Writing CSU Guide Writing the Scientific Paper When you write about scientific topics to specialists in a particular scientific field, we call that scientific writing. When you write to non-specialists about scientific topics, we call that science writing. The scientific paper has developed over the past three centuries into a tool to communicate the results of scientific inquiry. The main audience for scientific papers is extremely specialized.
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Abstracts of scientific papers are sometimes poorly written, often lack important information, and occasionally convey a biased picture.
This paper provides detailed suggestions, with examples, for writing the background, methods, results, and conclusions sections of a good abstract. The primary target of this paper is the young researcher; however, authors with all levels of experience may find useful ideas in the paper.
Earlier articles offered suggestions on how to write a good case report,[ 1 ] and how to read, write, or review a paper on randomized controlled trials.
Although the primary target of this paper is the young researcher, it is likely that authors with all levels of experience will find at least a few ideas that may be useful in their future efforts.
The abstract of a paper is the only part of the paper that is published in conference proceedings. The abstract is the only part of the paper that a potential referee sees when he is invited by an editor to review a manuscript. The abstract is the only part of the paper that readers see when they search through electronic databases such as PubMed.
Finally, most readers will acknowledge, with a chuckle, that when they leaf through the hard copy of a journal, they look at only the titles of the contained papers. If a title interests them, they glance through the abstract of that paper.
Only a dedicated reader will peruse the contents of the paper, and then, most often only the introduction and discussion sections. Only a reader with a very specific interest in the subject of the paper, and a need to understand it thoroughly, will read the entire paper.
Thus, for the vast majority of readers, the paper does not exist beyond its abstract. For the referees, and the few readers who wish to read beyond the abstract, the abstract sets the tone for the rest of the paper.
It is therefore the duty of the author to ensure that the abstract is properly representative of the entire paper. For this, the abstract must have some general qualities. These are listed in Table 1.
The usual sections defined in a structured abstract are the Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions; other headings with similar meanings may be used eg, Introduction in place of Background or Findings in place of Results.
Some journals include additional sections, such as Objectives between Background and Methods and Limitations at the end of the abstract.
In the rest of this paper, issues related to the contents of each section will be examined in turn. Background This section should be the shortest part of the abstract and should very briefly outline the following information: What is already known about the subject, related to the paper in question What is not known about the subject and hence what the study intended to examine or what the paper seeks to present In most cases, the background can be framed in just 2—3 sentences, with each sentence describing a different aspect of the information referred to above; sometimes, even a single sentence may suffice.
The purpose of the background, as the word itself indicates, is to provide the reader with a background to the study, and hence to smoothly lead into a description of the methods employed in the investigation.
Some authors publish papers the abstracts of which contain a lengthy background section. There are some situations, perhaps, where this may be justified. In most cases, however, a longer background section means that less space remains for the presentation of the results.
This is unfortunate because the reader is interested in the paper because of its findings, and not because of its background. A wide variety of acceptably composed backgrounds is provided in Table 2 ; most of these have been adapted from actual papers.
Note that, in the interest of brevity, unnecessary content is avoided. Table 2 Open in a separate window Methods The methods section is usually the second-longest section in the abstract.
It should contain enough information to enable the reader to understand what was done, and how. Table 3 lists important questions to which the methods section should provide brief answers.
Table 3 Open in a separate window Carelessly written methods sections lack information about important issues such as sample size, numbers of patients in different groups, doses of medications, and duration of the study. Readers have only to flip through the pages of a randomly selected journal to realize how common such carelessness is.
Table 4 presents examples of the contents of accept-ably written methods sections, modified from actual publications. Table 4 Open in a separate window Results The results section is the most important part of the abstract and nothing should compromise its range and quality.Writing the Scientific Paper.
W hen you write about scientific topics to specialists in a particular scientific field, we call that scientific writing. (When you write to non-specialists about scientific topics, we call that science writing.) T he scientific paper has developed over the past three centuries into a tool to communicate the results of scientific inquiry.
How to Write an Abstract. Philip Koopman, Carnegie Mellon University October, Abstract. Because on-line search databases typically contain only abstracts, it is vital to write a complete but concise description of your work to entice potential readers into obtaining a copy of the full paper.
For the purposes of writing an abstract, try grouping the main ideas of each section of the paper into a single sentence. Practice grouping ideas using webbing or color coding. For a scientific paper, you may have sections titled Purpose, Methods, Results, and Discussion.
Sep 10, · To write an abstract, finish your paper first, then type a summary that identifies the purpose, problem, methods, results, and conclusion of your work. After you get the details down, all that's left is to format it correctly%(). Best Abstract Examples. Anytime students are required to write an APA style paper, they start googling for examples of abstract online.
While some practical, real-life samples can prove pretty useful in your research, you still have to understand that even an amazing example abstract will be of no use if you do not understand why you need this section in your paper, or what purpose it serves.
The abstract allows you to elaborate upon each major aspect of the paper and helps readers decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper. Therefore, enough key information [e.g., summary results, observations, trends, etc.] must be included to make the abstract useful to someone who may want to examine your work.