If you are handling scientific paper for the first time for a school submission, or journal publication, it might be overwhelming and exciting at the same time. You are curious about what awaits you on the other side of the road. Everything might seem black and white, with thousands of questions running in your mind. Where should you begin? What does the process entail? How can you come with an epic piece? Well, worry no more. The following article contains all the essential details of the science paper. Let's dive in.
Meaning of Science paper
A science paper or scientific paper is also known as a journal article. You share your original research with other scientists for reviewing. Also, you can review other scientists' research and conduct further research on the subject. You extend the progress of the study by presenting a new report. The work of one scientist usually builds on the works of others, an essential part of the evolution of modern science. There are majorly two audiences involved. First is the referee who decides if the paper is fit for publication, and second the journal readers who are less knowledgeable concerning your research topic, seeking for more insight.
For a solid piece, you should present your research in a simple, clear, and accurate manner. To achieve this, use simple language, with clear sentences and paragraphs. But in the process of simplifying your work, don't lose scientific credibility. The main aim of this paper is to present information that is easy to retrieve. Also, it displays information that the reader can duplicate for a scientific study. While tackling it, aim to inform not impress. After all, it's only right you produce relevant information. When your paper is epic, scientists who aren't self-centered can site it in their future. There are five major parts in a science paper; the title, the abstract, introduction, methods and materials, and lastly, reference.
Creating context and need
Before selecting a topic for a science paper, make sure there is want and need. Just like in business, when the demand is high, the price shoots. The fact that nobody has studied aspect before isn't reason enough to tackle it. Is the phenomenon going to assist your readers? Or are you writing just for the sake? Let every sentence matter and of importance to the reader. Use time phrases like in the past ten years, or recently, to show the context in time. You can also anchor your text geographically. For instance, ‘in Mesopotamia.’ Your goal should always be ready to convey precise information. If your context is broad, narrow it to a level where each reader understands the need.
Parts of a scientific paper
The title of a science paper contains the subject of whatever you are discussing. For you to come up with the best title, you should use a specific data you have presented, hence convenient to write it last. The title should be interesting and grab your audience's attention. Use few words as possible. Ensure it makes sense, as well as present the subject matter powerfully. Also, consider using keywords. Keywords increase the visibility of your science paper in the search engines.
An abstract is the summary of the paper you are discussing. It acts as an advert and encourages readers to engage in your content. The section contains the main reasons for the study, the results of the research, and the conclusion. The length depends on the journal, but most are 250 words. State what you did and what are the benefits of your findings to your audience. Even without reading the whole article, a reader should be able to catch a glimpse of what you're discussing. Avoid the use of references, jargon, and uncommon abbreviations in this section. The last sentence in the abstract should offer conclusions and interpretations of your findings. A strong abstract is what determines whether a publication will consider your work further or not. Hence it should be accurate, with only words that convey the precise meaning of your research.
Your introduction needs to be short, compelling, and comprehensive. Don't fill with fluff and irrelevant information. As it might make an audience seize reading your paper. You need to convince your readers that you know what you are doing. Why did you undertake the study? What are the benefits of the research? Discuss the problem, the importance of the solution, the main limitation, and the gap you are trying to fill in. You should introduce the primary publication in which you are basing your work. Cite some original works, and don't forget to include recent review articles. Give an overview of the data you are presenting. Organize your introduction from a global view to your point of view. At the end of the Introduction, state the hypothesis and objectives.
Methods and materials used
This is one of the most manageable parts of a science paper. It doesn't require you to scratch your head, thinking about what to do next. The section takes the least time possible. All you need to do is to clearly describe which methods and the materials you used in the study. In case you are introducing a new approach, let it be detailed, clearly defining the process. The information which a knowledgeable reader can use to reproduce the data.
Additionally, you can include the reference to the companies and the catalog number of your purchase. Don't forget to include all the statistical methods you used in the paper. You can add any ethical approvals you require to complete the studies. Use supporting materials and references to procedures that were published earlier. To avoid critics from the reviewer, always use the right methods of description. Remember, this is a crucial section for reference when one decides to reproduce your investigation. Note down your methods in the same way you will list in the result section. Lastly, avoid adding discussions, comments, and results here.
Your results should be neutral and reference any figures and tables you can include in the paper. You should summarize your findings, but don't discuss the data. You should include enough information to convince the audience of your results. The following are some of the statistical rules you need to follow:
- Use mean and deviation to distribute and record typically produced data
- While recording numbers, use two significant figures unless the other numbers would add value. For instance; 3.36 and not 3.666688
- For small samples, don't use percentage. Don't replace 0ne out of two by 50 %
- Don't speculate or conclude at this point. Also, never use references in this section. Use subheadings to classify results of the same type as it’s easier to review and read. You can number the subheadings for the convenience of internal cross-referencing. Finally, present the data in a logical manner that clearly states your information.
Now, it's time to describe your findings, their importance, and the impact which accompanies them. Here, you are free to conclude. It can be easy to write, but it can be quite challenging to get right as it's the essential section of your paper. Your discussion should correspond to the information you got. You can compare the results of your work with those of your published colleague's, interpret your data, and talk about results in the context of what's known about the topic.
Additionally, you can talk about future topics you would love to discuss. With your words, convince your audience why the data is important by offering claims that you can support. To make it more interesting, include papers that contradict your findings, and prove to your audience the information you got is correct.
Guidelines while writing the discussion
- Use the statements that your results can support. Avoid including information without evidence
- Use specific expressions— always use quantities descriptions, for examples; 110F rather than higher temperatures
- Don't introduce new terms and ideas in this section. Do this in the introduction and only build upon that in this section
- Speculate your interpretations basing on facts rather than imagination. For best descriptions, check how results of the original question related to the objectives in the introduction section
- Check if your data supports your hypothesis. Confirm if the results are consistent with what other investigators reported. Explain the new information without exaggerating. Check if there is a need to conduct further research to answer questions of your research.
You need to understand that the revision of results and discussion doesn't lie only in the paperwork. At times, you will need to do further experiments, simulations, and derivations. Sometimes it becomes difficult to clarify an idea in your research through words, especially when the critical issue hasn't been studied before.
Making figures and tables
A figure can tell you 1000 words at a glance. Figures and tables are the most effective ways of presenting your data. You can choose to show your data in figures or tables, whichever method suits you. But if you can state your data in one or two sentences, there isn't any need to use this element. The best thing about the two is they are visual and can stick to the mind of the reader amazingly. Tables often present raw data, while figures illustrate comparisons. Lastly, you should avoid duplicating any information presented elsewhere in the manuscript.
Things to note when presenting information in figures and table
- Use clear symbols and data sets that are easy to distinguish
- Avoid boring table, with a complicated name - go for something interesting
- Avoid crowded plot- try using three or for datasets per figure or graph.
- Use an appropriate axis label size and scales.
- In case you are using photographs, each should have a scale bar and a scale maker, both of professional quality in one corner. In figures and pictures, use color only when you are only submitting to a print publication.
- Use of lines, histograms, and decimals correctly- use lines to join data, or to present time series for serial sample data. In case there is no gradient or a connection between samples, then it's best to use histograms. Use an adequate number of lines and decimals for a more explicit table — separate decimals with dots and not a comma.
- Use clear fonts, make sure they aren't too small but just the right size to fit in the eyes of the audience.
Writing the Conclusion
Depending on the journal you are writing for, the Conclusion may appear as the last part of the discussion or appear on a different page. Whatever the case, your conclusion should be clear. You need to give your audience ample time to judge your work and determine whether it's worth their time. Don't repeat the abstract in the section or your experimental results. Instead, sum up your points and use scientific evidence to justify your work. If possible, suggest future experiments on the subject and tell your audience if there are some underway.
Citing your sources
Most journals have a limit number of citations you can incorporate. Include a clause that supports your information. When you are presenting your work to a publication, it's best to follow their citation and reference format. If it's for class, you can ask your professor which format to utilize. If something is familiar to the public, then there is no need to cite. Avoid citing the same source too many times and limit self-citations. Lastly, you need to confirm the following: whether you’ve spelled the author's name correctly, the Punctuation Usage of "et al."', year of publications, and whether you've included all references.
Here, you thank people who have contributed to the success of your work. Thank those who helped you with writing and proofreading, any technical assistance don't forget to thank the agency which funded your project.
Writing a science paper can be challenging, with lots of formats to follow, plus numerous researches and writing to do. But, if it's for a good course, then the hustle is worth it.