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To Authors: How to write a great scientific paper

scientific paper

Every scientific researcher holds the responsibility of transferring the results of his or her research to a broader scientific community by publishing his or her scientific paper. This transfer helps in achieving better results in the field of research, examining new theories and criticizing old results and approaches. Many researchers may find it difficult to write their research in a well-constructed scientific manuscript, but the rule is to follow the general order of writing scientific papers.

What is a Scientific Paper?

Robert Day (1983) defines a scientific paper as “a written and published report describing original research results”. This means that written scientific papers must meet certain requirements concerning the writing process and later, the publishing process. Day stressed that the process leading to publication is equally important as the content, style, and organization of the published paper.

Why do researchers write scientific Paper?

There are several reasons that motivate authors to write their research in a formal manner including:

  • Scientific communication.
  • Ideal and legal protection of intellectual property.
  • Gaining Reputation.
  • Obtaining a better understanding of one’s own ideas and results.
  • Adding progress to the scientific research.
  • Career progress.

What is the best Structure of scientific papers?

Scientific paper must begin with a specific research question, which results in a well-designed research protocol that plans the overall approach.  Many journals require the following sections in the submitted in the order listed.

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • Acknowledgements
  • References

    1-Title Page

This is the first and most readable page in your research. This page must include the research title, name(s) and address of all authors, and the submission date.

Research Title is defined as ” the fewest possible words that adequately describe the contents of the paper”.

Types of Titles

  • Descriptive: describe what the paper is about.
  • Declarative: make a statement about the results presented in the paper.
  • Interrogative: pose a question.
  • Compound titles: combine several of the above separated by colons or question marks.

Tips to write an effective title

  • The title helps in identifying the main issue of the paper.
  • Not too long or too short.
  • Begin with the subject of the paper.
  • Make sure of accuracy.
  • Do not add abbreviations unless they are well known by the target audience.

2-Abstract

Types of abstracts

Abstract is a short description of (a research paper, a thesis, research report, etc.) to help the reader clearly understand the purpose, problem, methods, results, and conclusion of the research.

There are three types of abstracts (Descriptive – Informative – Critical), You can find detailed information about writing Abstracts in our previous blog: To Authors: How to write a great abstract?.

3-Introduction

The main purpose of the introduction is to guide the reader from a general subject area to a particular field of research. It places your work in a theoretical context and enables the reader to understand and appreciate your objectives. In addition, it should bring out the importance of the subject and present an overview of current research on the subject.

The introduction usually starts with a paragraph that introduces the reader to the general field of study. Then the subsequent paragraphs should provide answers to the following question in a maximum of two pages:

  • What is the problem?
  • Why was the research worth doing?
  • Are there any existing solutions?
  • Why did you use this particular Model or Theory?
  • What are its advantages?
  • What were your objectives from doing this research?

4-Methodology

This part should be a direct and simple description of the methods used in your study. Each method should be described in a separate section.

The methodology Section differs from one research to another depending on the type of research paper.

  • Empirical papers

The Methodology section includes the studied material, the area descriptions, methods, techniques and the applied theories.

  • Case study papers

The Methodology section includes application of existing methods, theory or tools and the special settings in this piece of work.

  • Methodology papers

The Methodology section includes materials, the detailed procedure of a novel experimentation, scheme, flow, and performance analysis of a new algorithm.

  • Theory papers

The Methodology section includes principles, concepts, models, major framework, and derivation.

You can adopt the following sequence:

  • Begin, in a single section, with a statement of the materials used in the study.
  • Describe each key procedure and technique used in the study.
  • Describe the design of any experiments used in the research.
  • Similarly, if a theoretical or modeling component is utilized, it should also be incorporated in the initial portion of the Methods
  • Finally, you should describe the statistical analysis methods that were utilized to analyze the results, most likely in the final section of the Methods section.

Remember

  • Do not use the passive voice in the Methods Section.
  • Keep explanations brief and concise.

5-Results

The Results section should present and illustrate your findings without discussion or interpretation.  It also should include any statistical analysis that was performed during the research. The findings should be presented in tables and figures.

The result section should include the following, according to Elsevier:

  • Main findings listed in association with the methods.
  • Highlighted differences between your results and the previous publications (especially in case of study papers).
  • Results of statistical analysis.
  • Results of performance analysis (especially in the methodology, or algorithm papers)
  • A set of principal equations or theorems supporting the assumptions after a long chain of inferences (especially in the theory papers).

Useful Tips

  • Use past tense when you refer to your results.
  • A figure is worth a thousand words, so you have to use it to illustrate your data findings.
  • The captions of figures and tables should contain sufficient information to make the figures self-explanatory.
  • No illustrations should duplicate the information described elsewhere in the manuscript.
  • Illustrations should be used only for essential data.
  • Use color ONLY when necessary.

Remember to avoid

  • Long and boring sentences
  • Repetitive writing
  • Discussing or explaining your results
  • Including raw data or intermediate calculations

6-Discussion

The discussion section should interpret your results and support all of your conclusions with evidence.

  • Start with a short paragraph that gives an overview of the work.
  • Summarize the most important findings and, if applicable, accept or reject the proposed hypothesis.
  • Identify the most interesting, significant, remarkable findings of your research.
  • Refer to the other works in the literature that address this topic and how this work contributes to the overall field of study.

Remember to

  • Make the discussion concise and informative.
  • Put follow-up research questions.

Avoid

  • Making statements that go beyond what the results can support.
  • Introducing new terms or ideas in the discussion section.

7-Conclusion

The conclusion should highlight how your research contributes to the current knowledge in the field, refer to your next steps in the research field, and suggest future experiments and point out those that are underway.

Avoid

  • Summarizing the paper (the abstract is for that purpose)
  • Making a list of trivial statements of your results
  • Making judgments about impact
  • Using uncertain words such as “might”, “probably”

8-Acknowledgements

This section gives you the chance to thank the people who have helped you, funding organizations, affiliation to projects and programs, reviewers and editors.

9-References

In the References section, you have to include all references that have been cited in the text, in alphabetical order, by the first author.

Avoid:

  • Citing personal communications, unpublished observations, manuscripts submitted but not yet accepted for publication
  • Articles published only in the local language, which is difficult for international readers to find.

Useful Tips

Useful Tips for Scientific Writing
Useful Tips for Scientific Writing

Originality

Plagiarism is a massive violation in the research field, so you have to be certain of the sources of all data and text.

Follow the instructions

If you are writing for a journal with a specific style guide, follow the instructions.

Revision

After finishing the paper, you should revise it several times and remove any redundant words.

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