HOW TO READ SCIENTIFIC ARTICLES TRILOGY PART 3: WRITING A SCIENTIFIC PAPER

As a continuation of the previous articles (part 1 and part 2) , this article mainly focuses on how to construct a professional scientific journal or thesis write up.

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If not all, most of science students encounter at least one scientific report write up during their undergraduate career. Many will also pursue a fourth year thesis where they execute either wet lab or dry lab experiments. Regardless of the experimental type, they will all be asked to write a thesis report to provide insights on their progress and outcomes. In this article, details on how to effectively and accurately write a science thesis will be provided.

  1. Be careful of your grammar.

This is very intuitive but is often ignored during write up. Unlike a reflection, you should never use pronouns, I, we, and you, especially for material and method section, which utilizes past passive tense. ALWAYS remember to proof read your draft. It would be tedious and time consuming but you will definitely pick out several small mistakes that hinders the quality of your work and subsequently affect others’ opinion on your work. If possible, have your thesis read by other students/colleagues.

  1. Write the easiest sections first (Material and Methods, Results)

You may oppose this idea but I find writing the easiest section helps you with other sections, e.g. introduction and discussion. They give you a general idea of what to include in other sections. In terms of materials and methods, remember to put all the necessary information down, which includes companies name, location and concentration of all materials as well as the software used (version number). If applicable, divide this section into smaller sub-sections to have a clearer train of thoughts. For example, if you were to include rodent experiments, you can have subtitles: rodent source, drug preparation, tissue testing and statistical analysis. For results section, remember to always label all figures and graphs and describe but do NOT analyze them (that should be left for discussion). Again, you can categorize your figures into groups for better understanding.

  1. Connect your Introduction and Discussion

Before you execute any experiments, you should have adequate knowledge on your project. Thus, writing introduction should not be very difficult. Many people may find introduction to be challenging not because of the content but the content choice. You need to be very precise on what to include. This is where you need to look at your results and analysis to think what background information to include. You should choose information essential in understanding your results and avoid unrelated information. By accurately selecting the content, you can have much better correlation with your discussion, which becomes easier to write. Seeing the connection, it is better to write introduction and discussion together, which is another reason to support my second point: put the easy task first.

I hope this will help you in your thesis or report write up. The above tricks are all from personal experiences and I hope they can fill the gaps in the current thesis writing tutorials, which tend to be skilled based, not many tricks. Below is a great video tutorial on teaching you the detailed content in individual section, it gives a more detailed insights on how to write a great research paper.

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