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- Research Reports: Definition and How to Write Them
- Editorial and publishing policies
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Scientific experiments are demanding, exciting endeavors, but, to have an impact, results must be communicated to others. A research paper is a method of communication, an attempt to tell others about some specific data that you have gathered and what you think those data mean in the context of your research. The "rules" of writing a scientific paper are rigid and are different from those that apply when you write an English theme or a library research paper.
For clear communication, the paper obviously requires proper usage of the English language and this will be considered in evaluating your reports. Scientific papers must be written clearly and concisely so that readers with backgrounds similar to yours can understand easily what you have done and how you have done it should they want to repeat or extend your work. When writing papers for the biology department, you can assume that your audience will be readers like yourselves with similar knowledge.
Although scientific journals differ somewhat in their specific requirements, a general format that would be acceptable for most biological journals is:. Materials and Methods.
Literature Cited. The section headings Abstract, Introduction, etc. Do not begin each section on a new page. If one section ends part of the way down the page, the next section heading follows immediately on the same page.
One important general rule to keep in mind is that a scientific paper is a report about something that has been done in the past. The present tense is, are is used when stating generalizations or conclusions. The present tense is most often used in the Introduction, Discussion and Conclusion sections of papers. The paper should read as a narrative in which the author describes what was done and what results were obtained from that work.
Every scientific paper must have a self-explanatory title. By reading the title, the work being reported should be clear to the reader without having to read the paper itself. The title, "A Biology Lab Report", tells the reader nothing. An example of a good, self-explanatory title would be: "The Effects of Light and Temperature on the Growth of Populations of the Bacterium, Escherichia coli ".
This title reports exactly what the researcher has done by stating three things:. The environmental factors that were manipulated light, temperature. The parameter that was measured growth. The specific organism that was studied the bacterium, Escherichia coli. If the title had been only "Effects of Light and Temperature on Escherichia coli ", the reader would have to guess which parameters were measured. That is, were the effects on reproduction, survival, dry weight or something else?
If the title had been "Effect of Environmental Factors on Growth of Escherichia coli ", the reader would not know which environmental factors were manipulated. If the title had been "Effects of Light and Temperature on the Growth of an Organism", then the reader would not know which organism was studied. In any of the above cases, the reader would be forced to read more of the paper to understand what the researcher had done.
Exceptions do occur: If several factors were manipulated, all of them do not have to be listed. Instead, "Effects of Several Environmental Factors on Growth of Populations of Escherichia coli " if more than two or three factors were manipulated would be appropriate. The same applies if more than two or three organisms were studied. The researcher would then include the names of the bacteria in the Materials and Methods section of the paper.
The abstract section in a scientific paper is a concise digest of the content of the paper. An abstract is more than a summary. A summary is a brief restatement of preceding text that is intended to orient a reader who has studied the preceding text. An abstract is intended to be self-explanatory without reference to the paper, but is not a substitute for the paper.
The abstract should present, in about words, the purpose of the paper, general materials and methods including, if any, the scientific and common names of organisms , summarized results, and the major conclusions. Do not include any information that is not contained in the body of the paper. Exclude detailed descriptions of organisms, materials and methods. Tables or figures, references to tables or figures, or references to literature cited usually are not included in this section.
The abstract is usually written last. An easy way to write the abstract is to extract the most important points from each section of the paper and then use those points to construct a brief description of your study.
The Introduction is the statement of the problem that you investigated. It should give readers enough information to appreciate your specific objectives within a larger theoretical framework. After placing your work in a broader context, you should state the specific question s to be answered. This section may also include background information about the problem such as a summary of any research that has been done on the problem in the past and how the present experiment will help to clarify or expand the knowledge in this general area.
All background information gathered from other sources must, of course, be appropriately cited. Proper citation of references will be described later. A helpful strategy in this section is to go from the general, theoretical framework to your specific question. However, do not make the Introduction too broad. Remember that you are writing for classmates who have knowledge similar to yours. Present only the most relevant ideas and get quickly to the point of the paper.
For examples, see the Appendix. This section explains how and, where relevant, when the experiment was done. The researcher describes the experimental design, the apparatus, methods of gathering data and type of control. If any work was done in a natural habitat, the worker describes the study area, states its location and explains when the work was done. If specimens were collected for study, where and when that material was collected are stated. DO NOT write this section as though it were directions in a laboratory exercise book.
Instead of writing:. First pour agar into six petri plates. Then inoculate the plates with the bacteria. Then put the plates into the incubator. Simply describe how the experiment was done:. Six petri plates were prepared with agar and inoculated with the bacteria. The plates were incubated for ten hours. The materials that were used in the research are simply mentioned in the narrative as the experimental procedure is described in detail. If well-known methods were used without changes, simply name the methods e.
If modified standard techniques were used, describe the changes. Here the researcher presents summarized data for inspection using narrative text and, where appropriate, tables and figures to display summarized data. Only the results are presented. No interpretation of the data or conclusions about what the data might mean are given in this section.
Do not present raw data! Do not repeat extensively in the text the data you have presented in tables and figures. But, do not restrict yourself to passing comments either. For example, only stating that "Results are shown in Table 1. The text describes the data presented in the tables and figures and calls attention to the important data that the researcher will discuss in the Discussion section and will use to support Conclusions.
Rules to follow when constructing and presenting figures and tables are presented in a later section of this guide. Here, the researcher interprets the data in terms of any patterns that were observed, any relationships among experimental variables that are important and any correlations between variables that are discernible. The author should include any explanations of how the results differed from those hypothesized, or how the results were either different from or similar to those of any related experiments performed by other researchers.
Remember that experiments do not always need to show major differences or trends to be important. A useful strategy in discussing your experiment is to relate your specific results back to the broad theoretical context presented in the Introduction. Since your Introduction went from the general to a specific question, going from the specific back to the general will help to tie your ideas and arguments together. This section should not offer any reasons for those particular conclusions--these should have been presented in the Discussion section.
By looking at only the Introduction and Conclusions sections, a reader should have a good idea of what the researcher has investigated and discovered even though the specific details of how the work was done would not be known. In this section you should give credit to people who have helped you with the research or with writing the paper.
If your work has been supported by a grant, you would also give credit for that in this section. This section lists, in alphabetical order by author, all published information that was referred to anywhere in the text of the paper. It provides the readers with the information needed should they want to refer to the original literature on the general problem. Note that the Literature Cited section includes only those references that were actually mentioned cited in the paper.
Any other information that the researcher may have read about the problem but did not mention in the paper is not included in this section. This is why the section is called "Literature Cited" instead of "References" or "Bibliography". The system of citing reference material in scientific journals varies with the particular journal. The method that you will follow is the "author-date" system. Listed below are several examples of how citations should be presented in the text of your paper.
The name s of the author s and year of publication are included in the body of the text. Sentence structure determines the placement of the parentheses. One author : 'Scott's model fails to Two authors : 'Libby and Libby show
Research Reports: Definition and How to Write Them
Editorial and publishing policies
Each Move has a number of stages. Depending on what you need to say in your introduction, you might use one or more stages. Table 1 provides you with a list of the most commonly occurring stages of introductions in Honours theses colour-coded to show the Moves. You will also find examples of Introductions, divided into stages with sample sentence extracts.
Examples of good descriptive writing
Home Uncategorized. Research reports are recorded data prepared by researchers or statisticians after analyzing information gathered by conducting organized research, typically in the form of surveys or qualitative methods. Reports usually are spread across a vast horizon of topics but are focused on communicating information about a particular topic and a very niche target market. The primary motive of research reports is to convey integral details about a study for marketers to consider while designing new strategies. Certain events, facts and other information based on incidents need to be relayed on to the people in charge and creating research reports is the most effective communication tool. Ideal research reports are extremely accurate in the offered information with a clear objective and conclusion.
Starting a thesis can be daunting. There are so many questions in the beginning: How do you actually start your thesis? How do you structure it? What information should the individual chapters contain? Each educational program has different demands on your thesis structure, which is why asking directly for the requirements of your program should be a first step. However, there is not much flexibility when it comes to structuring your thesis in general.
A protocol or a synopsis of a research project is a document submitted to an authority or an institution for the purpose of. Synopsis is the gist of your planned project submitted for approval from competent authorities. It gives a panoramic view of your research for quick analysis by the reviewers. Thus, a protocol or a synopsis forms an integral part of a research project or a thesis. Many universities have made it mandatory for the postgraduate degree student to prepare a thesis as a part of their postgraduate training.
The series covers a range of issues, including advice on how to write a seminar paper, what to consider when referencing, and how to avoid plagiarism. The materials provide overall guidance as well as numerous tips and pointers.
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