Abstract The summary should be two hundred words or less. See the examples in the writing portfolio package. General intent An abstract is a concise single paragraph summary of completed work or work in progress.
Writing an abstract Write your summary after the rest of the paper is completed. Purpose of the study - hypothesis, overall question, objective Model organism or system and brief description of the experiment Results, including specific data - if the results are quantitative in nature, report quantitative data; results of any statistical analysis shoud be reported Important conclusions or questions that follow from the experiment s Style: Single paragraph, and concise As a summary of work done, it is always written in past tense An abstract should stand on its own, and not refer to any other part of the paper such as a figure or table Focus on summarizing results - limit background information to a sentence or two, if absolutely necessary What you report in an abstract must be consistent with what you reported in the paper Corrrect spelling, clarity of sentences and phrases, and proper reporting of quantities proper units, significant figures are just as important in an abstract as they are anywhere else Introduction Your introductions should not exceed two pages double spaced, typed.
General intent The purpose of an introduction is to aquaint the reader with the rationale behind the work, with the intention of defending it. Writing an introduction The abstract is the only text in a research paper to be written without using paragraphs in order to separate major points. Describe the importance significance of the study - why was this worth doing in the first place?
Provide a broad context. Defend the model - why did you use this particular organism or system? What are its advantages? You might comment on its suitability from a theoretical point of view as well as indicate practical reasons for using it. State your specific hypothesis es or objective s , and describe the reasoning that led you to select them.
Very briefy describe the experimental design and how it accomplished the stated objectives. Use past tense except when referring to established facts. After all, the paper will be submitted after all of the work is completed. Organize your ideas, making one major point with each paragraph. If you make the four points listed above, you will need a minimum of four paragraphs.
Present background information only as needed in order support a position. The reader does not want to read everything you know about a subject.
As always, pay attention to spelling, clarity and appropriateness of sentences and phrases. Materials and Methods There is no specific page limit, but a key concept is to keep this section as concise as you possibly can. People will want to read this material selectively. The reader may only be interested in one formula or part of a procedure. Materials and methods may be reported under separate subheadings within this section or can be incorporated together.
General intent This should be the easiest section to write, but many students misunderstand the purpose. Writing a materials and methods section Materials: Describe materials separately only if the study is so complicated that it saves space this way. Include specialized chemicals, biological materials, and any equipment or supplies that are not commonly found in laboratories.
Do not include commonly found supplies such as test tubes, pipet tips, beakers, etc. If use of a specific type of equipment, a specific enzyme, or a culture from a particular supplier is critical to the success of the experiment, then it and the source should be singled out, otherwise no. Materials may be reported in a separate paragraph or else they may be identified along with your procedures.
In biosciences we frequently work with solutions - refer to them by name and describe completely, including concentrations of all reagents, and pH of aqueous solutions, solvent if non-aqueous. See the examples in the writing portfolio package Report the methodology not details of each procedure that employed the same methodology Describe the mehodology completely, including such specifics as temperatures, incubation times, etc. To be concise, present methods under headings devoted to specific procedures or groups of procedures Generalize - report how procedures were done, not how they were specifically performed on a particular day.
If well documented procedures were used, report the procedure by name, perhaps with reference, and that's all. For example, the Bradford assay is well known. You need not report the procedure in full - just that you used a Bradford assay to estimate protein concentration, and identify what you used as a standard. It is awkward or impossible to use active voice when documenting methods without using first person, which would focus the reader's attention on the investigator rather than the work.
Therefore when writing up the methods most authors use third person passive voice. Use normal prose in this and in every other section of the paper — avoid informal lists, and use complete sentences.
What to avoid Materials and methods are not a set of instructions. Omit all explanatory information and background - save it for the discussion. Omit information that is irrelevant to a third party, such as what color ice bucket you used, or which individual logged in the data. Results The page length of this section is set by the amount and types of data to be reported. Continue to be concise, using figures and tables, if appropriate, to present results most effectively.
See recommendations for content, below. General intent The purpose of a results section is to present and illustrate your findings.
Content Summarize your findings in text and illustrate them, if appropriate, with figures and tables. In text, describe each of your results, pointing the reader to observations that are most relevant. Provide a context, such as by describing the question that was addressed by making a particular observation. Describe results of control experiments and include observations that are not presented in a formal figure or table, if appropriate.
Analyze your data, then prepare the analyzed converted data in the form of a figure graph , table, or in text form.
What to avoid Do not discuss or interpret your results, report background information, or attempt to explain anything. Never include raw data or intermediate calculations in a research paper. Do not present the same data more than once. Text should complement any figures or tables, not repeat the same information.
Please do not confuse figures with tables - there is a difference. Style As always, use past tense when you refer to your results, and put everything in a logical order. In text, refer to each figure as "figure 1," "figure 2," etc. If you prefer, you may place your figures and tables appropriately within the text of your results section. Figures and tables Either place figures and tables within the text of the result, or include them in the back of the report following Literature Cited - do one or the other If you place figures and tables at the end of the report, make sure they are clearly distinguished from any attached appendix materials, such as raw data Regardless of placement, each figure must be numbered consecutively and complete with caption caption goes under the figure Regardless of placement, each table must be titled, numbered consecutively and complete with heading title with description goes above the table Each figure and table must be sufficiently complete that it could stand on its own, separate from text Discussion Journal guidelines vary.
Space is so valuable in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, that authors are asked to restrict discussions to four pages or less, double spaced, typed. That works out to one printed page. While you are learning to write effectively, the limit will be extended to five typed pages. If you practice economy of words, that should be plenty of space within which to say all that you need to say.
General intent The objective here is to provide an interpretation of your results and support for all of your conclusions, using evidence from your experiment and generally accepted knowledge, if appropriate. Writing a discussion Interpret your data in the discussion in appropriate depth.
Decide if each hypothesis is supported, rejected, or if you cannot make a decision with confidence. Do not simply dismiss a study or part of a study as "inconclusive.
Draw what conclusions you can based upon the results that you have, and treat the study as a finished work You may suggest future directions, such as how the experiment might be modified to accomplish another objective.
Explain all of your observations as much as possible, focusing on mechanisms. Decide if the experimental design adequately addressed the hypothesis, and whether or not it was properly controlled. Try to offer alternative explanations if reasonable alternatives exist.
One experiment will not answer an overall question, so keeping the big picture in mind, where do you go next? The best studies open up new avenues of research. Recommendations for specific papers will provide additional suggestions. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.
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What is a Research Paper? "Research paper." What image comes into mind as you hear those words: working with stacks of articles and books, hunting the "treasure" of others' thoughts?
Writing Research Papers. Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. Gene Fowler.
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What follows is a hypothetical example of a research paper based on an experiment. This page lists some of the stages involved in writing a library-based research paper. Although this list suggests that there is a simple, linear process to writing such a paper, the actual process of writing a research paper is often a messy and recursive one, so please use this outline as a.