Research Writing

Guidelines for writing scientific research paper/structure/tips

For beginning authors, the prospect of writing their own scientific research article can be exciting and overwhelming. Faced with a mountain of data, notes, and other holdovers from the research process, it can be difficult to figure out where and how to begin the manuscript writing process. However, if the research has been done well and the topic is appropriate for classroom presentation or journal publication, authors will have a good start by approaching the writing process methodically. Guidelines for writing scientific research paper

Above all, scientific writing must aim for clarity, simplicity, and precision. These should be the benchmarks or milestones for authors of research papers, particularly in the field of science that has a reputation for being difficult to understand. It’s a good balance for authors of scientific writing to strike: achieving recognition and respect from those in their field, and making sure their work is understandable to a wider audience.

Clarity – Work is unambiguous and free of extraneous detail or guesswork

Simplicity: the language and structure of sentences and paragraphs are easy to understand and follow without losing authority or scientific credibility

Accuracy: data, tables and figures, and references and citations are honestly and verifiably represented

The structure of a scientific manuscript

New authors are undoubtedly familiar with the structure of a scientific research article : there is a standard in scholarly publishing. However, writing within that structure requires a deeper understanding of the role of each section. The following was discussed in a Bates College online resource. Guidelines for writing scientific research paper

Section Purpose / Description
Qualification Give a clear and engaging introduction to the topic.
Authors Name each of the top contributors to the job.
Resume Summary of the main focus of the article – brief
Introduction Reveal the main problem or question
Materials and methods How the problem or question was specifically addressed
Results Reveal the findings
Discussion Talk about what the findings mean
Thanks Optional – you can recognize people or institutions that helped with the research
References / Cited Literature Includes all supporting documentation
  • Title and summary: focus on engaging the reader with clear and concise language
  • Introduction: highlight key research topics, providing context for the main question or problem
  • Methods and Materials: Describe the specific protocols and details of the experiment / investigation, which must be explicit enough that the investigation can be duplicated.
  • Results and discussion: complete but concise sections, focusing on critical findings, including those that were unexpected Guidelines for writing scientific research paper
  • References / Literature Cited: References within the body of the manuscript need to be matched precisely. It is best to be selective in choosing which literature to cite, avoid using too many references, and select the most current literature when appropriate.

Writing tips

The goal of any writing is to communicate the author’s message. For authors of scientific manuscripts, scholarly publications require that they adhere to a certain structure, but the goal is the same: to communicate the author’s message or findings.

How to achieve clarity

Clarity in writing is achieved through the correct structuring of sentences and the correct use of language and grammar. Shorter paragraphs and sentences allow the reader to understand concepts more easily. Nobody wants to go back and reread a sentence or paragraph multiple times, just to understand what the author is trying to say. This is both discouraging to the reader and potentially unpleasant for a magazine editor. Simple and informative sentences can be written without sounding choppy or unsophisticated.

Correct use of language and grammar helps improve manuscript flow and enhances the readers’ experience. This avoids biasing a reader against the author. No matter how excellent the research is, improper use of language and grammar in manuscripts can cause the reader to question the author’s educational background and assume that the research article is something less worthy of consideration. Guidelines for writing scientific research paper

Time management

Writing manuscripts is a time-consuming affair. For authors making their first attempt at writing a research article, it will be imperative to take time each day to work on specific sections of the article – make a calendar and stick to it.


Scientific research and manuscript writing are sure to be complicated and detailed. Each section of the research article will require rereading and editing. Writers are likely to tire of their article before it is ready to be handed over to a professor or sent to a magazine. For this reason, it is helpful to ask your colleagues to review the work and offer comments and suggestions for changes. Writers always benefit from feedback received from their peers, and in the end, the manuscript is significantly improved.

A global effort

Whether you’re writing for a college conference or magazine presentation, the academic world is no longer segmented into isolated cultures and nationalities. Even if a university classroom is full of students with the same cultural and national backgrounds, they are being trained to enter the global community of scientists. Therefore, it is essential to consider the audience when writing the article and what guidelines exist for its publication. Guidelines for writing scientific research paper

Also, if the authors are not native English speakers and are trying to write in the language, it is important to know whether the target language is American English or British English.

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