Students who have shown interest in sciences cannot escape writing physics papers for scientific journals. This paper originates from adequate research work, discoveries, theories, and outcome, so, students in the science department must equip themselves when given the task to write a physics paper.
This document will serve as a guide to enumerate the structure, format, and style of writing a physics paper. However, originality, new ideas, theories, and results must be adhered to while writing the physics paper.
Interestingly, students are being allowed to come up with topics that they are most comfortable with. So, there might be some difficulties in getting the appropriate materials and other necessary things required for putting up a nice physics paper.
The subject of physics could sometimes be challenging for students, even if adequate time is devoted to studying it.
Important tips while writing physics paper
It has been discovered that many students usually put in several times and efforts to come up with a winning paper. Science students should know that material gatherings, figures and data, and other relevant resources take time in computing and analyzing.
However, the following rules will assist any student in choosing a winning topic.
The topic you are settling for must be unique, having in mind that the discoveries while writing the paper would be added to the already existing knowledge.
Besides, sincere interest in the topic cannot be overemphasized. Knowing that physics as a subject is a bit tough, there must be an unalloyed motivation to go all out in writing a good physics paper.
Also, after choosing your topic, there is a need to research the materials that will be used for the paper. This could be done online, by a visit to the library, while making inquiries from the physics tutor, or making reference to some physics notes taken in the class. These notes must be about the topic at hand.
Going forward, it is recommended that a proper outline be done to keep you in line while writing the paper. This outline should be done after your research online, or your visit to the library, or after asking questions from your tutor, or reference to your class notes.
So, the ideas to make up the write-up should be outlined in the following headings;
- Title block
- Discussion and conclusion
The paper can then be easily written once there is an outline of your thoughts and ideas. It has also been discovered that students are unable to come up with clear arguments while writing the physics paper. However, this can be handled by making every paragraph support your argument.
This is where the audience gets to know what the physics paper is all about. It also has the statement of the thesis where the audience has a grasp of the central message of the paper.
The introduction must be able to address certain questions like the reasons for going into the study, previous information on the subject matter, and how the discoveries will advance already existing knowledge.
So, the introduction will help you explain the purpose of the research work; it clearly states the new idea you are introducing into the already existing ideas. Also, the introduction explains the rationale and the anticipated results of the research.
However, the introductory part should be between 1 – 3 paragraphs and gives an insight into the structure of the write-up.
At this level, the writer gives a concise detail about the background and some theoretical equations about the research work. All the mathematical equations that will be used for the research work should be presented at this point. Note that these are derived equations that are essential to the experiment and cannot be gotten elsewhere.
Also, the equations must be adequately referenced, and all terms in the equation are well-defined in the body of the paper. The writer must note that the overview section must be connected to the introduction, the point where terms are defined, and the main focus of the experiment well spelled out.
Usually, the overview should be between 2 – 4 paragraphs, and care should be taken to guide against a disconnection between the remaining parts of the paper.
This is usually composed of the following headings: the title, list of authors, affiliations, and dates.
The title gives insight into what the paper is all about, so, come up with a title that attracts the readers and makes them glued to the experiment. It should be descriptive, concise, and not ambiguous. So, commit ample time to brainstorm on an interesting title without abbreviations and jargon. Most importantly, your title must not fail to represent the subject matter.
The list of authors is where the names of everyone who contributed to the paper are mentioned. It should be written as the first name, followed by the middle name (initial), and the last name.
Under the affiliations, the writer indicates the name of the educational institution of the contributors and their contact details (email preferably).
The title block is not completed without including the submission dates, especially in the case when the physics paper is meant for publication.
This gives a brief description of the research and the outcome of the work. The essence of writing the abstract is to give readers a taste of what to expect in the overall experiment.
Also, it should include the purpose of the experiment, its methodology and design, the major discoveries with figures and tables, and concise interpretations and conclusions. It should not always be more than one paragraph (250 words), make it informative, brief, and straight to the point.
It should be written in the past tense and must never contain ambiguous terms or abbreviations, or tables and figures, or going into unnecessary background details of the experiment. Also, the abstract is not the point where the writer refers to other materials consulted.
As you write the abstract, you must be ready to give details of what has already been done on the subject and the new findings you are introducing.
Here, concise detail of all types of equipment and materials used is supplied. These apparatus can occasionally be identified, stating the brand and vendor’s name. Don’t just duplicate what you have in the laboratory manual note, track every equipment used.
This section shows how data were generated and analyzed, and the general process was used in experimenting. It answers how the problem was studied in a simplified way so that anybody can pick up the material and replicate it with little or no assistance.
Ensure that you avoid plagiarism by not replicating what has already been done; however, references can be made when you make use of other materials.
Ensure that all the chemicals and compounds used must be strictly stated. For example, for species, the recommended taxonomical nomenclature is advised to be used and should be stated in italics. While stating chemicals, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC-IUB) conventions is adhered to. Also, quoting unit of measurement must comply with the International System of Units (SI)
The procedure is always between 2 – 3 pages. The methods can follow the outline below:
- Describe the experiment site used.
- Give an insight into how the experiment was carried out with emphasis on dates and some other relevant information.
- State laboratory procedures used, samples and reagents used, analysis, not forgetting to clarify if different biodiversity components have been used starting from the simplest (microbes) to the complex (mammals).
- The statistical style used should be described, too.
So, the experimental procedure should not include discussions, your outcome (results), or comments as this has been the norm among students.
This is where the outcome of the experiment is presented. It should be highlighted in a logical and orderly sequence. It might involve the use of figures and tables for a better explanation.
Note that the data should not be interpreted at this point. The student must pay attention to figures generated to give adequate details to the reader in terms of similarities and differences that exist between the variables.
Besides, the student must do a concise error analysis which must be imputed when reporting data. This section is not meant for making referencing as you are only presenting your results.
The tables and figures should carry a heading that explains its content. This caption is usually above the table or figure, and it is followed by a number, for example, Table 1 or Figure 2. Both tables and figures have a different number sequence.
Note the following tips;
- Data that are distributed can be done making use of standard deviation and mean.
- Skewed data can be handled using the inter percentile range and medianю
- In the case of reporting the numbers, two significant digits are advisable except when more précised details are needed (5.04, and not 5.03657333).
- Try not to use % in analyzing smaller variables. For example, 50% should not be used when referring to one sample out of two.
- All statistical tests and relevant parameters used should be stated: in the case of mean and standard deviation: 60% (±7), median and range: 8 years (6 – 12 years).
Discussion and Conclusion
Here you give a detailed account of the result highlighted above. This is quite simple to write but could be mishandled if proper attention is not given to details. The discussion must not be weak because it is the part of your article where you have a chance to sell your experiment.
There must be an agreement between results and discussions because this is where the critical evaluation of the experiment is done. Here, your outcome should be compared with a similar result in other literature or with the results of other students. You should be able to explain the reasons for the differences.
Also, the student should endeavor to suggest ways by which the research can be improved upon. It is recommended that you do not go over the procedures again. Under discussion is where observations are highlighted, calculations and measurements are explained, graphs, figures, and tables are presented.
In writing your physics paper, the following tips should be adhered to;
- A statement that cannot support the result should be discarded,
- New terminologies should not be used while discussing the results,
- Expressions and results must be presented in specific formats. For example, results must be presented in a quantitative format; 40%, p>0.4, 40⁰F, etc. ,
- The results from the experiment can be used to make speculations. However, these speculations must be based on facts and figures and not on imaginations.
On the other hand, there must be clarity in conclusion. It is always the final paragraph of the discussion section. Note that the abstract should not be restarted at this point. It can also be used as a means of suggesting future research work and refer to the ones ongoing.
Also, as the writer, it would be good to scientifically justify the experiment and state its uses and usefulness.
It is obligatory to always refer to the materials and resources used in the course of the experiment. Every information contained in the research work is either what you have observed directly, and you come up with a hypothesis, or you made reference to other materials.
Another point to note is the fact that there is a difference between reference and bibliography. The bibliography is a list of work that supports the write-up but does not connect the supporting work to direct points in your paper.
You must follow the format for referencing, which begins with a citation number, the same format as that used in the body of the write-up.
For example, mention the author's name, name of the paper, number of volumes, page number of the paper, and the year of publication,  James G. McLean, Peter Kruse, and Andrew C. Kummel, Surface Science v. 424,p.206 (1999)
So, writing a good physics paper has never been easy, but with adequate research and consultations, you will end up writing the best physics paper.