Starting to write your research paper? These tips will help you through it – Part 1

Nowadays the classical measurement of scientific success is based on the publication of peer-reviewed papers. The famous “publish or perish” phrase has become the unwritten rule that guides every scientist since the beginning of the career.

For this reason, you should be prepared for, not only the right tools for the job, but also the principles of how to write a paper.

Have the correct structure for the Introduction and Discussion sections

The introduction of a scientific paper serves as the background that supports that research. It basically should answer the question “Why is this research being done?”. The proper structure is to begin with more general content. Then you can start focusing on the main proposal of the work. This is then going to be described in the rest of the paper (inverted triangle structure).

You should implement an opposite structure in the discussion. Here is where you explain why your work brings a novel insight to a certain field. Therefore, you should start by picking your data and give it a smaller contextualization on the topic. An example may be that you start by describing the effect a mutation on a certain organelle, then you move to the entire cell, and afterwards for the organism. You should begin with this bigger zoom and reduce it along the text. This will allow for a better understanding of the data on its respective topic.

Take your time in the methods section

Yes! Writing the methodology section of a paper is perhaps the most boring part of the scientific writing process. Searching for suppliers information, describing procedures, adding special characters for concentrations and assuring that dilutions are correctly added is not the funniest thing to do and unfortunately is a procedure that is sometimes neglected.

Notwithstanding this situation, the methods of a research paper are the most important content. Usually, scientists are automatically drawn to the results but scientific data can only be accepted as truth once it has been replicated. To assure proper data validation (and ultimately scientific peer approval), it is necessary to have the methodology properly written to the smallest detail.

Make sure your images have the right quality

Although 99% of the scientific journals differ in most of the specifications for submitting a research paper, one thing is common to all: the quality of the images. Usually, Images should have a resolution of 600 DPI and need to be stored in file formats such as .tiff, .ai or .eps.

For this reason, it is recommended that scientists do NOT use basic tools like Paint of Powerpoint. Advanced image editing tools like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator or GIMP (the last one being free) can get the job done.

Nevertheless, be aware that extensive image editing is not recommended in scientific images. One must never perform alterations when they lead to an adulteration of results.

Finish with a schematic of the conclusions

It is a proven fact that the brain processes images much faster than text. So if you are describing a new mechanism, pathway or technique you should wrap your paper with a final figure that best exemplifies what you results prove.

The creation of this scheme will also help you to understand if there is any missing link in your story. Assemble all the results in a single scheme. Through this, you will know if an extra experiment is needed or if a control should be made.

Go to part 2 >>

Image source: Piktochart

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