structure of publishable research paper

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Structure of publishable research paper top research proposal editor websites uk

Structure of publishable research paper

Provides all content needed for the work to be replicated and reproduced Although the sections of the journal manuscript are published in the order: Title, Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion, this is not the best order for writing the sections of a manuscript.

One recommended strategy is to write your manuscript in the following order:. Write these sections next, once you have had a chance to analyse your results, have a sense of their impact and have decided on the journal you think best suits the work. JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser.

Structuring your manuscript Once you have completed your experiments it is time write it up into a coherent and concise paper which tells the story of your research. One recommended strategy is to write your manuscript in the following order: 1. Materials and Methods 2. Results These can be written first, as you are doing your experiments and collecting the results. Introduction 4.

Discussion 5. Include the date s of the study e. It is often a good idea to include a map labeled as a Figure showing the study location in relation to some larger more recognizable geographic area. Someone else should be able to go to the exact location of your study site if they want to repeat or check your work, or just visit your study area. Describe your experimental design clearly.

Be sure to include the hypotheses you tested, controls , treatments , variables measured, how many replicates you had, what you actually measured , what form the data take, etc. Always identify treatments by the variable or treatment name, NOT by an ambiguous, generic name or number e. When your paper includes more than one experiment, use subheadings to help organize your presentation by experiment. A general experimental design worksheet is available to help plan your experiments in the core courses.

Describe the procedures for your study in sufficient detail that other scientists could repeat your work to verify your findings. Foremost in your description should be the "quantitative" aspects of your study - the masses, volumes, incubation times, concentrations, etc.

When using standard lab or field methods and instrumentation, it is not always necessary to explain the procedures e. You may want to identify certain types of equipment by vendor name and brand or category e. It is appropriate to report, parenthetically, the source vendor and catalog number for reagents used, e.

Always make sure to describe any modifications you have made of a standard or published method. Describe how the data were summarized and analyzed. Here you will indicate what types of descriptive statistics were used and which analyses usually hypothesis tests were employed to answer each of the questions or hypotheses tested and determine statistical siginifcance.

Here is some additional advice on particular problems common to new scientific writers. Problem : The Methods section is prone to being wordy or overly detailed. Problematic Example : This is a very long and wordy description of a common, simple procedure. It is characterized by single actions per sentence and lots of unnecessary details.

The lid was then raised slightly. An inoculating loop was used to transfer culture to the agar surface. The turntable was rotated 90 degrees by hand. The loop was moved lightly back and forth over the agar to spread the culture. The bacteria were then incubated at 37 C for 24 hr. Improved Example : Same actions, but all the important information is given in a single, concise sentence.

Note that superfluous detail and otherwise obvious information has been deleted while important missing information was added. Best: Here the author assumes the reader has basic knowledge of microbiological techniques and has deleted other superfluous information. The two sentences have been combined because they are related actions. Problematic example : In this example the reader will have no clue as to what the various tubes represent without having to constantly refer back to some previous point in the Methods.

Tube 4's A was measured only at Time 0 and at the end of the experiment. Improved example: Notice how the substitution in red of treatment and control identifiers clarifies the passage both in the context of the paper, and if taken out of context. The A of the no-light control was measured only at Time 0 and at the end of the experiment. Function : The function of the Results section is to objectively present your key results , without interpretation, in an orderly and logical sequence using both text and illustrative materials Tables and Figures.

The results section always begins with text, reporting the key results and referring to your figures and tables as you proceed. Summaries of the statistical analyses may appear either in the text usually parenthetically or in the relevant Tables or Figures in the legend or as footnotes to the Table or Figure. Important negative results should be reported, too.

Authors usually write the text of the results section based upon the sequence of Tables and Figures. Style : Write the text of the Results section concisely and objectively. The passive voice will likely dominate here, but use the active voice as much as possible. Use the past tense. Avoid repetitive paragraph structures. Do not interpret the data here. The transition into interpretive language can be a slippery slope.

Consider the following two examples:. The duration of exposure to running water had a pronounced effect on cumulative seed germination percentages Fig. The results of the germination experiment Fig. Strategy for Writing the Results Section. Frequently asked questions FAQs. What are the "results"? Those observations are then analyzed to yield an answer to the question. In general, the answer is the " key result". The above statements apply regardless of the complexity of the analysis you employ.

So, in an introductory course your analysis may consist of visual inspection of figures and simple calculations of means and standard deviations; in a later course you may be expected to apply and interpret a variety of statistical tests. You instructor will tell you the level of analysis that is expected. For example, suppose you asked the question, " Is the average height of male students the same as female students in a pool of randomly selected Biology majors?

You would then calculate the descriptive statistics for those samples mean, SD, n, range, etc and plot these numbers. In a course where statistical tests are not employed, you would visually inspect these plots. Suppose you found that male Biology majors are, on average, Differences, directionality, and magnitude : Report your results so as to provide as much information as possible to the reader about the nature of differences or relationships.

For eaxmple, if you testing for differences among groups, and you find a significant difference, it is not sufficient to simply report that "groups A and B were significantly different". How are they different? How much are they different? See also below about use of the word " significant. Organize the results section based on the sequence of Table and Figures you'll include. Prepare the Tables and Figures as soon as all the data are analyzed and arrange them in the sequence that best presents your findings in a logical way.

A good strategy is to note, on a draft of each Table or Figure, the one or two key results you want to addess in the text portion of the Results. Simple rules to follow related to Tables and Figures:. The body of the Results section is a text-based presentation of the key findings which includes references to each of the Tables and Figures. The text should guide the reader through your results stressing the key results which provide the answers to the question s investigated.

A major function of the text is to provide clarifying information. Key results depend on your questions, they might include obvious trends, important differences, similarities, correlations, maximums, minimums, etc. Some problems to avoid :. Statistical test summaries test name, p- value are usually reported parenthetically in conjunction with the biological results they support. Always report your results with parenthetical reference to the statistical conclusion that supports your finding if statistical tests are being used in your course.

This parenthetical reference should include the statistical test used and the level of significance test statistic and DF are optional. For example, if you found that the mean height of male Biology majors was significantly larger than that of female Biology majors, you might report this result in blue and your statistical conclusion shown in red as follows:. If the summary statistics are shown in a figure, the sentence above need not report them specifically, but must include a reference to the figure where they may be seen:.

Note that the report of the key result shown in blue would be identical in a paper written for a course in which statistical testing is not employed - the section shown in red would simply not appear except reference to the figure. Present the results of your experiment s in a sequence that will logically support or provide evidence against the hypothesis, or answer the question, stated in the Introduction.

For example, in reporting a study of the effect of an experimental diet on the skeletal mass of the rat, consider first giving the data on skeletal mass for the rats fed the control diet and then give the data for the rats fed the experimental diet. Report negative results - they are important!

If you did not get the anticipated results, it may mean your hypothesis was incorrect and needs to be reformulated, or perhaps you have stumbled onto something unexpected that warrants further study. Moreover, the absence of an effect may be very telling in many situations.

In any case, your results may be of importance to others even though they did not support your hypothesis. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that results contrary to what you expected are necessarily "bad data". If you carried out the work well, they are simply your results and need interpretation. Many important discoveries can be traced to "bad data".

Always enter the appropriate units when reporting data or summary statistics. Function : The function of the Discussion is to interpret your results in light of what was already known about the subject of the investigation, and to explain our new understanding of the problem after taking your results into consideration.

The Discussion will always connect to the Introduction by way of the question s or hypotheses you posed and the literature you cited, but it does not simply repeat or rearrange the Introduction. Instead, it tells how your study has moved us forward from the place you left us at the end of the Introduction. Style : Use the active voice whenever possible in this section. Watch out for wordy phrases; be concise and make your points clearly. Use of the first person is okay, but too much use of the first person may actually distract the reader from the main points.

Approach : Organize the Discussion to address each of the experiments or studies for which you presented results; discuss each in the same sequence as presented in the Results, providing your interpretation of what they mean in the larger context of the problem. Do not waste entire sentences restating your results; if you need to remind the reader of the result to be discussed, use "bridge sentences" that relate the result to the interpretation:.

You will necessarily make reference to the findings of others in order to support your interpretations. Use subheadings , if need be, to help organize your presentation. Be wary of mistaking the reiteration of a result for an interpretation, and make sure that no new results are presented here that rightly belong in the results.

You must relate your work to the findings of other studies - including previous studies you may have done and those of other investigators. As stated previously, you may find crucial information in someone else's study that helps you interpret your own data, or perhaps you will be able to reinterpret others' findings in light of yours. In either case you should discuss reasons for similarities and differences between yours and others' findings.

Consider how the results of other studies may be combined with yours to derive a new or perhaps better substantiated understanding of the problem. Be sure to state the conclusions that can be drawn from your results in light of these considerations. You may also choose to briefly mention further studies you would do to clarify your working hypotheses. Make sure to reference any outside sources as shown in the Introduction section. Do not introduce new results in the Discussion.

Although you might occasionally include in this section tables and figures which help explain something you are discussing, they must not contain new data from your study that should have been presented earlier. They might be flow diagrams, accumulation of data from the literature, or something that shows how one type of data leads to or correlates with another, etc.

For example, if you were studying a membrane-bound transport channel and you discovered a new bit of information about its mechanism, you might present a diagram showing how your findings helps to explain the channel's mechanism. If, in your experiment, you received any significant help in thinking up, designing, or carrying out the work, or received materials from someone who did you a favor by supplying them, you must acknowledge their assistance and the service or material provided.

Authors always acknowledge outside reviewers of their drafts in PI courses, this would be done only if an instructor or other individual critiqued the draft prior to evaluation and any sources of funding that supported the research. Although usual style requirements e. Function : The Literature Cited section gives an alphabetical listing by first author's last name of the references that you actually cited in the body of your paper. Instructions for writing full citations for various sources are given in on separate page.

A complete format list for virtually all types of publication may be found in Huth and others

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Write your answers down and keep them where you can see them while writing. This will help you focus on your goals. Your paper should be presented as clearly as possible. You want your readers to understand your research. You also do not want them to stop reading because the text is too technical. Keep in mind that your published research will be available in academic journals all over the world. This means that people of different languages will read it.

Moreover, even with scientists, this could present a language barrier. According to a recent article , always remember the following points as you write:. Be sure to explain these findings using descriptive terms.

In addition, it is very important to have your paper edited by a native English speaking professional editor. There are many editing services available for academic manuscripts and publication support services.

With the above in mind, you can now focus on structure. Scientific papers are organized into specific sections and each has a goal. We have listed them here. Some of these rules have been briefly discussed above; however, the study done by the authors does provide detailed explanations on all of them. So, do you follow any additional tips when structuring your research paper? Share them with us in the comments below! Subscribe for free to get unrestricted access to all our resources on research writing and academic publishing including:.

The results section should detail the main findings and outcomes of your study. You should use tables only to improve conciseness or where the information cannot be given satisfactorily in other ways such as histograms or graphs. Tables should be numbered serially and referred to in the text by number table 1, etc.

Each table should have an explanatory caption which should be as concise as possible. This should discuss the significance of the results and compare them with previous work using relevant references. This section should be used to highlight the novelty and significance of the work, and any plans for future relevant work. If double-anonymous then do not include any author names or institution information in the Acknowledgements section of your manuscript.

Author names and Funding information should be removed and can be re-added later in the peer review process. For single-anonymous please include an acknowledgements section before the References section in your PDF manuscript. During the submission process all authors and co-authors are required to disclose any potential conflict s of interest when submitting an article e. This information should be included in an acknowledgements section at the end of the manuscript before the references section.

All sources of financial support for the project must also be disclosed in the acknowledgements section. When completing the online submission form, we also ask you to select funders and provide grant numbers in order to help you meet your funder requirements. We encourage authors to use the acknowledgements section of the article to make specific attributions of author contribution and responsibility, otherwise all co-authors will be taken to share full responsibility for all of the paper.

Some articles will require an ethical statement , particularly those that are reporting research involving humans or animals. This should state if the research was approved by any ethical committee, and which national or international standards were complied with. This section should be used to list all relevant work. More information on referencing. However, check the peer review model for the journal you are submitting to. You should include non-identifiable information e.

If you need more information or guidance about any of the above then please contact the journal to which you are submitting. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy. Close cooke notice. Type to search. Article structure You should consider the best way to structure your article before you begin writing. Your article should follow the Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion system, and usually consist of the following sections: Title The title should be concise, informative and meaningful to the whole readership of the journal.

Authors Check the peer review model for the journal you are submitting to when preparing the PDF version of your manuscript. Keywords When you submit an article, you will be asked to supply some keywords relevant to your work.

Abstract Your abstract should give readers a brief summary of your article. Introduction This should be concise and describe the nature of the problem under investigation and its background. Method This section should provide sufficient details of the experiment, simulation, statistical test or analysis carried out to generate the results such that the method can be repeated by another researcher and the results reproduced.

Results The results section should detail the main findings and outcomes of your study. Discussion This should discuss the significance of the results and compare them with previous work using relevant references. Conclusion This section should be used to highlight the novelty and significance of the work, and any plans for future relevant work.

Acknowledgements Check the peer review model for the journal you are submitting to when preparing the PDF version of your manuscript.

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