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How to write a scientific paper

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Rosane Rech

on 24 May 2016

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Transcript of How to write a scientific paper

How to write a scientific paper?
Structuring Your Scientific Paper
Materials and Methods 
Results and Discussion 
The Introduction section clarifies the motivation for the work presented and prepares readers for the structure of the paper.
The Materials and Methods section provides sufficient detail for other scientists to reproduce the experiments presented in the paper. In some journals, this information is placed in an appendix, because it is not what most readers want to know first.
The Results and Discussion sections present and discuss the research results, respectively. They are often usefully combined into one section, however, because readers can seldom make sense of results alone without accompanying interpretation — they need to be told what the results mean.

The Conclusion section presents the outcome of the work by interpreting the findings at a higher level of abstraction than the Discussion and by relating these findings to the motivation stated in the Introduction.
provide some context to orient those readers who are less familiar with your topic and to establish the importance of your work.

2. state the need for your work, as an opposition between what the scientific community currently has and what it wants.

3. indicate what you have done in an effort to address the need (this is the task).

4. preview the remainder of the paper to mentally prepare readers for its structure, in the object of the document.
Most Materials and Methods sections are boring to read, yet they need not be.

To make this section interesting, explain the choices you made in your experimental procedure:
What justifies using a given compound, concentration, or dimension?
What is special, unexpected, or different in your approach?

If you use a standard or usual procedure, mention that upfront, too.

Make sure the paragraph's first sentence gives them a clear idea of what the entire paragraph is about.
Materials and methods
The traditional Results and Discussion sections are best combined because results make little sense to most readers without interpretation.

When reporting and discussing your results, do not force your readers to go through everything you went through in chronological order. Instead, state the message of each paragraph upfront: Convey in the first sentence what you want readers to remember from the paragraph as a whole.

Focus on what happened, not on the fact that you observed it.

Then develop your message in the remainder of the paragraph, including only that information you think you need to convince your audience.
Results and discussion
In the Conclusion section, state the most important outcome of your work.

Do not simply summarize the points already made in the body — instead, interpret your findings at a higher level of abstraction.

Show whether, or to what extent, you have succeeded in addressing the need stated in the Introduction.

At the end of your Conclusion, consider including perspectives — that is, an idea of what could or should still be done in relation to the issue addressed in the paper.
The readers of a scientific paper read the abstract for two purposes:
- to decide whether they want to (acquire and) read the full paper,
- to prepare themselves for the details presented in that paper.

The abstract should have:
- the context,
- the need,
- the task,
- your findings,
- your conclusion.
If appropriate, end with perspectives.
Titles should:
- Describe contents clearly and precisely, so that readers can decide whether to read the report
- Provide key words for indexing

Titles should NOT
- Include wasted words such as "studies on," "an investigation of"
- Use abbreviations and jargon
- Use "cute" language
Developing a title
Good Titles:
The Relationship of Luteinizing Hormone to Obesity in the Zucker Rat

Poor Titles:
An Investigation of Hormone Secretion and Weight in Rats
Fat Rats: Are Their Hormones Different?


Verbs are for describing actions, states, or occurrences.

To give a clause its full strength and keep it short, do not bury the action, state, or occurrence in a noun (typically combined with a weak verb),
as in
"The catalyst produced a significant increase in conversion rate."

Instead write,
"The catalyst increased the conversion rate significantly."
Instead of Write
Make an examination of . . . examine
Present a comparison of . . . compare
Be in agreement . . . agree
Perform an analysis of . . . analyze
Produce an improvement in . . . improve
Choosing between active and passive voice
What are the object of your discussion?
"The preprocessor sorts the two arrays"
"The two arrays are sorted by the preprocessor"?

Avoid long subjects and verb at the end of the sentence:
"In this section, a discussion of the influence of the recirculating-water temperature on the conversion rate of . . . is presented"
"This section discusses the influence of . . . . "


In a follow-up experiment, we will study the role of . . .
The influence of temperature will be the object of future research . . .
Using the right tense
In your scientific paper, use verb tenses (past, present, and future) exactly as you would in ordinary writing.
Typically, most of your sentences will be in the past tense, some will be in the present tense, and very few, if any, will be in the future tense.
Work done
We collected blood samples from . . .
Groves et al. determined the growth rate of . . .
Consequently, astronomers decided to rename . . .

Work reported
Jankowsky reported a similar growth rate . . .
In 2009, Chu published an alternative method to . . .
Irarrázaval observed the opposite behavior in . . .

The mice in Group A developed, on average, twice as much . . .
The number of defects increased sharply . . .
The conversion rate was close to 95% . . .
Past tense
Present tense
General truths
Microbes in the human gut have a profound influence on . . .
The Reynolds number provides a measure of . . .
Smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease . . .

Atemporal facts
This paper presents the results of . . .
Section 3.1 explains the difference between . . .
Behbood's 1969 paper provides a framework for . . .
Future tense
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