The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper
Table of Contents | FAQs | PDF Version |
| Rationale | Sections | Section Headings | Title | Authors and Affiliation | Abstract| Introduction| Methods| Results| Discussion | Acknowledgments| Literature Cited | Appendices
Why a Scientific Format?
The scientific format may seem confusing for the beginningscience writer due to its rigid structure which is so different from writing in the humanities. One reason for using this format is that it is a means of efficiently communicating scientific findings to the broad community of scientists in a uniform manner. Another reason, perhaps more important than the first, is that this format allows the paper to be read at several different levels. For example,many people skim Titles to find out what information is available on a subject. Others may read only titles and Abstracts. Those wanting to go deeper may look at the Tables and Figures in the Results, and so on. The take home point here is that the scientific format helps to insure that at whatever level a person reads your paper (beyond title skimming), they will likely get the key results andconclusions. Top of page
The Sections of the Paper
Most journal-style scientific papers are subdivided into the following sections: Title, Authors and Affiliation, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgments, and Literature Cited, which parallel the experimental process. This is the system we will use. This website describes the style, content, and format associatedwith each section. The sections appear in a journal style paper in the following prescribed order:
Experimental process What did nutshell? I do in a
Section of Paper Abstract Introduction
What is the problem?
How did I solve the Materials and Methods problem? What did I find out? What does it mean? Who helped me out? Results Discussion Acknowledgments (optional)
Whose work did I referLiterature Cited to? Extra Information Appendices (optional)
Main Section heading which section, and underline the Headings: Each main section of the paper begins with a should be capitalized, centered at the beginning of the double spaced from the lines above and below. Do not section heading OR put a colon at the end.
Example of a main section heading: INTRODUCTIONSubheadings: When your paper reports on more than one experiment, use subheadings to help organize the presentation. Subheadings should be capitalized (first letter in each word), left justified, and either bold italics OR underlined. Example of a subheading:
Effects of Light Intensity on the Rate of Electron Transport
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Title, Authors' Names, and Institutional Affiliations
1.Function: Your paper should begin with a Title that succinctly describes the contents of the paper. Use descriptive words that you would associate strongly with the content of your paper: the molecule studied, the organism used or studied, the treatment, the location of a field site, the response measured, etc. A majority of readers will find your paper via electronic database searches and thosesearch engines key on words found in the title. 2. Title FAQs 3. Format:
The title should be centered at the top of page 1 (DO NOT use a title page - it is a waste of paper for our purposes); the title is NOT underlined or italicized. the authors' names (PI or primary author first) and institutional affiliation are double-spaced from and centered below the title. When more then two authors,the names are separated by commas except for the last which is separated from the previous name by the word "and".
Ducks Over-Winter in Colorado Increased Daily Mean Temperature
Ima Mallard, Ura Drake, and Woodruff Department of Wildlife Biology, University of Colorado - Boulder Top of page
The title is not a...
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