How to Write Scientific Papers

Even if publishing a scientific paper is not your main goal now, college students and those who take various courses always get asked to write papers of this kind. Everyone needs to know how to write proper scientific papers, and getting this knowledge is necessary yet easy. You’ll create a scientific paper easily. Just follow this guide from professional writers at College-Writers.com.

Formatting

1. First, you should know your audience. When you have to write a paper on a particular discipline, you should do it differently than when your paper is supposed to cover two or more disciplines. In addition, sometimes you should write for a wide audience, making sure that everyone understands all the key points and the meaning of any used terms. On the other hand, sometimes you write for an audience with a good academic background and then the task becomes simpler.

  • Give definitions of any acronyms when you use them for the first time.
  • Use acronyms only when you really need them. In addition, technical papers require you to use a technical language, however, it doesn’t mean using jargon.

2. Write in the active voice only. This is one of the main requirements for publications in most journals. However, this rule doesn’t apply for all journals. Make sure to get familiar with the necessary style before you start writing.

3. All journals have a style guide or other guides that you should read before you submit your paper. You should know the necessary word count, the size of margins, the style of references, etc. Style guides also provide you with information on any restrictions.

4. Organize your paper properly. Almost all scientific papers are structured similarly. There is an abstract at the beginning, then comes an introduction. The main part of the paper describes used sources and methods. At the end of the paper, you should include a discussion and a reference list.

  • Sections of your paper will be published in this order, however, you don’t necessarily need to write these sections in the same order.
  • Some journals prefer to publish methods and used materials at the end of the paper or mix the discussion and the results. Make sure to check the style guide before you start writing.

Write Sections of Your Paper

1. We suggest that you start with the methods and materials section. It’s an easy way to start and you can complete this section quickly. The main point is to describe all your methods in detail so that any expert can replicate your research or experiment.

  • Describe all used statistical methods.
  • Include all used materials and references to catalogs.
  • Mention any ethical approvals if needed.

2. Write the results section. You should describe what results you’ve obtained. Make sure it’s a neutral report and you reference any figures or tables. Don’t discuss any data, just provide a summary.

  • This section is not intended for drawing conclusions. Leave it for the discussion section.
  • Don’t describe all the experiments you performed. Select information necessary to convince the audience and to illustrate your point.

3. Write the discussion section. Here you must interpret the obtained results and discuss them in relation to the existing knowledge about your topic. Mention what experiments you consider necessary to be done in the future. Convince your audience that your results are important and explain why. Don’t repeat what you’ve written in the results section.

  • Don’t ignore works that contradict your results. Instead, discuss them and persuade your readers that your point is relevant and correct.
  • Never make any claims if you cannot support them by the data.

4. Review used literature and write the introduction. The introduction is a section where you should convince your audience that your paper is important and worth consideration. You don’t need to provide a detailed review of the literature in the introduction, just focus on significant findings and the gap you aim to fill with your work.

  • Make sure your introduction is concise.
  • End the introduction with your objectives and hypothesis.

5. Now you can write the abstract. The best way to write this section is to do it before the rest of your paper is complete. The length of this section may change depending on the rules of a particular journal but usually, it’s about 250 words long. Tell your readers what is important about your findings and provide a brief summary. Write a short conclusion or interpretation at the end of your abstract. Think of this section as of a sort of advertisement which should motivate your audience to read the whole work.

6. Now write a title. It should reflect the information that you provide in the paper. Make your title specific and catchy. Don’t make it too long.

  • Think of what keywords will make it easier for others to find your paper.
  • Don’t use acronyms, jargon, or abbreviations.

Prepare Tables and Figures

  • It’s up to you to choose how you will present data. However, both figures and tables can be a better or a worse choice for different purposes. For example, figures are a better choice if you make a comparison, while tables are the perfect way to present raw data. Keep in mind that you don’t need to include figures or data if your information can be written in a couple of sentences.
  • Format your tables, aligning all decimal points. Include legends and short titles that will explain the content. If you use tables, you should make a reference to them in your text. The legend should be at the top of your table.
  • Make sure all datasets are easy to distinguish. Don’t try to put too much data on every figure. It’s better to use several diagrams or graphs which represent a reasonable amount of data. Don’t forget to label axes.
  • Include photographs, if you need. This is a very common solution in some disciplines where you have to use a microscope. Make sure your fonts are easy to read and your scale bar is clear. If you want to make an image brighter, you can use a white scale bar, and vice versa.
  • Stick with black and white images. Many journals have certain fees for color images so try to replace them with patterned graphs.
  • Use large fonts because your fonts may get smaller when printed. Always make sure your document is easy to read before submitting it.
  • Always describe the data with figure legends. Make them concise yet informative. All legends should be placed below figures.

Cite Your Sources

1. All your sources should be cited in your paper directly. Use inline citations and write them right after a statement where you’ve used a certain source. If you need more than one reference, cite all the sources you need. However, your paper won’t be better if you add more citations.

  • Try not to use unpublished works, as well as sources written in another language, and personal communications.
  • You should use only published data, peer-reviewed publications, and manuscripts.

2. Make sure you use the right format. To do it, check the style guide. All journals have their particular rules and standards regarding the reference list and in-text citations. If you write an assignment at university, you can clarify any nuances regarding the format with your professor.

  • Some journals prefer superscript numbers, while others require you to write inline citations in parentheses and to list used sources alphabetically at the end.

3. Make sure your sources and content match. If you cite any source, it should reflect what you’re actually saying. Remember that your statements should be supported by sources. If a source doesn’t support your statement, find another source. Try not to use too many direct quotes. Instead, paraphrase your source and add a citation with the page number.

4. Don’t make references to “common knowledge.” Keep in mind that many journals have their limits regarding the maximum number of citations in one paper. Of course, you should properly cite all used sources but make sure your citations support important claims and are necessary for your conclusion. If you have doubts about whether or not you should cite some information, we suggest citing it.

5. Use citation software. There are programs like Mendeley and Endnote that can help you make a list of references. You can check the format of your citations automatically and organize all your references. You can also download a citation format used in a certain journal and import it to your program.

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