives within a bigger theoretical framework. Once you place your scientific experiment in its broader context, the next step is stating specific questions that will be answered in your research paper. The introduction may also include any useful background information about the chosen subject, like a summary of any similar research done on the same issue in the past and how your project will help others expand or clarify the overall knowledge in this area.

Any background information that you get from other sources must be cited appropriately. When writing this section, an effective strategy is going from a general theoretical framework to a specific assignment question. You should avoid making an introductory paragraph too broad because you write it for the audience with their similar knowledge. Introduce only the most relevant thoughts and facts before getting to the point of your research paper fast.

Methods and materials

This section should explain where, how, and when your scientific experiment was done. As a researcher, you need to describe the following:

  • The apparatus;
  • Experimental design;
  • Type of control;
  • Methods of gathering data.

When it comes to a natural habitat, it’s also necessary to describe a particular study area, its location, and date. If you collect any specimen for your research project, you should mention when and where they were collected. The general rule that must be followed is that this section is clear and detailed enough to let those readers who are knowledgeable in basic scientific methods and techniques duplicate your research project. Avoid writing this section as though they have directions in a lab exercise book. Your basic goal is simply describing how your experiment was done.

You shouldn’t list the equipment used during this experiment. That’s because all the materials used in your research are mentioned in a narrative as an experimental procedure and described in detail. If you use well-known methods with no changes, all you need to do is to name them. However, if there are any modified standard methods used in your scientific project, describe these important changes.

Describe all research results

In this section, you need to present summarized data for inspection through a narrative in addition to figures and tables to display this information where appropriate. Be sure to present only results without any conclusions and interpretations about its meaning. The facts states in figures or tables must support your text and present important data in the form that is easy to understand for the audience.

Write the discussion section

Here, you need to interpret important information in terms of the patterns observed, discernible correlations between variables, and links among experimental variables. Include your helpful explanations of how research results differ from the hypothesized ones or how they are similar to any relevant scientific experiments done by other people in the past. Your research project doesn’t necessarily need to show major trends or differences. Any negative results may give something valuable and they should also be explained. An efficient strategy in discussing your scientific experiment is relating results to its broad theoretical context given in the introduction.

Offering your conclusions

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This section should state what you think about the meaning of significant data. It must be related back to the main issue stated in the introduction. Don’t offer any reasoning for your conclusions because it should be given in the discussion section. By looking at your conclusions, readers should get a clear idea of how your scientific experiment is done.

Acknowledgements and literature cited

Acknowledgements are designed to give credit to people who helped you with the research project. Literature cited is the section that lists the sources that you refer to in the text in their alphabetical order. It gives the information necessary to find original literature on a given subject.

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