Writing Your First Research Paper

One of the primary goals for this course is for the development of your technical writing skills. To become an accomplished writer for technical writing, you will be preparing many research papers. The research papers will be comprised of the studies that will be completed in the lab. The research papers that you will need to write for this course will not be the lab reports that you may already be used to writing. Teaching lab reports can vary. Many of the reports that you may have done in the past could have only consisted of answers. However, such writing is only for amateurs and would not be a good way to start writing if you want to progress in your writing career.
The two most universal qualities are oral and written communication skills. These two qualities are sought not only sought after graduate and profession schools. They are also sought for by employers. The only one that is responsible for developing your skills to a high level is you.
Provided Resources Necessary for Learning Proper Technical Writing
When you are getting ready to start your first writing assignment for this class, please use all of the resources to make sure that you get the full benefit of this class:
• The provided form for a research article
• The guidelines for the assignment provided by the instructor-make sure to look over the instructor notes on each study
• The companion handbook that is required for the course.
• The writing portfolio examples that are provided by your instructor.
When you are done with the writing of your paper and you have begun the final editing stages, you might want to look over:
• Your instructor’s feedback on the assignments that you have done before
• Popular mistakes that are found in student research papers
• The selected writing rules for the assignment
Every student that is a Bioscience major will have the ability to few the general guidelines that will apply to future course work. These guidelines can be examined by looking at the research paper for the advanced experimental sciences.
A Research Paper’s General Form
The entire point of writing a research paper is to let the people that you want to read your work have access to it. When researching a topic, you may be looking just for the methods behind the topic, a specific result, an interpretation, although there are times where you might to just see the summary of the paper to help you determine if it will help your study. This is one major consideration why popular journals require specific sections that will be submitted along with the table of contents. Each new section must also start with a new page to make your journal easy to read and understand. In some instances, the journal will call for the results and discussion of the paper to be combined. Others may ask you to include the materials and methods to be after the body of your paper. A good example to follow is the format and style required by the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
General Style for the Paper
There are requirements for you to submit your paper that will be demanded by an editor. They will always go by these general guidelines:
Making the paper legible:
• Always use 12 point font that is standard. This would include such font as Times New Roman, Arial or Bookman and other similar fonts.
• There must be at least an inch margin from the boarder and printed on one side. And must be double-spaced on the standard 8 ½” by 11” paper.
Never:
• Place heading in the bottom of the page with a page following after
• Divide either the figure illustrated or the table used in two pages
• Out of order pages
In every section include:
• Normal speech with articles
• Maintain your focus on the topic
• The use of paragraphs, separating individual points minus the abstract
• Make sure to have the first line indented
• All the points follow each other in a way that makes sense
• Present tense only when reporting facts that are well accepted
• Do not use informal writing
• Do not use pictures that do not need to be in there.
Title Page
The title page should have an informative title that illustrates your paper. Make sure that the names and addresses of the authors that were a part of the writing process are on there. Make sure to add the date submitted as well.
Abstract
The summary that needs to be two hundred words or less. There are examples that have been provided in the writing portfolio.
General Intent for the Abstract
The abstract is a single paragraph that will give the reader a complete understanding of the paper. The goal is to have the reader know the rationale for the study, the approach to the problem, the important results, and the most important parts of the conclusion of your paper.
When You Are Writing Your Abstract
It is always best to end with the beginning. This will help since many students will get frustrated because they have not written their paper yet. Use as few words as possible but, make sure that you have complete sentences. You might find it easier to have more than one purpose for each sentence. The sentence could provide the question, methods, and all of the other information that you choose. The important pare is the summary. The summary should have no more than two items to one sentence.
• The purpose to your study. This could include the hypothesis, the overall question, and the objective.
• The model creature or the system of your choice. This can entail a brief overview of the actual experiment.
• The results of your study. This has to have the specific data which will require you to state the data that is either quantitative in nature or the statistical analysis.
Style for the Abstract
• Should be only 1 paragraph
• The abstract must be written as the summary of the work completed and must be in the past tense.
• The abstract should be one that can be separated from the entire paper but still give the reader the necessary information in order to understand what the whole paper is all about, without any reference to any other part of the paper.
• You should stay consistent with what is in the paper
• Make sure that you have perfect grammar and spelling in the abstract.
Introduction
The introduction should be one page long. There will be examples of a proper introduction in the package you will be using for reference.
Your General Intent for the Introduction
The purpose of the introduction is to give the reader the ability to absorb the reason that you did this study. You should have every intention of defending your reason for this. You should make sure that you have the following to have a successful introduction
• You need to describe why your study is important in a broad manner
• You need to explain why you decided to use the subject from practical and theoretical points of view.
• Make sure to have your objectives and why you came to those theories.
• Then describe you experiment and your findings briefly.
The Style of the Introduction
• With regard to the facts that have been well established, it must always be in the past tense.
• Your ideas should always be organized with one main point per paragraph.
• Only give the reader background information when it is absolutely necessary.
• Do not oversimplify the objective.
• Grammar, spelling, and making sure that it makes sense should always be checked.
Stating Your Materials and Methods
The main focus of this of this section is to be as short and concise as you can. While there is not a set page limit, you are more likely going to have more success if you do not needlessly draw this out. It is up to you whether or not you use separate subheadings for your materials and your methods.
The General Intent of the Methods and Materials Section
This section is probably the easiest to write, so make sure that your objective is to list out all of the special materials and your general procedures. This will enable others to use these to judge how good your work is. Bear in mind that you are not writing a book, so you do not need step by step analysis of the entire process. All the needed information to complete your written work must already be in your notebook.
How to Write the Methods and Materials Section
Materials:
• Describe the materials separately if the study is very complicated that it necessitates such separate description.
• Make sure that all of the chemicals, equipment, supplies, or biological material that is not normally found in the lab is listed.
• Do not include the commonly found supplies in your paper. This includes test tubes, beakers, centrifuges, etc.
• If your success depends on a specific culture, enzyme or equipment, you must specifically identify such item.
• Your materials must be written in paragraphs, separate from your methods.
• If using a solution, state the name and make sure to fully describe them. This includes the reagents, the pH of the solution, and the solvent depending on what you have chosen to use.
• Methods:
• Look at the examples that your instructor provided.
• Report your methods but not the details of the procedures that had the same methods.
• Describe your methodology completely. Make sure to include temperatures, incubation times, and other specifics.
• Make sure to generalize how the procedures were don. Do not report how they were done on day in particular. Keep in mind what your reader needs to know to perform the exact same experiment.
• If you used a procedure that was well documented, please include the name with the reference. Make sure what you used as a standard is placed in there as well.
Style:
• More often, it is impossible to separate the first person out of your vocabulary. In this situations, use the passive voice from of the third person, when you are writing your methods. This will keep the reader focused on the work instead of the worker.
• Always use formal formatting in the entire paper. Keep away from incomplete sentences and informal lists.
Avoid
• Making your materials and methods into instructions.
• Never place information that explains the experiment in this section.
• No third party or irrelevant information should be placed here.
What You Need for Your Results Page
This section is only limited by the types of data and the amount of data that needs to be place in your paper. You should only put relevant information to make sure that your results are presented completely. Below are some recommendations.
The Intent
This section written to enable you to present the results of your study. Make sure that you stay objective in this part. All of the interpretation should be in the discussion section.
Writing Your Results Section
You need to make sure that all of your raw data and other material are not placed here. Include in this section only the materials that would most likely be published in the journal. You will include those materials in this section only if your instructor requests you to do so.
Content for Results Section
• Should be summarized in both text, and if appropriate visual aids, consisting only of a figure or a table.
• When writing, make sure that you point the reader to the most relevant observations, describing therein your results in the best way possible.
• You need to make sure that you provide a context in this section. This can be done by describing a specific question that was solved by an observation.
• You should include all observations you made that are not included in a formal figure or table. Make sure that the results of your experiments are properly described.
• Make sure to analyze all of your data, placing it in a table, text, or a figure.
Avoid
• Discussing or interpreting your results or any other information.
• Do not include any raw data that you have.
• Do not include or write the same data many times in your paper.
• The text should not be copied from the tables or figures that were used.
• Figures and Tables are two separate things. Please do not get confused.
Style
• Everything must logically ordered and must always be in the past tense.
• When referring to figures individually, assign each one a number.
• At the end of your report, all figures or tables that you used must be placed in chronological order. Make sure that they are properly separated from raw data and other appendix information.
• The figures and table you used may be included within the body of the section in which they are referenced.

Illustrated Figures and Tables Used
• Usually, figures or tables are included at the back of the report, behind the section where Cited Literature is written, although it can also be placed with the text.
• If they are place at the back, they should be clearly separated from the report and from the other materials attached.
• Figures should be numbered in a consecutive manner and must contain a caption underneath them.
• Tables should have a heading and must have consecutive numbers above them.
• The table or figure used must be able to stand on its own, without being referenced to the paper.
The Discussion Section
Normally, the discussion determines how the journal’s guidelines would vary. Usually, it asks for the author to restrict sections to a maximum of four pages only, just like with the Journal of Biological Chemistry. These pages should also be written in double space and typed in harmony with the rest of writings in the paper. If you are still learning the process of writing a paper, you may use a maximum of five typewritten pages. You must allow for more room to be able to say what is needed.
Intent for the Discussion
The interpretation of the results must be indicated in the paper, stating therein the facts that support your interpretation of the information that you gathered during the experiment. You must also clearly indicate the significance of your findings.
Writing Your Discussion
Your interpretation of the data must also be appropriately and deeply discussed in this section. When you explain the phenomenon that you observed, you must all of the mechanisms that may have caused the phenomenon. If you had your results that something that was different from what you were expecting at the beginning that should also be properly explained. When the results agree with your expectation, describe your theory alongside the evidence that you collected. You should never state the data that agrees with your expectations without mentioning the other data.
• Make sure that you decided that each hypothesis is either supported or entirely rejected or if there is not enough information to be certain of the outcome. Do not just dismiss without a mention because it is inconclusive.
• Make sure that your work is complete. Make sure that your conclusions are based on the outcome of your experiments.
• Suggest directions on how such can me modified in the future to accomplish another goal.
• Make sure to properly explain all of your observations.
• Decide if the design of the experiment addressed the hypothesis adequately. If the experiment was properly controlled, such fact must also be indicated.
• Make sure to offer reasonable alternatives if they exist.
• Make sure to explain where you will go next or what else needs to be solved. Doing this one study is not going to solve all of your questions.
• In order to help state your case, you must provide specific recommendations from other papers written.
Style:
• Make sure that you distinguish the data that is generated from your studies than ones from other sources.
• When referring to work that has been done, make sure that you refer to all of the individuals in past tense.
• Must be written in the present tense and must refer to generally accepted facts.
One of the biggest mistakes that many students make in this section is to make interpretations that re-state the results in a more or less manner. Make sure to always suggest reasons why the results were seen behind the observations by focusing on the mechanisms used.
Literature Cited
Make sure that in this introductory laboratory course will not require for additional documentation of sources. One of the main reasons is the majority of your information will be taken from websites. Websites are inappropriate as a primary source of information. The other reason is that it is difficult to have a hundred students that have the exact same access to all of the same reference materials. You can find outside sources and please cite any of the articles that are used.
Make sure that you list your sources in alphabetical order by first author. In a typical research paper, only the original research articles authored by the original investigators are used. It is important to remain cautious about websites since there is no way to validate the source’s information. If you happen to cite an online journal, please use the same citation as one in the library. If none were used, please state that none were referenced.