Simple Instructions for Students on How to Write a Biology Research Paper

When someone in your department or a colleague in your field wants to read a biology research paper, they want to do so selectively. This means that they might only be interested in just the methods you used, the conclusion you make, interpretation or just the summary to determine if it’s relevant to their studies. This is why you will find the papers published in scientific journals will have clear sections.

Here are simple instructions on writing a biology research paper:

  • Title page and abstract: Title pages are pretty specific in the sciences, including the title of your paper as well as all principle authors of the paper and the date submitted. An abstract a short summary – about 200 words – that lets the reader know the rationale behind the study, the general approach, the results, and your conclusions.

  • Introduction: Like introductions in other types of research papers, this section is to acquaint your readers with providing some background on your research and the reason behind your work in order to lay the foundation for its defense. In science, an introduction puts your work in a theoretical context, letting the reader understand your intent.

  • Materials and Methods: This is the easiest part of a biology research paper to write, largely because its sole purpose is to document all materials and general procedures used in your study so that other’s in the field could undertake the same processes and either come up with similar results or adapt your study to come up with their own.

  • Results: This section is to clearly present and illustrate the results of your study and research. This section should be as objective as possible with no interpretation of your results. That should be left for your discussion presented later in the paper.

  • Discussion: The guidelines of your research paper will vary and affect the length of your discussion. You discussion, however, should provide an interpretation of your findings and evidence of your conclusions. You should also give the significance of your findings within the field and specific area of your research.

  • Sources: You should cite every source used in your paper in alphabetical order by first listed author. Generally, it’s recommended you only use primary sources authored by original investigators and found in accredited scientific journals. Be wary of citing web sites since scientific sources found online are dubiously false and aren’t verifiable.
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