Millions of tones of methane are released into the atmosphere every day and the potency of the effects methane as a greenhouse gas has recently been a point of some contention in the scientific community. This will most often take the form of a hypothesis, that is a concise and, most importantly, measureable claim. An object at rest remains at rest and an object in motion remains in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted on by a force.
Sometimes you will be looking for something more quantitative, for example, in an experiment to determine the speed of light, or the thickness of a human hair. Bear in mind that repeatability is vital ; another researcher must be able to repeat your experiment, so make sure your work is clearly documented at every stage.
Do not include, any actual results, any discussion of your method, any analysis or commentary at this stage. As always when documenting what you have done, writing in the paste tense is appropriate.
Include all data which you which you collect from your procedure. This means if for example you realize that your apparatus has been malfunctioning you do not need to include these results. Lay it out intuitively and label the tables to aid referencing later. What else belongs in the introductory section s of your paper? A statement of the goal of the paper: Do not repeat the abstract. Sufficient background information to allow the reader to understand the context and significance of the question you are trying to address.
Proper acknowledgement of the previous work on which you are building. Sufficient references such that a reader could, by going to the library, achieve a sophisticated understanding of the context and significance of the question. The introduction should be focused on the thesis question s.
All cited work should be directly relevent to the goals of the thesis. This is not a place to summarize everything you have ever read on a subject. Explain the scope of your work, what will and will not be included. A verbal "road map" or verbal "table of contents" guiding the reader to what lies ahead. Is it obvious where introductory material "old stuff" ends and your contribution "new stuff" begins?
Remember that this is not a review paper. Break up the introduction section into logical segments by using subheads. Methods What belongs in the "methods" section of a scientific paper?
Information to allow the reader to assess the believability of your results. Information needed by another researcher to replicate your experiment. Description of your materials, procedure, theory. Calculations, technique, procedure, equipment, and calibration plots.
Limitations, assumptions, and range of validity. Desciption of your analystical methods, including reference to any specialized statistical software. The methods section should answering the following questions and caveats: Could one accurately replicate the study for example, all of the optional and adjustable parameters on any sensors or instruments that were used to acquire the data? Could another researcher accurately find and reoccupy the sampling stations or track lines?
Is there enough information provided about any instruments used so that a functionally equivalent instrument could be used to repeat the experiment? If the data are in the public domain, could another researcher lay his or her hands on the identical data set?
Could one replicate any laboratory analyses that were used? Could one replicate any statistical analyses? Could another researcher approximately replicate the key algorithms of any computer software? Citations in this section should be limited to data sources and references of where to find more complete descriptions of procedures.
Do not include descriptions of results. Results The results are actual statements of observations, including statistics, tables and graphs. Indicate information on range of variation. Mention negative results as well as positive.
Do not interpret results - save that for the discussion. Lay out the case as for a jury. Present sufficient details so that others can draw their own inferences and construct their own explanations. Break up your results into logical segments by using subheadings Key results should be stated in clear sentences at the beginning of paragraphs.
Describe the nature of the findings; do not just tell the reader whether or not they are significant. Writing for an Audience Who is your audience? Researchers working in analogous field areas elsewhere in the world i. Researchers working in your field area, but with different techniques. Researchers working on the same interval of geologic time elsewhere in the world. All other researchers using the same technique you have used.
If your study encompasses an active process, researchers working on the same process in the ancient record. Conversely, if your study is based on the rock record, people studying modem analogs. People writing a synthesis paper on important new developments in your field. People applying earth science to societal problems i. Potential reviewers of your manuscript or your thesis committee. Planning Ahead for Your Thesis. Writing for an Audience. Writing for an International Audience. Abstract A good abstract explains in one line why the paper is important.
It then goes on to give a summary of your major results, preferably couched in numbers with error limits. The final sentences explain the major implications of your work.
A good abstract is concise, readable, and quantitative. Absrtracts generally do not have citations. Information in title should not be repeated. Use numbers where appropriate. Answers to these questions should be found in the abstract: What did you do? Why did you do it? What question were you trying to answer? How did you do it? What did you learn? Why does it matter? Point out at least one significant implication. Table of Contents list all headings and subheadings with page numbers indent subheadings it will look something like this: How do you do this?
Physical separation into different sections or paragraphs. Don't overlay interpretation on top of data in figures. Careful use of phrases such as "We infer that ". Don't worry if "results" seem short.
Easier for your reader to absorb, frequent shifts of mental mode not required. Ensures that your work will endure in spite of shifting paradigms. Discussion Start with a few sentences that summarize the most important results. The discussion section should be a brief essay in itself, answering the following questions and caveats: What are the major patterns in the observations?
Refer to spatial and temporal variations. These chapters will be bracketed by the larger introduction and conclusion that ties them together. For fields that do not take this approach, the following sections are typical of the chapters that make up the body of the dissertation or the sections of the thesis. This section establishes how the data or new insight that follows was gathered.
If the approach is theoretical, it is established and explained here. If following sections depend upon specialty instruments, these should be described here. If data were collected, the methods used should be documented in this section. If that data were then processed or analyzed, the methods for that processing should also be described here. In some fields, the following two section results and discussion will be combined into one section. In other fields, these steps must be kept clearly separated.
If you are not sure which is usually done in your field, ask your advisor. In this section, you tell your reader what results were obtained using your methods. If the approach is theoretical, use this section to explore the results of the application of the theory.
How to Write A Scientific Thesis Aims It is important to remember that scientific inquiry is motivated by specific questions and that to write clearly you should have your question at the forefront of your mind throughout.
Scientific Style. Suggestions for writing science well abound -- we have a couple of sources cited in the Readings. What these sources have in common are certain approaches to writing with which not all scientists readily agree. First .
Final Thesis. Make 3 final copies: 1 to mentor and 2 to department, so that we can have 2 readers. Final thesis should be bound. Printed cleanly on white paper. Double-spaced using point font. 1-inch margins. Double-sided saves paper. Include page numbers. In engineering and science, a thesis or dissertation is the culmination of a master's or Ph.D. degree. A thesis or dissertation presents the research that the student performed for that degree. From the student's perspective, the primary purpose of a thesis or dissertation is to persuade the student's committee that he or she has performed and .
Writing a Scientific Thesis Although scientific/engineering theses/dissertations are written according to the technical interests of the individual writer, they typically follow the same structure. This format is quite similar to the IMRAD structure that you have likely already been using for papers in your field. A thesis statement is a sentence that states what you want your paper to show, what you want to convince your readers of after having read your thesis. This is the foundation .