Helpful Tricks on How to Write a Research Paper Outline

When you are writing a science paper, you want it to be clear and concise. You want your paragraphs to be coherent and your ideas to be organized. There are certain features that distinguish a science paper from other genres of writing. Understanding what these features are makes it easier for you to write scientific prose proficiently.

  1. Audience
  2. When writing a scientific paper, you need to pay close attention to your audience. The audience for a science research paper or dissertation is different from a non-science audience. Ask yourself whether you are writing for fellow scientists who have a great deal of knowledge in the subject matter and background, or whether you are writing for a general audience who will lack information on the subject matter or background.

  3. Titles
  4. Titles in science related papers are generally sentence fragments. For a science paper it can be a full sentence if you prefer, but the title is often a fragment like the example below:

    The risk of fungal endocarditis development in IV drug users: a meta-analysis

    A full-sentence title is best to use if you are highlighting a central result from your paper but you need to be careful with full sentence titles because every word counts in a scientific paper. Be concrete with your title and avoid using excessive detail. The reader can get all the detail they want in the body of your text.

  5. Headings
  6. Unlike humanities papers, scientific papers encourage the use of headings. Headings are a way to emphasize the systematic nature of the science papers and they provide an organizational tool that alleviates the need to create smooth transitions between the larger sections of your paper. So use them to your advantage!

    In some genres, your sections and subsequently your headings will be predetermined. For example: if you are creating a lab report you have the fill in the following pre-determined headings:

    • Abstract
    • Introduction
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Discussion

    This list will vary based on the course and the scientific discipline. For an experiment which is more complicated, your sections (or headings) may be further divided into subsections.

    Please note that you are not obligated to include headings. In shorter science papers they may only hinder your work. And if they are not required, then do not worry about using them.

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