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Scientific Methodology: Tips : Writing Science Papers

writing science papers, research reports, research papers versus review papers, experimental design

Tips : Writing Science Papers

Keep the following tips in mind when writing a science paper:

 - in general, formal academic writing in the sciences uses the passive voice in order to produce a more objective tone.  For example, a researcher may write: ‘Sodium nitrate was added to the solution.’ (where the first person plural ‘we’ is understood).  In more current practices and in less formal science writing, such as in lab reports, the first person plural is allowed (e.g.  We added sodium nitrate to the solution.). (Note: Please check with your instructor regarding which voice s/he wishes you to use in your papers.)   Links to resources regarding writing style in the sciences are included on the page: Resources - in this guide.


- use the full form of a word, not the contraction (e.g. was not, rather than wasn’t)


- do not use etc. - say what you have to say …


- the introduction should be written in the present tense to describe what you intend to do


- write the results, the discussion, and the conclusion in the past tense (you have already completed your experiment/research)


- keep your writing simple and concise


- when first using a name or a compound, write it in full followed by the acronym in brackets.  You can then use the acronym for the remainder of the paper.


- remember your audience.  Is your audience an expert in the field?  a science student?  or a member of the general public?


- when discussing other researcher’s work, paraphrase their findings, do not quote


- make the methods section clear so that other scientists can replicate your research


- the results and discussion section will constitute the main portion of your paper


- your research results never ‘prove’ your hypothesis; however, your results may indicate or suggest certain findings or support your hypothesis  …………….



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