The typical scientific paper format varies depending on the subject and is typically determined by the journal publishing it.

However, there are a few standard features that most scientific papers will have in common.

Firstly, they all have an abstract and introductory paragraph that sets out the background information necessary for the reader to understand what follows.

Secondly, most scientific articles will have a method or experimental design section which outlines how the experiment was conducted and its limitations.

Thirdly, there will be results/discussion/conclusion sections that describe the findings of the research and discuss their implications for future studies.

Finally, at the end of any paper written about research involving human subjects, authors must include details of ethics approval from their institution and ethical clearance from independent assessors where appropriate.

Now then, let’s take a closer look at each of these sections.

Abstract/ Executive summary

Scientific papers vary greatly in length depending on the topic being studied and the academic discipline but they always contain an abstract that provides essential information about the topic being discussed.

The abstract should give readers an overview of the content of your paper and can usually be summarized in 150 words or less.

It should state who conducted the research, what methodology was used, and what were the major findings and conclusions drawn from this study.

There should also be a brief mention of why this work is important or relevant to other scientists working in this field and/or society as a whole.

You may find it helpful to think of the abstract as a short synopsis for those people who may not have time to read the entire paper.

For this reason, you need to make sure that you’ve included all of the most important points so that someone skimming through them won’t miss anything vital.

Scientific paper introduction

The introduction section of a scientific paper should provide readers with enough detail so that they can understand the context in which the subsequent discussion takes place.

This section should also give readers a sense of your theoretical perspective as well as summarize what you hope to achieve through your research.

There should be enough detail here so that the readers will not need to refer back to other sections when reading your paper. Additionally, this introductory paragraph is a good place to include keywords for indexing purposes.

For example, if you were writing about the role of robotics in preventing chronic diseases, your introduction might start by explaining why robots are important for people with chronic conditions.

You would then go on to summarize some of the existing research in this area before explaining why your study makes new contributions to knowledge.

Here is a list of guidelines that might help with structuring the introduction of your scientific research paper :

  • Use short sentences and plenty of transition words to make your point clear
  • Start with a brief statement about the research question or problem
  • Outline briefly how you went about answering that question or solving that problem
  • Provide some key literature citations in support of your argument
  • Include in a sentence or two how the rest of the paper is structured (i.e., what follows)
  • Summarize the arguments made in the following paragraphs
  • Introduce any limitations on your work or speculate about what future work could be done

Literature review of a Scientific paper

This section is essentially an extension of your introduction, designed to review previous research on your topic.

In particular, it should summarize other studies in which effects you’re trying to replicate were found or not found.

If so many researchers have conducted experiments in your area and you’re now doing something similar, you might start with a brief overview of their main findings and explain how yours will contribute to that body of knowledge.

A good literature review should also identify gaps in our understanding of the issue at hand and mention any unanswered questions that you aim to address.

If you are having trouble finding sources for your literature review consider the following tips:

  • Make a list of topics and find out what research has been done on them.
  • Read journal articles, books, abstracts, etc.
  • Seek out experts in the field to see if they know of any relevant work.
  • Contact university librarians to see if they have compiled any subject lists. They will often give you access to databases such as MEDLINE & PsycINFO that allows you to search across disciplines.
  • Look for research in your discipline and on closely related topics.

Materials and methods in a scientific paper

The Materials and Methods section of a scientific paper should detail what materials were used in each step of the experiment.

It should also describe exactly how these materials were used in that particular experiment, including how participants were recruited and what type of statistical analyses were performed.

Commonly used materials include animals (including rats, mice, fish, and chimpanzees), cell cultures (including HeLa cells), and human subjects.

Experiments with animals typically involve housing them under controlled conditions before exposing them to experimental stimuli such as chemicals or drugs.

Commonly used methods for scientific research include controlled laboratory experiments, longitudinal studies, and ethnographic research.

Controlled laboratory experiments are generally viewed as the most scientifically rigorous because participants can be randomly assigned to different experimental groups and researchers can control extraneous variables such as selection bias.

However, this type of design requires substantial resources and only applies to certain types of questions that lend themselves to experimentation.

In the case of a longitudinal study, data is collected at multiple points in time over a period of years. This method of research enables the researcher to investigate long-term outcomes and their relationship to early life experiences.

Ethnographic research involves the systematic observation and documentation of social customs and cultural practices within a given group or community. This approach has proven very valuable for understanding how cultures adapt and change over time.

More tips to write the methods section

  • If your research methodology was an experiment, include detailed descriptions of all statistical tests performed. For example, when performing a one-way ANOVA or multiple regression analysis, including tables or figures that show exactly how your data was coded and whether or not you used random assignment to balance between groups.
  • This section should include a description of the sampling process, the size of the sample, and what populations were excluded from your research.
  • It is not necessary to include references for materials that you used in this section unless you want to reference articles discussing your use of specific materials. For example, if you used a specific lab technique that has been widely discussed in the literature, it might be helpful to include a few of those references.
  • It is not necessary to include details about how participants were recruited or what type of statistical analyses were performed in this section. For example, it is sufficient to say that participants were drawn from the general population and leave out the detail that we contacted them using Facebook ads. This section should be descriptive rather than prescriptive. You should provide enough information to help readers understand what you did and why, but avoid excessive detail.

Ethical considerations

There are many ethical issues to consider when conducting scientific research with human subjects.

If you are working with human subjects, it is important to be aware of such issues as privacy, confidentiality, safety, and risk-benefit ratio.

You should also take into account questions about informed consent before starting your research (informed consent is a voluntary agreement given by someone who understands what they are getting into).

Other ethical issues can arise from how participants are recruited or whether they are being deceived.

For example, if you wanted to study how people respond differently on different days of the week, you might need to mislead some people so that they believe that their task has nothing to do with the day of the week.

When designing experiments involving animals, there are two general types of ethical considerations: welfare and animal rights.

Welfare involves making sure that animals have good living conditions and do not suffer unnecessarily during an experiment.

Animal rights mean ensuring that animals’ needs are met even when there may be potential negative consequences for humans.

All researchers must abide by strict guidelines regarding experimental design and the use of laboratory animals; those guidelines vary depending on what country the researcher is based in.

Many countries require an institutional review board (IRB) to approve all projects involving live vertebrates, but others permit IRBs to decide case-by-case whether a project qualifies for approval.

In all cases, researchers must adhere to guidelines related to humane treatment, safe handling and transport of animals, euthanasia procedures, and oversight by veterinarians or other qualified personnel.

In addition, the researcher’s institution must have appropriate facilities for housing and care for animals.

Results section

The results section of scientific papers should have a clear and concise description of the findings.

This section should answer the research question while remaining unbiased and objective.

Researchers often organize this section by breaking it down into subsections based on what type of statistical analyses were performed.

These subsections include demographic comparisons, raw score comparisons, and correlational findings.

The results section also includes a subsection on the limitations of the study.

This section should contain anything that may limit the applicability of your research to other situations

For example, if you found that participants who were exposed to a stressful event had higher levels of cortisol, it would be important to note that this finding may not apply to people who are not in stressful situations or do not live in a similar environment.

Follow these guidelines to structure your results section :

  • Summarize the research question and provide a brief overview of the results.
  • Provide a summary of your statistical analyses and how they were performed.
  • Present your demographics, providing basic statistics for each variable. For example, you might include a table or figure that summarizes age distribution across both groups in your study.
  • Present differences in means and standard deviations between groups, and where appropriate also discuss effect sizes and confidence intervals to give more context about what these numbers mean.
  • Compare individual scores and correlations among variables.
  • Be sure to explain which variables correlate with others, what their relative strengths are, and if there is any theoretical explanation for why these relationships exist.
  • Provide graphs and scatterplots as needed to illustrate key points.

Discussion section

This section is important because it provides the reasons why the researcher came up with their conclusions.

It is typically organized chronologically, beginning with a description of prior work related to the topic and then ending with speculation about future directions for research.

When organizing this section, remember that it does not require formal citations; however, including some relevant citations can be helpful.

The discussion typically includes the following:

  • A discussion of what implications your research has for theory.
  • Discussion of the significance of your research, with attention to how it compares to previous studies.
  • Discussion of the practical or clinical implications for your findings.
  • An outline of possible future research questions in light of your findings.

A scientific paper discussion section should also include things that may affect the generalizability of your research to other settings, such as the stress level of your participants.

Conclusion and Future Recommendations

This is the last section of the scientific paper.

This section should summarize the research, what it meant for the scientific field, and make recommendations for further research.

In this section, you should explicitly address the research question, and if applicable, propose hypotheses for further research.

Remember that this is not a place to present new theories. Instead, it should be a succinct recap of what you did and your findings.

Consider including recommendations for future research in this section.

This is a good opportunity to introduce possible avenues for exploration that you didn’t have time to explore in your own research. This section could also include potential applications of the research to practice.

Finally, consider the personal impact of your research.

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The question, “how to write a scientific paper ?” is a very common one, and the answer varies depending on the type of writing assignment.

This guide will outline some key steps for completing a standard scientific paper that reports research results.

How to write a scientific paper

Step 1: Identify the scope

The first step to writing a scientific paper is identifying the scope of your paper.

What is the focus of your paper? What are you trying to achieve with your paper?

Is it to determine the effect of an experimental variable? Is it to test a hypothesis? Is it to compare two groups or show how variables interact?

All these things need consideration when answering this question.

Once you have identified what you want your paper to do, then ask yourself what population should be studied.

The scope of a scientific paper needs to be narrow enough so that the data can reasonably answer the question posed.

For example, if your goal is to find out if there is an effect of changing color on fruit flies’ lifespans then there needs to be sufficient data gathered from each fruit fly population studied.

If your goal is to measure the impact of color on lifespan, then instead of just studying fruit flies, you would also need information about other populations like mice or cows.

In either case, this means you would also study animals other than fruit flies in order to get meaningful statistics.

Once you know what kind of animal population you are working with, think about why people might not be able to answer your question themselves.

Here are steps to help you identify the scope of your project and make sure you don’t miss anything.

Ask yourself:

  • What am I trying to learn?
  • What population should I work with?
  • How many individuals/groups should I work with? (Consider using similar groups)
  • What else could I use as comparison populations?
  • Do any confounding factors exist that might affect my study outcomes (e.g., emotional stress)?
  • How much time will this take me?
  • Will I have enough time to complete all the experiments within this time frame?
  • Who else is currently conducting studies on this topic and what information do they already have?
  • Can I combine their datasets with mine to increase statistical power?
  • Should I try and duplicate their methods to see if we come up with the same conclusions?

When considering questions like these, you may realize that your original idea may not be feasible due to limited resources.

Don’t let this stop you though!

As long as your new idea has a good chance of answering the original question asked, go ahead and start formulating your plan based on what resources are available to you.

Step 2: Develop a tentative scientific paper title

Create a tentative title for your paper that is concise and tells readers what the scope of your paper is.

Make sure you also mention what population(s) was/were studied in your study.

The title doesn’t need to contain every detail, but it does need to give readers a general idea of what the content will be.

A general guideline for writing a good scientific paper title is to limit the number of words to fewer than 20.

Follow these steps to formulate a scientific paper title:

  • Start with a word related to the main idea of your paper.
  • Then, include a short description of what you’re going to talk about.
  • Use keywords related to your topic.
  • Make sure the title is concise and gets straight to the point.
  • Be mindful of the specific details of your paper, but also keep it broad enough to encompass the rest of your research.
  • It is best to choose a unique, descriptive title rather than a vague one.

Here are scientific paper title examples:

  • How Light and Temperature Affect the Growth of E. coli Populations
  • Pattern Formation Across Nonlinear Differential Equations
  • The Effects of Temperature Change on Plant-Insect Interactions
  • Robotic and Automated Systems Engineering Applications to Robotics and Control Engineering
  • Motion Planning; Combinatorial Optimization.
  • Developing Robots That Play Musical Instruments: An Exploratory Study

Step 3: Get peer and Supervisor feedback

Once you’ve decided on a potential title, share it with friends or colleagues who are knowledgeable about your topic area to get feedback.

They can tell you whether or not your title seems accurate and whether or not they understand what the content will be.

Feedback from peers can help you figure out how clear your purpose is to other people, so listen carefully and make changes accordingly.

Remember that a title should be written with the audience in mind, so it’s important to show what the outcome of your paper will be.

Here are five tips for getting the most out of feedback

  • Make sure that you provide clear instructions on what type of feedback you would like
  • Give detailed explanations about why it is necessary to provide certain types of feedback
  • Pay attention to their comments and questions, even if they seem trivial or unimportant
  • Be mindful that their comments can be very different than what you intended.
  • Ask for clarifications if necessary.

Supervisors’ feedback can be particularly valuable because they know how research should be presented.

They might also have experience with your subject matter which can offer insight into ways to make improvements.

In contrast, peer feedback might include suggestions on how you could conduct research better or more efficiently which may not be applicable to all subjects.

For these reasons, it’s best to get both supervisors and peer feedback before submitting any papers.

Step 4: Gather research material

Gathering research material includes locating sources, reading articles, and compiling data.

A good place to start is by looking at the bibliography of your professors and what resources they used for their own work.

If you do this, be careful to only use sources that are available to you.

You don’t want to plagiarize someone else’s work or use something that you can’t cite.

If you are struggling to find information, the internet is a great resource for finding books, journal articles, and scholarly reviews.

It is always a good idea to take time to read about the source of your information and ensure that it is credible.

Here are five rules of thumb when you are gathering research materials:

  • Find credible sources of information.
  • Avoid using Wikipedia or sites that don’t have a lot of credibility.
  • Seek out multiple perspectives on the same topic.
  • Keep an open mind and consider all perspectives, including those that are opposite to your original opinion.
  • Choose the right time to look for information based on your level of understanding and available resources.

Remember that resources for a scientific paper can be found in many places, and the key is to make sure that you are citing your sources correctly.

Also, remember that a single article or book can be helpful for gaining perspective on a subject, but it’s worth considering research from a variety of sources.

Step 5: Design a sample outline for your scientific paper

A sample outline can be a useful tool for organizing your ideas and tracking the progress of your paper.

Here are three features to include in your outline:

  • Purpose statement
  • Introduction
  • Methodology and Materials
  • Results
  • Discussion and Conclusion.

Each section should be described briefly with one or two sentences that summarize what you plan to cover in that section.

The order of the sections should be consistent and related to the logical progression of your research.

The introduction section typically includes background information that sets up the problem or hypothesis that you are testing.

The methodology and materials section describes the steps you took for your experiment and the instruments or tools you used to collect data.

Finally, the results section describes what happened during your experiments, such as a change in volume, temperature, pH levels, etc. and the discussion section offers possible conclusions.

There are a few important things to keep in mind while designing your outline.

First, the purpose of the study should be clearly stated and you need to discuss the limitations of your research.

Second, it is important to ask yourself who will be reading your research. This can help you decide which language or vocabulary to use.

Third, you should always state the outcome of your research in a clear and concise manner.

Finally, be mindful that formatting is just as important for a scientific paper.

Step 6: Create a draft of your scientific paper

Now that you have a complete and well-organized outline, it is time to create a draft.

The draft of your research needs to be written in the present tense and should not contain any personal pronouns (e.g., I, me).

When writing the first draft, leave space for edits and cross-outs if necessary.

Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation mistakes; there will be plenty of time for editing later!

A good draft for a scientific paper is similar to a rough sketch of a painting.

Your goal is to lay down the most basic and essential elements of your research so that you can get feedback and begin the process of revision.

Follow the following guidelines to create a draft of your research.

  • Define the overall goals of your project and set a timeline for completion.
  • Include a title that summarizes your research and provides some context.
  • State the problem, hypothesis, or issue you are addressing.
  • List the reasons why you chose this particular topic to explore.
  • Describe the methods you used to conduct your research and the challenges you faced.
  • Share your findings and analysis, paying attention to how they relate to your initial hypothesis.
  • Ask readers for their thoughts and opinions by providing contact information at the end of your paper.

Step 7: Revise your draft

Before you begin revising your draft, it is important to take time away from your project and let it settle.

Don’t set it aside for too long; two weeks should be sufficient.

After that time, come back to your paper with fresh eyes and reread what you’ve written.

Do you find errors or areas that are hard to understand? If so, revise accordingly.

While rewriting and editing, remember that clarity is key.

Be careful not to write sentences that are overly complicated or confusing. Use peer and supervisor feedback to revise your draft.

It is important to address all of the comments you receive.

You should be able to answer the questions What was the main finding of your research? and Why is it significant? In addition, you should be able to tell a story.

This means that your research is worth telling.

Remember that storytelling is the oldest form of communication and it has been around for centuries.

Research is no different. It is important to provide an overarching narrative that answers the question, Why? behind your research.

Step 8: Format your scientific research paper

The style of formatting you choose for your research may vary depending on the journal that you plan to submit to.

For example, one journal might require double spacing and 12-point font, whereas another might only require single spacing and an 11-point font.

Check the submission guidelines for the specific journal you plan to submit to before beginning to format your research.

Some journals also require cover letters, abstracts, and summaries.

These items do not always apply to every type of article, but you should check the publication’s guidelines to determine whether these items are needed.

Some journals also ask authors to include a list of references in alphabetical order, while others ask for them to be listed according to relevance.

The Journal of Biological Chemistry, for instance, asks authors to list references alphabetically within each section.

Determine the appropriate referencing and citation style for your paper. There are many systems, including APA, MLA, and the Chicago Manual of Style.

Each style has its own rules and advantages. Whatever system you decide to use, ensure that your citations and references are accurate and up-to-date.

Pay close attention to the details of your bibliography, since editors will closely scrutinize them.

Step 9: Final edits

Before submitting your paper, double-check all of your work.

You want to be sure that you haven’t made any typographical errors or mistakes. If possible, have someone else read over your scientific paper as well.

They can offer a second opinion on your paper and help you find errors that you might not have seen.

Remember that you should never publish anything until it has been thoroughly reviewed.

Many universities and scientific journals offer a pre-submission service that allows you to send your paper to be reviewed anonymously by experts.

This is a great way to make sure that your paper is free of errors or gaps in logic. If you’re lucky, the reviewers might even find ways for you to improve your research.

Step 10: Submit your scientific paper

This is the last step to publishing your research.

This is when you send your paper to your supervisor, journal or journal editor, or a member of your department.

Make sure that you are sending it to the right person!

Reviewers are typically professors or researchers in the same field of study as you. If you aren’t sure who to send your paper to, look on the journal’s website for more information.

Most websites will specify what kind of author they are looking for, such as medical doctors or graduate students.

Follow their instructions carefully and you’ll be able to successfully submit your research.

The standard format of scientific paper writing

The standard format for a scientific paper is IMRAD: Introduction, Methods, Results, And Discussion.

Your paper should be organized in this order because it flows logically from one section to the next.

Here are the key components of each section:

  • Introduction: What do you want to study? Why does it matter? What did you do? Include any statistical information or citations as well.
  • Methods: How did you do your experiment/analysis? Was there any bias? Did you account for confounding variables? What controls did you use? How many participants were involved and what were their demographics? Include any statistical information or citations as well.
  • Results: What did you find out? Do these results support your hypothesis? What other experiments could you do to either confirm or reject your hypothesis?
  • Discussion: What implications does this study have for future research? Do these results contradict previous studies in the field? If so, why might that be happening and how can we reconcile these findings with others’ research? Were there any limitations to this study? Is there anything that would make the results stronger?
    • Here are more questions to consider for the discussion:
      • What additional experiments could be done to test your hypothesis further?
      • Did any limitations occur during the study that may have affected the accuracy of the data collected?
      • What unanswered questions still remain after conducting this study?

Finally, the format of a scientific paper will vary slightly depending on which discipline the researcher belongs to.

However, all papers follow the same basic structure outlined above.

For example, some disciplines may require a Methodology or Literature Review chapter before beginning the introduction.

Check with your professor if you are unsure about formatting requirements.

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether or not a layperson (i.e., someone who has no background knowledge in your field) would understand what you are talking about when reading the paper.

Remember that they know nothing about your project so strive to provide the following :

  • A clear explanation of what you wanted to do and why it matters, followed by detailed descriptions of how you went about doing it.
  • An analysis showing the results of your experiment, along with appropriate statistics and tables where needed.
  • A summary of what you found out and concluded, including possible extensions to the work beyond those already presented in the paper.
  • Any new thoughts or ideas on a topic related to the paper that came up during your work but was not directly related to the goal of the original study.
  • Limitations of the study could potentially affect conclusions drawn from the research.
  • Future implications of your findings for other researchers in the field.


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