The process of writing a scientific research paper
Writing a scientific research paper is one of the most demanding pieces of writing you will tackle. No matter how confident you feel about taking on the project you need to make sure that you have good back up and support from a professor/tutor or a very able peer who can help you.
- Define interests and ideas.
- Find Data
Before you even write anything down you need to decide where your interest lies in your chosen field of study. Then when you have defined your interest, make sure that your idea is innovative. You need to check through scientific research abstracts in your field of study.
Now you can really appreciate the reasoning behind the development of Abstracts as you don’t have to read hundreds of 20 page research papers to find that illusive paper that will help you in your research. (You will also appreciate skills needed to produce that magic 100 - 150 word paragraph).
You may need to copy experiments, you will need the data produced in other papers to hold as a bench mark for your work. Then you need to go back to your professor/tutor to discuss with them your ideas and data already collected.
Whilst gathering all this information, and data you need to keep it in one place, namely a project book/diary. Write everything down - meetings; where you found interesting data; whose work you may use for references and citations and of course the main target paper that will prove or disprove your work.
Keep adding to this list as an ongoing process. Do not leave it, as the last task you will complete in writing up your research. If you have between 20 - 30 references that will take you a considerable amount of time at the end of writing your paper.
Even if you have not yet started to reproduce any experiments, start writing now.
With any academic writing the format always follows a particular order- Title, Abstract, Introduction, Materials & Methods, Results, Discussion/Conclusion and References. Divide up part of your project diary into sections (this works just as well on a tablet or laptop - but remember to save), and start writing in the sections. This will not only save you time later, it will allow you to continually add to the information and ideas that you have gathered. You will need to read and add more information as your research progresses, and review what you have written. This process will allow you to write with confidence and clarity and produce an excellent piece of work.