THE ESSENTIALS OF WRITING AND PRESENTATION OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH PAPERS
The vital feature of scientific research writing is clarity. It is the job of the writer to convey the information in such a way that the reader will understand the information without being burdened with so much detail and unnecessary language. Science is data based, therefore scientific writing deals with the expression of data, its interpretations as well as the knowledge you intend to pass across. According to Quintilian (100 AD), clear writing is writing that is incapable of being misunderstood.
STRUCTURE OF A SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH PAPER
Most scientific papers follow the IMRaD format (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion), though not all scientific research papers follow this format, for instance, case studies, review articles, and critical thinking papers will use a different set of formats depending on the type of information being communicated. We shall focus on the IMRaD format which is majorly used for scientific papers.
The right structure to use in an introduction format is the funnel structure. Just like a funnel, at the beginning of your introduction, you will start with a statement that places your research and message in a broader context after which you then work towards your question. Accordingly, you naturally start with what is known followed by what the unknown and finally, the topic of your research. Finally, you should end the introduction with the question or the methods used to answer those question. It is of utmost importance that your question flows naturally from the material that is presented in the introduction. Inconsistencies will get the reader confused. It is also important to state the question clearly since the rest of the paper depends on it.
This section presents the details of how the study was conducted. It helps the reader to understand what was actually done and whether the appropriate approach was used to answer the question. It should also be clear enough that others could replicate your methods if needed. The three major components that need to be clear in the methods include;
- The independent variable (the variable which was manipulated)
- The dependent variable (the variable you measured)
- All controls applied to eliminate other possible causes for your results.
It is also expected that the researcher includes headings for each of the subsections. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the following information should be provided in the following order: Subject sample/participants, Materials/Apparatus and Procedures.
This section presents a summary of all the data collected as well as the statistical procedures that were used in the analyses. The data report needs to contain sufficient detail so as to justify the conclusions presented in the discussion. The structure of this section should start with some basic description of the important variables used in the study. This means that means and standard deviations for the independent, dependent, as well as control variables, should be provided. These can also be presented in a Table or Figure, but if a few data points are few, you may simply include them in the text. While presenting the main results of the study, it is important, to begin with, the most important finding which should be found in the first sentence or paragraph while the least important result is located at the final paragraph.
There is no standard prescribed structure for this section but there are some general guidelines that can be followed. Firstly, it is important to state the answer to the research question at the beginning of this section. This is usually the most important finding of the study and placing it in this prominent position draws the attention of the reader. Secondly, after providing the answer to the research question at the beginning of this section, it is also necessary to provide supporting evidence for the answer. After presenting these important points, you the remaining paragraphs of this section can be organized according to the logic of the study from the most important to the least important finding. Finally, after reviewing all the necessary information, you need to provide a conclusion to the story. A summary paragraph could be used at the end of the discussion that allows the writer to repeat the answer of the study.
PRESENTATION OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH PAPER
Presentations are an important part of sharing your work and attaining recognition in the larger scientific community. The ability to effectively deliver quality presentations can boost career success. However, rather than engaging audiences and conveying enthusiasm, many presentations are characterized by pitfalls. Such pitfalls include monotonous delivery, overly complicated content and concentrating on the information you want to pass across rather than what the audience is interested in.
Effective presentations have a positive and favourable impact on a wide range of audiences ranging from those in a specific field of interest or in related fields, the media, potential funders as well as others who might find your work interesting or useful.
The two major aspects to a scientific presentation are the content and the method of presentation. It is important to note that no matter how great the content of a presentation is, it will be a waste if the audience stops paying attention. Below we shall highlight indicators that will help you formulate clear and concise content for scientific presentations as well as how to deliver your message in a dynamic manner.