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How to Write Your First Research Paper

Types of Research Articles

❶Your most important goal in this section is to be as explicit as possible by providing enough detail and references.

1. Plan Your Time

This article is a part of the guide:
Main Features and Essential Elements of Research Article
1. Schedule your writing time in Outlook

Try to avoid any generalities, and keep your summary papers concise, focused. At the same time, the paper will need to be edited for style your readers need to be able to understand you.

To make it look smart, you need to:. If you properly determine your focus, and then scan and read your research articles, you can definitely manage to write and edit your summary paper in a way that will come nothing short of perfection. All information is protected and encrypted.

None of your personal data or Payment details will be disclosed. For more detailed information please read our Terms of Use page. By tapping to Accept you are indicating that you have got acquainted with our Cookie Policy and allow us to store and process your data needed to provide you with our service Cookies Policy Accept. Order Now Log In. Subscribe to our blog. Scan the Article Before you start reading the entire article, you need to scan it for content first.

Briefly, go over the article and look at each of its sections to find: The reason for doing the research and the question stated usually found in the introduction The hypothesis or hypotheses that were tested in the article also in the introduction How they tested the hypothesis found in the methodology What the findings were look for them in the results How those findings were interpreted found in the discussion When scanning with the purpose of writing summary papers, each key sentence should be underlined or written in the margin of the article.

Read the Article Once you finished scanning your article, you need to read it thoroughly next. As you read with the purpose of writing a summary for research paper, ask yourself the following questions: How does the design address the issues of the research? Writing research papers does not come naturally to most of us.

The typical research paper is a highly codified rhetorical form [ 1 , 2 ]. Knowledge of the rules—some explicit, others implied—goes a long way toward writing a paper that will get accepted in a peer-reviewed journal.

A good research paper addresses a specific research question. The research question—or study objective or main research hypothesis—is the central organizing principle of the paper. This is perhaps obvious when the paper reports on a well planned research project.

However, in applied domains such as quality improvement, some papers are written based on projects that were undertaken for operational reasons, and not with the primary aim of producing new knowledge.

In such cases, authors should define the main research question a posteriori and design the paper around it. Generally, only one main research question should be addressed in a paper secondary but related questions are allowed. If a project allows you to explore several distinct research questions, write several papers. For instance, if you measured the impact of obtaining written consent on patient satisfaction at a specialized clinic using a newly developed questionnaire, you may want to write one paper on the questionnaire development and validation, and another on the impact of the intervention.

What is a good research question? The key attributes are: The research question should be precise and not merely identify a general area of inquiry.

A study does not necessarily have to break completely new ground, but it should extend previous knowledge in a useful way, or alternatively refute existing knowledge. Finally, the question should be of interest to others who work in the same scientific area. The latter requirement is more challenging for those who work in applied science than for basic scientists. While it may safely be assumed that the human genome is the same worldwide, whether the results of a local quality improvement project have wider relevance requires careful consideration and argument.

Once the research question is clearly defined, writing the paper becomes considerably easier. 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. The preferred and unpreferred status of the music was operationalized along a continuum of pleasantness. Interestingly, recent studies have reported that the Materials and Methods section is the only section in research papers in which passive voice predominantly overrides the use of the active voice [ 5 , 7 , 8 , 9 ].

This means that while all other sections of the research paper use active voice, passive voice is still the most predominant in Materials and Methods sections. Writing Materials and Methods sections is a meticulous and time consuming task requiring extreme accuracy and clarity. This is why when you complete your draft, you should ask for as much feedback from your colleagues as possible. Numerous readers of this section will help you identify the missing links and improve the technical style of this section.

For many authors, writing the Results section is more intimidating than writing the Materials and Methods section. If people are interested in your paper, they are interested in your results. That is why it is vital to use all your writing skills to objectively present your key findings in an orderly and logical sequence using illustrative materials and text.

Your Results should be organized into different segments or subsections where each one presents the purpose of the experiment, your experimental approach, data including text and visuals tables, figures, schematics, algorithms, and formulas , and data commentary. For most journals, your data commentary will include a meaningful summary of the data presented in the visuals and an explanation of the most significant findings.

This data presentation should not repeat the data in the visuals, but rather highlight the most important points. However, interpretations gradually and secretly creep into research papers: Another important aspect of this section is to create a comprehensive and supported argument or a well-researched case. This means that you should be selective in presenting data and choose only those experimental details that are essential for your reader to understand your findings.

You might have conducted an experiment 20 times and collected numerous records, but this does not mean that you should present all those records in your paper. You need to distinguish your results from your data and be able to discard excessive experimental details that could distract and confuse the reader.

However, creating a picture or an argument should not be confused with data manipulation or falsification, which is a willful distortion of data and results. If some of your findings contradict your ideas, you have to mention this and find a plausible explanation for the contradiction. In addition, your text should not include irrelevant and peripheral information, including overview sentences, as in 6.

To show our results, we first introduce all components of experimental system and then describe the outcome of infections. Indeed, wordiness convolutes your sentences and conceals your ideas from readers. One common source of wordiness is unnecessary intensifiers. Another source of wordiness is nominalizations, i. To improve your sentences, avoid unnecessary nominalizations and change passive verbs and constructions into active and direct sentences.

Your Results section is the heart of your paper, representing a year or more of your daily research. So lead your reader through your story by writing direct, concise, and clear sentences. Now that you are almost half through drafting your research paper, it is time to update your outline. While describing your Methods and Results, many of you diverged from the original outline and re-focused your ideas. So before you move on to create your Introduction, re-read your Methods and Results sections and change your outline to match your research focus.

The updated outline will help you review the general picture of your paper, the topic, the main idea, and the purpose, which are all important for writing your introduction. The best way to structure your introduction is to follow the three-move approach shown in Table 3.

Adapted from Swales and Feak [ 11 ]. The moves and information from your outline can help to create your Introduction efficiently and without missing steps. These moves are traffic signs that lead the reader through the road of your ideas. Each move plays an important role in your paper and should be presented with deep thought and care. When you establish the territory, you place your research in context and highlight the importance of your research topic. By finding the niche, you outline the scope of your research problem and enter the scientific dialogue.

The three moves allow your readers to evaluate their interest in your paper and play a significant role in the paper review process, determining your paper reviewers. As a result, many novice writers do not present their experimental approach and the major findings, wrongly believing that the reader will locate the necessary information later while reading the subsequent sections [ 5 ].

To interest the reader, scientific authors should be direct and straightforward and present informative one-sentence summaries of the results and the approach. Another problem is that writers understate the significance of the Introduction. Many new researchers mistakenly think that all their readers understand the importance of the research question and omit this part. However, this assumption is faulty because the purpose of the section is not to evaluate the importance of the research question in general.

The goal is to present the importance of your research contribution and your findings. Therefore, you should be explicit and clear in describing the benefit of the paper. The Introduction should not be long. Indeed, for most journals, this is a very brief section of about to words, but it might be the most difficult section due to its importance.

For many scientists, writing a Discussion section is as scary as starting a paper. Most of the fear comes from the variation in the section. Since every paper has its unique results and findings, the Discussion section differs in its length, shape, and structure.

However, some general principles of writing this section still exist. The structure of the first two moves is almost a mirror reflection of the one in the Introduction. In the Introduction, you zoom in from general to specific and from the background to your research question; in the Discussion section, you zoom out from the summary of your findings to the research context, as shown in Table 4. Adapted from Swales and Feak and Hess [ 11 , 12 ]. The biggest challenge for many writers is the opening paragraph of the Discussion section.

This is important in those cases where the researcher presents a number of findings or where more than one research question was presented. One of the most frequent mistakes of the novice writer is to assume the importance of his findings. Even if the importance is clear to you, it may not be obvious to your reader.

Digesting the findings and their importance to your reader is as crucial as stating your research question. Another useful strategy is to be proactive in the first move by predicting and commenting on the alternative explanations of the results. Addressing potential doubts will save you from painful comments about the wrong interpretation of your results and will present you as a thoughtful and considerate researcher.

Moreover, the evaluation of the alternative explanations might help you create a logical step to the next move of the discussion section: The goal of the research context move is to show how your findings fit into the general picture of the current research and how you contribute to the existing knowledge on the topic.

This is also the place to discuss any discrepancies and unexpected findings that may otherwise distort the general picture of your paper. Moreover, outlining the scope of your research by showing the limitations, weaknesses, and assumptions is essential and adds modesty to your image as a scientist.

However, make sure that you do not end your paper with the problems that override your findings. Try to suggest feasible explanations and solutions. This should be a general statement reiterating your answer to the research question and adding its scientific implications, practical application, or advice.

Just as in all other sections of your paper, the clear and precise language and concise comprehensive sentences are vital. However, in addition to that, your writing should convey confidence and authority. The easiest way to illustrate your tone is to use the active voice and the first person pronouns. Accompanied by clarity and succinctness, these tools are the best to convince your readers of your point and your ideas.

Now that you have created the first draft, your attitude toward your writing should have improved. Moreover, you should feel more confident that you are able to accomplish your project and submit your paper within a reasonable timeframe.

You also have worked out your writing schedule and followed it precisely. Just as the best and most precious diamond is no more than an unattractive stone recognized only by trained professionals, your ideas and your results may go unnoticed if they are not polished and brushed.

Despite your attempts to present your ideas in a logical and comprehensive way, first drafts are frequently a mess. Use the advice of Paul Silvia: The degree of your success will depend on how you are able to revise and edit your paper. The revision can be done at the macrostructure and the microstructure levels [ 13 ]. The macrostructure revision includes the revision of the organization, content, and flow.

The microstructure level includes individual words, sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The best way to approach the macrostructure revision is through the outline of the ideas in your paper.

The last time you updated your outline was before writing the Introduction and the Discussion. The outline will allow you to see if the ideas of your paper are coherently structured, if your results are logically built, and if the discussion is linked to the research question in the Introduction.

You will be able to see if something is missing in any of the sections or if you need to rearrange your information to make your point. The next step is to revise each of the sections starting from the beginning. Ideally, you should limit yourself to working on small sections of about five pages at a time [ 14 ]. After these short sections, your eyes get used to your writing and your efficiency in spotting problems decreases.

When reading for content and organization, you should control your urge to edit your paper for sentence structure and grammar and focus only on the flow of your ideas and logic of your presentation.

Experienced researchers tend to make almost three times the number of changes to meaning than novice writers [ 15 , 16 ]. Revising is a difficult but useful skill, which academic writers obtain with years of practice. In contrast to the macrostructure revision, which is a linear process and is done usually through a detailed outline and by sections, microstructure revision is a non-linear process.

While the goal of the macrostructure revision is to analyze your ideas and their logic, the goal of the microstructure editing is to scrutinize the form of your ideas: You do not need and are not recommended to follow the order of the paper to perform this type of revision. You can start from the end or from different sections.

You can even revise by reading sentences backward, sentence by sentence and word by word. One of the microstructure revision strategies frequently used during writing center consultations is to read the paper aloud [ 17 ]. You may read aloud to yourself, to a tape recorder, or to a colleague or friend.

When reading and listening to your paper, you are more likely to notice the places where the fluency is disrupted and where you stumble because of a very long and unclear sentence or a wrong connector.

Another revision strategy is to learn your common errors and to do a targeted search for them [ 13 ]. All writers have a set of problems that are specific to them, i.


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The typical research paper is a highly codified rhetorical form [1,2]. Knowledge of the rules—some explicit, others implied—goes a long way toward writing a paper that will get accepted in a peer-reviewed journal. Primacy of the research question. A good research paper addresses a specific research question.

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Writing a research manuscript is an intimidating process for many novice writers in the sciences. One of the stumbling blocks is the beginning of the process and creating the first draft. This paper presents guidelines on how to initiate the writing process and draft each section of a research manuscript.

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2 Compared with writing, research on the teaching of reading, the focus of many of the chapters in this volume, has a much longer and richer history. Scientific research articles provide a method for scientists to communicate with other scientists about the results of their research. A standard format is used for these articles, in which the author presents the research in an orderly, logical manner. This doesn't necessarily reflect the order in.

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Learn how to write a perfect summary for research paper in 5 steps! Read the blog on Essays DeLuxe and improve your writing skills! 5 easy steps to summarize a research article. Writing Good Article Summary. You must learn how to summarize a research article in APA format if this is the requirement. The reason is that research articles must follow as a format to present information about an experiment clearly.5/5.