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The paper will ask the question, then answer it. The key to successful scientific writing is getting the structure of the paper right. Each section addresses a different objective. In turn, each basic section addresses several topics, and may be divided into subsections Table 1.

In the Introduction, the authors should explain the rationale and background to the study. What is the research question, and why is it important to ask it? While it is neither necessary nor desirable to provide a full-blown review of the literature as a prelude to the study, it is helpful to situate the study within some larger field of enquiry.

The research question should always be spelled out, and not merely left for the reader to guess. The Methods section should provide the readers with sufficient detail about the study methods to be able to reproduce the study if so desired.

Thus, this section should be specific, concrete, technical, and fairly detailed. The study setting, the sampling strategy used, instruments, data collection methods, and analysis strategies should be described. In the case of qualitative research studies, it is also useful to tell the reader which research tradition the study utilizes and to link the choice of methodological strategies with the research goals [ 3 ].

The Results section is typically fairly straightforward and factual. All results that relate to the research question should be given in detail, including simple counts and percentages. Resist the temptation to demonstrate analytic ability and the richness of the dataset by providing numerous tables of non-essential results. The Discussion section allows the most freedom. This is why the Discussion is the most difficult to write, and is often the weakest part of a paper.

Structured Discussion sections have been proposed by some journal editors [ 4 ]. While strict adherence to such rules may not be necessary, following a plan such as that proposed in Table 1 may help the novice writer stay on track. References should be used wisely. Key assertions should be referenced, as well as the methods and instruments used. However, unless the paper is a comprehensive review of a topic, there is no need to be exhaustive.

Also, references to unpublished work, to documents in the grey literature technical reports , or to any source that the reader will have difficulty finding or understanding should be avoided. Having the structure of the paper in place is a good start. However, there are many details that have to be attended to while writing. Another concerns non-native writers of English: A paper usually goes through several drafts before it is submitted. When revising a paper, it is useful to keep an eye out for the most common mistakes Table 2.

If you avoid all those, your paper should be in good shape. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. Sign In or Create an Account. Close mobile search navigation Article navigation. Primacy of the research question. Structure of the paper. Writing a research article: Keep in mind that your published research will be available in academic journals all over the world.

This means that people of different languages will read it. Moreover, even with scientists, this could present a language barrier. According to a recent article , always remember the following points as you write:. Be sure to explain these findings using descriptive terms. In addition, it is very important to have your paper edited by a native English speaking professional editor. There are many editing services available for academic manuscripts and publication support services.

With the above in mind, you can now focus on structure. Scientific papers are organized into specific sections and each has a goal. We have listed them here.

Some of these rules have been briefly discussed above; however, the study done by the authors does provide detailed explanations on all of them. Last updated Aug 27, We provide some helpful tips for you here. Organize Your Thoughts Perhaps one of the most important tasks before you even begin to write is to get organized. Aim for Clarity Your paper should be presented as clearly as possible. According to a recent article , always remember the following points as you write: Cleary define terms; avoid nonrelevant information.

Keep sentence structure simple and direct. Represent all data and illustrations accurately. For example, consider the following sentence: It does not tell the reader much. State the results instead: Research Paper Structure With the above in mind, you can now focus on structure. Title Your title is the most important part of your paper.

It draws the reader in and tells them what you are presenting. Abstract The abstract is a summary of your research. It is nearly as important as the title because the reader will be able to quickly read through it. Keep the sentences short and focused. Avoid acronyms and citations. Introduction Include background information on the subject and your objectives here.

Materials and Methods Describe the materials used and include the names and locations of the manufacturers. For any animal studies, include where you obtained the animals and a statement of humane treatment.

Clearly and succinctly explain your methods so that it can be duplicated. Criteria for inclusion and exclusion in the study and statistical analyses should be included. Results Discuss your findings here.

Be careful to not make definitive statements.

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Reports of research studies usually follow the IMRAD format. IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, [and] Discussion) is a mnemonic for the major components of a scientific paper. These elements are included in the overall structure outlined below.

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The structure of a research paper is critical for readers to understand the story behind the research study. Authors should follow these tips to improve their paper structure. The structure of a research paper might seem quite stiff, but it serves a purpose: It will help find information you are looking for easily and also help structure your thoughts and communication. Here is an example of a research paper.

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As long as you have planned a good structure for the parts of a research paper, both approaches are acceptable and it is a matter of preference. A good introduction generally consists of three distinct parts. Writing a research paper obliges you to follow a research paper structure. This will help keep your research organized and more polished. The general flow of a research paper starts with something very general as in the introduction and other introductory parts and then goes to something more specific and detailed as in the body of your .