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Writing a Scientific Paper

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  1. Writing a Scientific Paper

  2. There are two reasons why you should learn how to write good reports of your science projects. • by putting your work into words, you will gain a better understanding of your project. • knowing you are going to write a report of your project and what should be included in the report will help you plan and conduct the project. You will have to apply the same scientific method - the planned, orderly procedures - in writing, as you do in your science work.

  3. A paper on a scientific or technical subject necessarily consists of: • a report of facts • an interpretation of facts • a combination of a report and an interpretation.

  4. (1) The method of writing is governed by many conditions, including the nature of the subject, the purpose of the article, the characteristics of the writer, and the interests of the probable readers. No set method or arrangement will be suited to all kinds of papers.

  5. (2) It is important that the plan of the composition be made very clear to the reader. The main topics and their subdivisions should be plainly indicated. In this respect scientific writing differs from literary composition.

  6. (3) A scientific paper is intended to be studied and used as reference; it is not merely to be read. Hence literary devices should be subordinated if they interfere with clearness. The plan should be self-evident throughout the composition.

  7. The Title A good title will distingush your project report from all others which have to do with the same general area of study. Titles of scinetific reports should convey important information rather than show off the author's cleverness.

  8. Abstract • The abstract is a brief condensation of the whole paper. Abstract is a summary of the report that follows the title page (in geosciences, 300-500 words is rather common). This summary should include in one paragraph a statement of the purpose of the project, general methods or procedures used, and principal findings and conclusions. The purpose of an abstract is to give the reader enough information for him to decide whether or not to read the whole report.

  9. Introduction (& background information) This section should give the reader enough information to be able to understand the history and the importance of your problem. It will often include a review of other people's findings. If well written, this section will explain your motives for undertaking the project and will stimulate the reader. In short, this section contains:

  10. 「寫作教學中心」預訂於3/11(週五)辦理本學期第一場演講(訊息如下)。歡迎各位踴躍報名https://info2.ntu.edu.tw/register/flex/main.html?actID=20111260_01&sesID=1。時間:2011年3月11日下午2:20 - 4:20講題:The Beginning is Half of the Whole: Writing Great Introductions     講員:Marc Anthony(安馬克)地點:共同教室204◎演講摘要 This seminar examines approaches to writing the introduction for research.   It is widely recognized that writing introductions is slow, difficult and troublesome for both native as well as non-native speakers.  Indeed, apart from the abstract, the introduction is often delayed to the last stage of the writing process, so daunting it is for many researchers to write.A key concern of writing a good introduction is that it serves to “sell” the rest of the article.  If readers do not understand what the writer is researching, they will not be very interested in reading further.  A good introduction clearly establishes the territory of the research and grabs the audience’s attention, encouraging them to read further.

  11. A key area we will examine in this seminar is the “moves” or rhetorical explanations that are commonly found in introductions.  These include how to express the claim of centrality in the research, and the language of defining and occupying your niche, or the research gap, that exists in the particular area.To understand all this, we will use several comparable examples from top-tier journals and learn how to master the introduction by examining the stylistic choices of several published researchers.Additionally, we will take some time to clarify the use of tenses when citing the literature.

  12. Nature of the problem; its state at the beginning of the investigation. • Purpose, scope, and method of the investigation. • Most significant outcome of the investigation; the state of the problem at the end of the investigation. (this part is not always there)

  13. The Problem • If your report is based on the study of specific problem, the problem should be clearly stated or defined. You should tell whether you are searching for or testing hypotheses, suggesting a theory, or merely reporting some observations to be made under clearly specified conditions. • The best reports will include a discussion of the relationship between the problem and existing theories.

  14. Hypotheses to be tested • If one or a series of experiments is being reported, all hypotheses being tested should be stated. This section may also include a discussion of what the possible experimental results will mean in terms of accepting or rejecting the hypotheses.

  15. Experimental procedures • Anyone who reads your report should, with the proper materials and facilities, be able to repeat your experiment or observations and obtain similar results. Therefore, you must describe in detail all of the equipment and conditions (T, P, etc.).

  16. Photographs and drawings can be used as well as words. Every step in your procedure should be carefully explained. If you discover that some method of doing something will not work, mention it so that others will not repeat your mistake. In brief: (a) Description of the equipment and materials employed. (b) Description of the experiments. Explanation of the way in which the work was done. (Give sufficient detail to enable a competent worker to repeat your experiments. Emphasize the features that are new.)

  17. Result (data) & Observations • Presentation and description of the results. • Numerical data such as measurements and other statistics are best presented in the form of tables and figures.

  18. Discussion of results (Analysis and Interpretation of Data or Observations) • In simple, short reports, this section may sometimes be included with the preceding one. The analysis of numerical data may include graphs and scattergrams. Statistical methods may be used to discover relationships. Non-mathematical observations should be analyzed and interpreted in terms of the hypotheses that were being tested. In other words,

  19. a. Main principles, causal relations, or generalisations that are shown by the results. b. Evidence (as shown by your data) for each of the main conclusions. c. Exceptions and opposing theories, and explanations of these. d. Comparison of your results and interpretations with those of other workers.

  20. Conclusions • In this section, each hypothesis should be re-examined and rejected if the data show it be wrong. Hypotheses which are supported by the research can be tentatively accepted for further testing. You will seldom be able to fully accept a hypothesis. • In earth science papers, this section is commonly presented concisely and in a style of point-by-point. It is sufficiently different from « abstract » in format.

  21. Implications & Recommendations • In this next-to-last section of your report, you should discuss any meaning your research may have for a better understanding of a broad area of science. You should also include a discussion of any new problems (or revision of hypothesis) that have been suggested by your study. Never try to draw illogical connections between your research results and unrelated areas of interest and study. • In earth sciences, this section is often included in « Conclusions »

  22. Acknowledgements The order of acknowledgement generally follows this rule: • The persons who have helped you carry out this research (help you in generating ideas through discussion, producing data, etc.). • The persons who have reviewed your paper and provided comments and suggestions. • The organisations which provided financial support to your research. • Contribution number of your research institute.

  23. Reference (or Bibliography) • You should strictly follow the style imposed by each individual journal. • If you are a young researcher or student, I highly recommend you to use « EndNote » software to build up your own bibliography. This will save you a lot of time in the research and/or preparation of a scientific paper.

  24. General Elements of Scientific Writing

  25. In summary, • Correct organization of the content of your paper. • Clear statement of the research aims and related theoretical basis. • Detailed explanation of the analytical or experimental procedures. • Presentation of the data and pertinent observations. • Discussion – Brief introduction of the items to be discussed. • Interpretation of your data. Over-interpretation should be avoided. • Admonition or caution of the limitation of the research. • Explanation of any results not compatible with prediction. • Incorporation of the comments and suggestions provided by the reviewers if the paper has gone through a review process. • Conclusions

  26. Bon appétit !