Monday, December 7, 2015

Remembering the Framework of a Scientific Paper

The general organization of a scientific paper is as follows: abstract; introduction; methods; results, discussion; conclusion; references.

The Abstract should be structured, unless journal protocol says to use a narrative form. The abstract should tell the reader what question you asked, explain what methods were used to answer the question, what was found and what was concluded. All in 250 words or less.
The Introduction should, well, introduce the topic of the paper, describe briefly some background information the gap in the literature your paper will address, and close by providing the reader with the actual research question.
The Methods section should describe how the research was done. It should provide enough detail that an interested reader could replicate what you did. It is, for example, not enough to simply say that some was adjusted using side-posture positioning; your paper should fully describe how the adjustment was rendered.
The Results should provide the answer to the question you asked, along with supplementary information that has helped address the question. Generally, this is provided as group mean values, depending on the kind of paper and the statistics used.
The Discussion provides context and discusses the findings of your paper in light of what is already known. It helps to put your work into that larger context and also again addresses what is new and novel about your work. It usually concludes by providing additional research direction.
The Conclusion really just summarizes what you have already reported in your paper. It, too, can offer future direction.
References are done to journal style. In most biomedical journals, this is using Vancouver formatting. This is a numerical system. Note that variants of this system exist, so note the journal style requirements.
This is the briefest of overviews of a scientific paper, but it helps to keep this all in mind when you sit down to write.