Guide: Writing the Scientific Paper
This unit will help you write better scientific papers in English. In particular, it will help you select and organize your content, draft your paper, and revise your writing so that your final paper is useful to a broad audience — not just a few specialists.
Although this format is not cast in stone, most scientific journals use it or some variation there of. By adhering to this format, researchers maintain a consistent and efficient means of communicating with the scientific community. This order is really quite logical and could apply to almost any report you might write. You can benefit from writing good scientific papers, even if you do not expect to go on in Biology. Preparing a scientific paper develops your ability to organize ideas logically, think clearly, and express yourself accurately and concisely. Mastery of these skills would be an asset for any career that you may pursue.
There are a number of style manuals that provide detailed directions for writing scientific papers. Some are listed in further readings at the end of this section.Novice writers of scientific papers frequently pay too little attention to discussingthe content of tables and figures. They sometime merely present a list of references(e.g., 'Table I shows this result, Table 2 shows that result, Figure 1 shows the otherresult."). When writing Results sections you should use the tables and figures toillustrate points in the text, rather than making them the subject of your text. Ratherthan writing, "Figure 4 shows the relationship between the numbers of species A andspecies B," write "The abundances of species A and B were inversely related(Figure 4)." Distinguish between your scientific results and the methodological toolsused to support and present those results.The point of writing a scientific paper is to communicate the findings and significance of your research. Always envision yourself writing to a reader who (a) isn't familiar with your study area, samples, or methods, (b) may be (and as a scientist should be) skeptical of the claims you are making, and (c) probably has more pressing things to do with their time and so will skip your article unless you persuade him or her of its clarity and significance. No one will be obligated to read your paper, so you have to persuade them to start reading, and you have to write clearly enough that they keep reading.These observations are consistent with the theory that it is difficult to do good science, write good scientific papers, and have enough publications to get future jobs.. How to Write a Scientific Paper. We (meaning I) present observations on the scientific publishing process which (meaning that) are important and timely in that unless I have more published papers soon, I will never get another job. This is a (sometimes) tongue-in-cheek look at how to write a scientific research paper that is given as part of a graduate student seminar at Oklahoma State University. The talk outlines a step-by-step process that, if followed and practiced, minimizes the pain and suffering of writing a journal article.