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Thesis Writing in the Sciences

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❶Usually you will have had some promising results and some that did not fit with what you expected.

Review Outline and Processes

Introduction
This article is a part of the guide:
1. Schedule your writing time in Outlook

From a practical perspective, the research paper also discusses the techniques and equipment that are appropriate for investigating your topic. Some methods and techniques are more reliable because they have been used many times. Can you use a procedure for your science fair project that is similar to an experiment that has been done before? If you can obtain this information, your project will be more successful. As they say, you don't want to reinvent the wheel!

If these reasons sound to you like the reasons we gave for doing background research, you're right! The research paper is simply the "write-up" of that research. Many science experiments can be explained using mathematics.

As you write your research paper, you'll want to make sure that you include as much relevant math as you understand. If a simple equation describes aspects of your science fair project, include it. As you read the information in your bibliography, you'll want to take notes. Some teachers recommend taking notes on note cards. Each card contains the source at the top, with key points listed or quoted underneath.

Others prefer typing notes directly into a word processor. No matter how you take notes, be sure to keep track of the sources for all your key facts. The best way to speed your writing is to do a little planning. Before starting to write, think about the best order to discuss the major sections of your report. Generally, you will want to begin with your science fair project question so that the reader will know the purpose of your paper. What should come next?

Ask yourself what information the reader needs to learn first in order to understand the rest of the paper. A typical organization might look like this:. When you write your research paper you might want to copy words, pictures, diagrams, or ideas from one of your sources.

It is OK to copy such information as long as you reference it with a citation. If the information is a phrase, sentence, or paragraph, then you should also put it in quotation marks. A citation and quotation marks tell the reader who actually wrote the information.

The abstract is the most crucial part of the report because anybody searching for your research on a database or in a journal will usually read only the abstract. Therefore, it must summarize your research, results and conclusions in less than words. Sometimes it is good to think of it as a sample of your research rather than a review ; it should inform the researcher that your article contains the information they need. There are a few ideas on how to write your abstract but the best advice is that you look at some journals relevant to your research and try to format your abstract in a similar way.

This section and is merely a breakdown of sections and subsections by page number. For a short and straightforward paper it may not be necessary to include a contents page. This is not mandatory for a research paper. This section of your report is where you will document all the painstaking research into the background of your experiment.

The main thing to bear in mind, when writing the introduction , is that a scientist who is unfamiliar with your exact subject matter may be reading the article. It is important, therefore, to try and give a quick and condensed history of the research leading to your experiment, with correct citations. You should also give a little background on why you chose to do this particular experiment and what you expect to find.

For this portion of your report you must describe the methods used when performing the experiment. This should include, if relevant, the location and times of sample collection, what equipment was utilized, and the techniques used.

The idea behind the methodology section is that another researcher can exactly replicate your experiments without having to guess what equipment and what techniques should be used. Scientific articles are peer reviewed and this includes the possibility that other researchers may try to replicate your results.

There have been many high profile scientific breakthroughs over the years whose results were unable to be repeated; these experiments were disregarded. For field studies you should give an exact map reference and time as well as including a map in the appendix. If you used complex machinery or computer programs in the course of your experiment, to avoid breaking the flow of your report, you should give only the main information and refer to the exact technical specifications in the appendix.

These should be a quick synopsis of the facts, figures and statistical tests used to arrive at your final results. You should try to avoid cluttering up your report and insert most of your raw data into the appendix. It is far better to stick with including only tables and graphs that show clearly the results. Do not be tempted to insert large numbers of graphs and figures just for the sake of it; each figure and graph should be mentioned, referred to and discussed in the text.

Try to avoid putting in tables and graphs showing the same information; select the type that shows your results most clearly. It is usually preferable to use graphs and relegate the tables to the appendix because it is easier to show trends in graphical format. Figures and graphs should be clear and occupy at least half a page; you are not a magazine editor trying to fit a small graph into an article. All such information must be numbered, as diagrams for graphs and illustrations, and figures for tables; they should be referred to by this number in the body of the report.

You do not need to put the full breakdown of the calculations used for your statistical tests; most scientists hate statistics and are only interested in whether your results were significant or not. Relegate the calculations to the appendix. The results section of your report should be neutral and you should avoid discussing your results or how they differed from or compared with what was expected.

This information belongs in the next section. This is the pivotal section of your hard work in obtaining and analyzing your results. You can even revise by reading sentences backward, sentence by sentence and word by word.

One of the microstructure revision strategies frequently used during writing center consultations is to read the paper aloud [ 17 ]. You may read aloud to yourself, to a tape recorder, or to a colleague or friend. When reading and listening to your paper, you are more likely to notice the places where the fluency is disrupted and where you stumble because of a very long and unclear sentence or a wrong connector.

Another revision strategy is to learn your common errors and to do a targeted search for them [ 13 ]. All writers have a set of problems that are specific to them, i. Create a list of these idiosyncrasies and run a search for these problems using your word processor. The same targeted search can be done to eliminate wordiness. The final strategy is working with a hard copy and a pencil. Print a double space copy with font size 14 and re-read your paper in several steps.

Try reading your paper line by line with the rest of the text covered with a piece of paper. When you are forced to see only a small portion of your writing, you are less likely to get distracted and are more likely to notice problems.

You will end up spotting more unnecessary words, wrongly worded phrases, or unparallel constructions. After you apply all these strategies, you are ready to share your writing with your friends, colleagues, and a writing advisor in the writing center. Get as much feedback as you can, especially from non-specialists in your field. You may decide what you want to change and how after you receive the feedback and sort it in your head. Even though some researchers make the revision an endless process and can hardly stop after a 14th draft; having from five to seven drafts of your paper is a norm in the sciences.

It is late at night again. You are still in your lab finishing revisions and getting ready to submit your paper. You will submit your paper tomorrow, and regardless of the outcome, you know that you can do it. If one journal does not take your paper, you will take advantage of the feedback and resubmit again.

You will have a publication, and this is the most important achievement. What is even more important is that you have your scheduled writing time that you are going to keep for your future publications, for reading and taking notes, for writing grants, and for reviewing papers. You are not going to lose stamina this time, and you will become a productive scientist. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.

Yale J Biol Med. To whom all correspondence should be addressed: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License, which permits for noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any digital medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not altered in any way.

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Writing a research manuscript is an intimidating process for many novice writers in the sciences. Schedule your writing time in Outlook Whether you have written papers or you are struggling with your first, starting the process is the most difficult part unless you have a rigid writing schedule. Create regular time blocks for writing as appointments in your calendar and keep these appointments.

Start with an outline Now that you have scheduled time, you need to decide how to start writing. Table 1 Outline — Level 1.

What is the topic of my paper? Why is this topic important? How could I formulate my hypothesis? What are my results include visuals?

What is my major finding? Open in a separate window. Table 2 Outline — Level 2. Why is your research important? What is known about the topic? What are your hypotheses? What are your objectives? Materials and Methods 1.

What materials did you use? Who were the subjects of your study? What was the design of your research? What procedure did you follow? What are your most significant results? What are your supporting results? Discussion and Conclusions 1. What are the studies major findings? Create a detailed outline and discuss it with your mentor and peers.

Continue with drafts After you get enough feedback and decide on the journal you will submit to, the process of real writing begins. Starting with Materials and Methods If you still struggle with starting a paper, then write the Materials and Methods section first. So do not run into the same problems as the writers of the sentences in 1: Bacteria were pelleted by centrifugation. To isolate T cells, lymph nodes were collected. The sentences can be improved when information is added, as in 2a and 2b , respectfully: Stem cells were isolated, according to Johnson [23].

Be meticulous and accurate in describing the Materials and Methods. Do not change the point of view within one paragraph. Writing Results Section For many authors, writing the Results section is more intimidating than writing the Materials and Methods section. Table 3 clearly shows that … 7b. It is obvious from figure 4 that … Another source of wordiness is nominalizations, i. We tested the hypothesis that there is a disruption of membrane asymmetry.

In this paper we provide an argument that stem cells repopulate injured organs. We tested the hypothesis that the membrane asymmetry is disrupted. In this paper we argue that stem cells repopulate injured organs.

Be clear, concise, and objective in describing your Results. Table 3 Moves in Research Paper Introductions. Establish a research territory a. Show that the general research area is important, central, interesting, and problematic in some way; Move 2. Find a niche a. Indicate a gap in the previous research, or extend previous knowledge in some way.

Occupy the niche a. Outline purposes or state the nature of the present research; b. List research questions or hypotheses; c. Announce principle findings; d. State the value of the present research; e. Indicate the structure of the research paper.

Interest your reader in the Introduction section by signalling all its elements and stating the novelty of the work. Discussion of the results For many scientists, writing a Discussion section is as scary as starting a paper. Table 4 Moves in Research Paper Discussions. Explain the meaning and importance of your finding. Consider alternative explanations of the findings.

Compare and contrast your findings with those of other published results. Explain any discrepancies and unexpected findings. State the limitations, weaknesses, and assumptions of your study. Closing the paper a. Summarize the answers to the research questions. Indicate the importance of the work by stating applications, recommendations, and implications.

Present the principles, relationships, and generalizations in a concise and convincing tone. Choosing the best working revision strategies Now that you have created the first draft, your attitude toward your writing should have improved. Revise your paper at the macrostructure and the microstructure level using different strategies and techniques. Receive feedback and revise again. It is time to submit It is late at night again. The Science of Writing: Theories, Methods, Individual Differences, and Applications.

A new framework for understanding cognition and affect in writing; pp. How to Write a Lot.


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The research paper is simply the "write-up" of that research. Special Information to Include in Your Research Paper. Many science experiments can be explained using mathematics. As you write your research paper, you'll want to make sure that you include as much relevant math as you understand.

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The research paper outline is essential for any article or term paper. The outline may make a great difference on how your work is interpreted.

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The broader your topic is, the more difficult it is to discuss the full details. This is why you should establish early on the scope and limitations of your paper which will provide the foundation for your research paper outline. Basically, your outline will constitute three main sections: the Introduction, the Body and the Conclusion. Aug 23,  · Writing an outline for a research paper can seem like a time consuming task, and you may not understand the value of it if you have never written one before. Outlines can help you structure your research and your final paper in much more efficient ways, though, so it is a good idea that you learn how to write one%(62).

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Scientific Paper Outline Voice: • All in present tense, except for methods sentences, which are in past tense. This research must be cited in-text and a works cited page What is “common knowledge” in your science classes might not be common. Writing a research manuscript is an intimidating process for many novice writers in the sciences. One of the stumbling blocks is the beginning of the process and creating the first draft. This paper presents guidelines on how to initiate the writing process and draft each section of a research.