HOW TO WRITE A SCIENTIFIC PAPER
Judges will read your research paper. Your paper
                                                                     THE DISCUSSION TALKS ABOUT YOUR DATA.
SHOULD have eight sections: Title page, Table of
                                                                     The discussion of your project is the heart of the paper. It will
Contents, Summary, Introduction, Methodology,
                                                                     usually contain several subsections. A good way to begin is to
Discussion, Conclusions, Credits and References.
                                                                     present all of your observations and data, in both as-collected
                                                                     and processed forms. Discuss how and why you processed
YOU START WITH A TITLE. Use the same title for                       your data. Explain anything you assumed to process the data.
your paper that you used for your project. Center the title near     Tables, charts and graphs are very helpful. Place all graphics
the middle of the page. Towards the lower right corner, place        in the paper near the paragraphs in which they are discussed.
your name, the name of your school and your grade level.             Clearly label and identify all columns, axes and data. Each item
                                                                     must have its own title.
THE TABLE OF CONTENTS is written after your paper
is complete and after you have numbered all the pages.               A complete paper will include a discussion of possible errors.
                                                                     How did the data vary between repeated observations of
AN ABSTRACT IS AN OVERVIEW. The first part of                        similar events? How were your results affected by uncontrolled
your paper is the part that you write last. Your abstract is a       events? What are the sources of possible error? How large are
short section, approximately 250 words. It contains clear but        these errors? What would you do differently if you were to
brief summary statements. You summarize: (a) the problem or          repeat this project? What other experiments still need to be
question(s) you are studying, (b) the action that you took in        conducted?
your investigation, (c) the results of your experiment(s) and (d)
your most important conclusions based on your results. Display       THE CONCLUSION IS A SUMMARY OF YOUR
a copy on your project.                                              RESULTS. The conclusion restates briefly the findings and
                                                                     results detailed in your discussions. Do not mention new topics
THE INTRODUCTION TELLS WHAT YOU ARE                                  or speculations unless you referred to them in the discussion.
GOING TO DO. This sets the scene for your report. The                Conclusions are based on your work and experiments. They do
introduction explains what prompted your research and what           not come from news articles and textbooks. Make a
you hoped to achieve. The first part of the introduction tells the   comparison with theories, commonly held beliefs and/or
reader your understanding of the subject when you started            expected results. Your conclusions and implications should
your project. Next tell how you became interested in your            flow smoothly and logically from your data. Be thorough. Let
project. Then describe some information that you found when          your readers know exactly what you did. Let them follow your
you studied your subject, for example: historical and scientific     train of thought.
background, similar experiments; done by others, and any
contradictions or unanswered questions you may have found.           GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE. The last
Finish the section with statements that; (1) describe exactly        section of your paper gives credit to other people for their work
what you want to prove or disprove, (2) tell why this proof          and assistance. First, a list of credits recognizes the aid given
should be done, (3) detail the information that you want to          to you by people, business and institutions. Second, list the
obtain from your project and (4) tell how this information could     references you used. This is called a bibliography. This
be used. The time to write the initial version of the introduction   recognizes the information taken from the works and writings of
is while you are planning and starting your project!                 other people. There are standard bibliography forms. See your
                                                                     English teacher.
EXPERIMENT. This section gives all the details about how             A FIRST-CLASS LOOK REQUIRES EXTRA
you conducted the experiment. Describe in detail how you             CARE. Carefully review your first draft. Check for correct
derived your data and observations. It is so precise that            spelling. Since you are very familiar with your project it is easy
another person could repeat your work just by following your         to leave out important details. Let an adult who is not familiar
instructions. List all materials that you used. Any apparatus you    with your project read your
constructed should be photographed or drawn and discussed.           paper. If they have trouble         The Deadline!
Photographs, sketches and diagrams help to make your ideas           understanding your paper,
clear.                                                               maybe you left something
                                                                     out. Have your paper
Answer questions that apply to your project, such as: What and       proofread a final time, then
how was it measured? What variables did you collect data for!        type the final draft with
How did you run the control experiment? What subjects did you        double spaced lines. If you
use? How or where were your supplies mixed, made or grown?           can’t type, get help from
                                                                     someone who can.

To top