Do the data support your hypothesis? Are your results consistent with what other investigators have reported? If your results were unexpected, try to explain why. Is there another way to interpret your results? What further research would be necessary to answer the questions raised by your results? How do y our results fit into the big picture? End with a one-sentence summary of your conclusion, emphasizing why it is relevant.
You can thank those who either helped with the experiments, or made other important contributions, such as discussing the protocol, commenting on the manuscript, or buying you pizza. Here is one commonly used way: 1.
In the text, cite the literature in the appropriate places: Scarlet thought that the gene was present only in yeast, but it has since been identified in the platypus Indigo and Mauve, and wombat Magenta, et al. In the References section list citations in alphabetical order. Indigo, A. Queer place for qwerty: gene isolation from the platypus. Science , Magenta, S. Wombat genetics. In: Widiculous Wombats, Violet, Q.
New York: Columbia University Press. Scarlet, S. Isolation of qwerty gene from S. Journal of Unusual Results 36, Unfortunately, they're all the same page. Write accurately Scientific writing must be accurate. Although writing instructors may tell you not to use the same word twice in a sentence, it's okay for scientific writing, which must be accurate.
A student who tried not to repeat the word "hamster" produced this confusing sentence: "When I put the hamster in a cage with the other animals, the little mammals began to play. Instead of: The rats were injected with the drug. Be careful with commonly confused words: Temperature has an effect on the reaction. Temperature affects the reaction. I used solutions in various concentrations. Less food can't count numbers of food Fewer animals can count numbers of animals A large amount of food can't count them A large number of animals can count them The erythrocytes, which are in the blood, contain hemoglobin.
The erythrocytes that are in the blood contain hemoglobin. This sentence implies that there are erythrocytes elsewhere that don't contain hemoglobin. Write clearly 1.
Write at a level that's appropriate for your audience. Use the active voice. It's clearer and more concise than the passive voice.
Instead of: An increased appetite was manifested by the rats and an increase in body weight was measured. Write: The rats ate more and gained weight.
Use the first person. Avoid dangling participles. Write succinctly 1. Use verbs instead of abstract nouns Instead of: take into consideration Write: consider 2.
Use strong verbs instead of "to be" Instead of: The enzyme was found to be the active agent in catalyzing Write: The enzyme catalyzed One of the malpractices resulting in disrupted fluency is switching from passive voice to active and vice versa within the same paragraph, as shown in 4. This switching misleads and distracts the reader. Behavioral computer-based experiments of Study 1 were programmed by using E-Prime. We took ratings of enjoyment, mood, and arousal as the patients listened to preferred pleasant music and unpreferred music by using Visual Analogue Scales SI Methods.
The preferred and unpreferred status of the music was operationalized along a continuum of pleasantness [ 4 ]. The problem with 4 is that the reader has to switch from the point of view of the experiment passive voice to the point of view of the experimenter active voice.
This switch causes confusion about the performer of the actions in the first and the third sentences. We programmed behavioral computer-based experiments of Study 1 by using E-Prime. We took ratings of enjoyment, mood, and arousal by using Visual Analogue Scales SI Methods as the patients listened to preferred pleasant music and unpreferred music. We operationalized the preferred and unpreferred status of the music along a continuum of pleasantness.
Ratings of enjoyment, mood, and arousal were taken as the patients listened to preferred pleasant music and unpreferred music by using Visual Analogue Scales SI Methods. The preferred and unpreferred status of the music was operationalized along a continuum of pleasantness. Interestingly, recent studies have reported that the Materials and Methods section is the only section in research papers in which passive voice predominantly overrides the use of the active voice [ 5 , 7 , 8 , 9 ].
This means that while all other sections of the research paper use active voice, passive voice is still the most predominant in Materials and Methods sections. Writing Materials and Methods sections is a meticulous and time consuming task requiring extreme accuracy and clarity.
This is why when you complete your draft, you should ask for as much feedback from your colleagues as possible. Numerous readers of this section will help you identify the missing links and improve the technical style of this section. Rule 3: Be meticulous and accurate in describing the Materials and Methods. Do not change the point of view within one paragraph. Writing Results Section For many authors, writing the Results section is more intimidating than writing the Materials and Methods section.
If people are interested in your paper, they are interested in your results. That is why it is vital to use all your writing skills to objectively present your key findings in an orderly and logical sequence using illustrative materials and text.
Your Results should be organized into different segments or subsections where each one presents the purpose of the experiment, your experimental approach, data including text and visuals tables, figures, schematics, algorithms, and formulas , and data commentary. For most journals, your data commentary will include a meaningful summary of the data presented in the visuals and an explanation of the most significant findings. This data presentation should not repeat the data in the visuals, but rather highlight the most important points.
Another important aspect of this section is to create a comprehensive and supported argument or a well-researched case. This means that you should be selective in presenting data and choose only those experimental details that are essential for your reader to understand your findings. You might have conducted an experiment 20 times and collected numerous records, but this does not mean that you should present all those records in your paper.
You need to distinguish your results from your data and be able to discard excessive experimental details that could distract and confuse the reader. However, creating a picture or an argument should not be confused with data manipulation or falsification, which is a willful distortion of data and results. If some of your findings contradict your ideas, you have to mention this and find a plausible explanation for the contradiction.
In addition, your text should not include irrelevant and peripheral information, including overview sentences, as in 6. To show our results, we first introduce all components of experimental system and then describe the outcome of infections.
Indeed, wordiness convolutes your sentences and conceals your ideas from readers. One common source of wordiness is unnecessary intensifiers. Table 3 clearly shows that … 7b. It is obvious from figure 4 that … Another source of wordiness is nominalizations, i. We tested the hypothesis that there is a disruption of membrane asymmetry. In this paper we provide an argument that stem cells repopulate injured organs.
To improve your sentences, avoid unnecessary nominalizations and change passive verbs and constructions into active and direct sentences. We tested the hypothesis that the membrane asymmetry is disrupted. In this paper we argue that stem cells repopulate injured organs.
Your Results section is the heart of your paper, representing a year or more of your daily research. So lead your reader through your story by writing direct, concise, and clear sentences. Rule 4: Be clear, concise, and objective in describing your Results. While describing your Methods and Results, many of you diverged from the original outline and re-focused your ideas. So before you move on to create your Introduction, re-read your Methods and Results sections and change your outline to match your research focus.
The updated outline will help you review the general picture of your paper, the topic, the main idea, and the purpose, which are all important for writing your introduction. The best way to structure your introduction is to follow the three-move approach shown in Table 3. Establish a research territory a. Show that the general research area is important, central, interesting, and problematic in some way; Move 2.
Find a niche a. Indicate a gap in the previous research, or extend previous knowledge in some way. Move 3. Occupy the niche a. Outline purposes or state the nature of the present research; b. List research questions or hypotheses; c. Announce principle findings; d. State the value of the present research; e.
Indicate the structure of the research paper. Open in a separate window Adapted from Swales and Feak [ 11 ]. The moves and information from your outline can help to create your Introduction efficiently and without missing steps. These moves are traffic signs that lead the reader through the road of your ideas. Each move plays an important role in your paper and should be presented with deep thought and care. When you establish the territory, you place your research in context and highlight the importance of your research topic.
By finding the niche, you outline the scope of your research problem and enter the scientific dialogue. The three moves allow your readers to evaluate their interest in your paper and play a significant role in the paper review process, determining your paper reviewers. As a result, many novice writers do not present their experimental approach and the major findings, wrongly believing that the reader will locate the necessary information later while reading the subsequent sections [ 5 ].
To interest the reader, scientific authors should be direct and straightforward and present informative one-sentence summaries of the results and the approach. Another problem is that writers understate the significance of the Introduction.
Many new researchers mistakenly think that all their readers understand the importance of the research question and omit this part. However, this assumption is faulty because the purpose of the section is not to evaluate the importance of the research question in general. The goal is to present the importance of your research contribution and your findings.
Therefore, you should be explicit and clear in describing the benefit of the paper. The Introduction should not be long. Indeed, for most journals, this is a very brief section of about to words, but it might be the most difficult section due to its importance. Rule 5: Interest your reader in the Introduction section by signalling all its elements and stating the novelty of the work.
Discussion of the results For many scientists, writing a Discussion section is as scary as starting a paper. Most of the fear comes from the variation in the section. Since every paper has its unique results and findings, the Discussion section differs in its length, shape, and structure.
However, some general principles of writing this section still exist. The structure of the first two moves is almost a mirror reflection of the one in the Introduction. In the Introduction, you zoom in from general to specific and from the background to your research question; in the Discussion section, you zoom out from the summary of your findings to the research context, as shown in Table 4.
Table 4 Moves in Research Paper Discussions. Move 1. Explain the meaning and importance of your finding. Consider alternative explanations of the findings. Move 2. Research Context a. Compare and contrast your findings with those of other published results. Explain any discrepancies and unexpected findings.
State the limitations, weaknesses, and assumptions of your study. Closing the paper a. Summarize the answers to the research questions. Indicate the importance of the work by stating applications, recommendations, and implications.
Open in a separate window Adapted from Swales and Feak and Hess [ 11 , 12 ]. The biggest challenge for many writers is the opening paragraph of the Discussion section. This is important in those cases where the researcher presents a number of findings or where more than one research question was presented. One of the most frequent mistakes of the novice writer is to assume the importance of his findings.
Even if the importance is clear to you, it may not be obvious to your reader. Digesting the findings and their importance to your reader is as crucial as stating your research question. Another useful strategy is to be proactive in the first move by predicting and commenting on the alternative explanations of the results. Addressing potential doubts will save you from painful comments about the wrong interpretation of your results and will present you as a thoughtful and considerate researcher.
Moreover, the evaluation of the alternative explanations might help you create a logical step to the next move of the discussion section: the research context. The goal of the research context move is to show how your findings fit into the general picture of the current research and how you contribute to the existing knowledge on the topic. This is also the place to discuss any discrepancies and unexpected findings that may otherwise distort the general picture of your paper.
Moreover, outlining the scope of your research by showing the limitations, weaknesses, and assumptions is essential and adds modesty to your image as a scientist.
However, make sure that you do not end your paper with the problems that override your findings. Try to suggest feasible explanations and solutions. This should be a general statement reiterating your answer to the research question and adding its scientific implications, practical application, or advice. Just as in all other sections of your paper, the clear and precise language and concise comprehensive sentences are vital. However, in addition to that, your writing should convey confidence and authority.
The easiest way to illustrate your tone is to use the active voice and the first person pronouns. Accompanied by clarity and succinctness, these tools are the best to convince your readers of your point and your ideas. Rule 6: Present the principles, relationships, and generalizations in a concise and convincing tone. Choosing the best working revision strategies Now that you have created the first draft, your attitude toward your writing should have improved. Moreover, you should feel more confident that you are able to accomplish your project and submit your paper within a reasonable timeframe.
You also have worked out your writing schedule and followed it precisely.
Format for the paper Edit your paper! This is where you present the results you've gotten. If a title helps focus your writing, then make one up now. This kind of writing usually features topic-driven sentences, e. One of the microstructure revision strategies frequently used during writing center consultations is to read the paper aloud [ 17 ].
New York: Oxford University Press; Look at other papers that have been published in your field to get some idea of what is included in this section.
Ideally, you should limit yourself to working on small sections of about five pages at a time [ 14 ]. The final strategy is working with a hard copy and a pencil. If the review is arranged topically, are subheadings used to introduce different groups of studies? Discussion and Conclusions 1.