How to write an Introduction for your paper

The introduction starts with a broad basis and then narrows down to your particular field of study, explaining the rationale behind each step. Think of it as an inverted pyramid, where you start with a wide overview but move towards the thesis statement or hypothesis, which should be the final element of the introduction. In the introduction, you are attempting to inform the reader about the rationale behind the work, justifying why your work is an essential component of research in the field. The introduction does not have a strict word limit, unlike the abstract, but it should be as concise as possible. It can be a tricky part of the paper to write, so many scientists and researchers prefer to write it last, ensuring that they miss no major points. For a longer research paper, where you use an outline, it can be useful to structure your introduction around the outline. Here are a few outline examples.

  • The introduction gives an overall review of the paper, but does address a few slightly different issues from the abstract.
  • It works upon the principle of introducing the topic of the paper and setting it into a broad context, gradually narrowing down to a research problem, thesis and hypothesis. A good introduction explains how you mean to solve the research problem, and creates ‘leads’ to make the reader want to delve further into your work.
  • You should assume that your paper is aimed at someone with a good working knowledge of your particular field. For example, a paper about evolutionary adaptations need not go into too much detail about Darwin – it is fairly common knowledge. A behavioral science paper only needs to mention Pavlov and Skinner in passing, as their theories are standard for any first year undergraduate.
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How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper

The methods section of a research paper provides the information by which a study’s validity is judged. Therefore, it requires a clear and precise description of how an experiment was done, and the rationale for why specific experimental procedures were chosen. The methods section should describe what was done to answer the research question, describe how it was done, justify the experimental design, and explain how the results were analyzed. Scientific writing is direct and orderly. Therefore, the methods section structure should: describe the materials used in the study, explain how the materials were prepared for the study, describe the research protocol, explain how measurements were made and what calculations were performed, and state which statistical tests were done to analyze the data. Once all elements of the methods section are written, subsequent drafts should focus on how to present those elements as clearly and logically as possibly. The description of preparations, measurements, and the protocol should be organized chronologically. For clarity, when a large amount of detail must be presented, information should be presented in sub-sections according to topic. Material in each section should be organized topic wise, from most to least important.

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Ten Tips for writing a Stress-Free Thesis

Writing a thesis is easier said than done, of course, and you have plenty of work ahead. But like any big undertaking, writing a thesis is easier if you break it down into smaller steps.

  1. Don’t save data analysis to the very last minute. Plan ahead.
  2. Confirm your table of contents with your supervisor.
  3. Write an outline, and stick to it as you write.
  4. Don’t reinvent the wheel: Transform your published articles into thesis chapters.
  5. Create deadlines for yourself and stick to them.
  6. Find a quiet place to write where you will be free from distractions. The lab is usually not a good place to write a thesis. Work from home or in a quiet place like the library.
  7. Assign yourself a number of pages to write each day and stop when you are done. This will prevent you from spending 24 hours a day at the computer, agonizing over your progress. When you’ve written your assigned four or five pages, then you’re finished for the day. Turn off the computer and do something else.
  8. Take plenty of breaks, and be sure to spend time with friends and family.
  9. Get some exercise, eat well, and take care of your health.
  10. Don’t work in utter solitude. This is not the time to turn into a hermit. If other Ph.D. students in your lab or department are writing their theses at the same time, consider creating an informal support group in which you can share the stresses of writing a thesis and have people at hand who are willing to review certain sections or even the entire manuscript.
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Editing and proofreading your research paper: Steps to be followed

A good research needs to be accompanied by excellent and effective writing. An effective writing must be free of errors and spelling mistakes and should be structured in an appropriate manner. Therefore, editing and proofreading are very significant processes in research. The research cannot be considered to be completed unless proper editing and proofreading of the research paper are carried out.

  1. A researcher must ensure that there is no ambiguity in the research and must make sure that the documented work is complete and concise. Irrelevant and lengthy sentences must be avoided.
  2. The researcher must ensure that his writing is reliable and steady. In order to maintain consistency, he should not diverge from the accepted style.
  3. The researcher must ensure that sentences are not in a clutter and see to it that his point is conveyed in a proper manner. Clarity is very must important in order to bring out effective and rational results.
  4. The Summary, Introduction, Methodology, Discussion, Conclusion should have appropriate structure, which is very crucial in editing and proofreading.
  5. Apart from ensuring that the research work is free of flaws and mistakes, the research also needs to make it sure that the content is logical and relevant to the research.

Students and researchers always make the mistake of doing editing and proofreading at the last minute before the submission of the research. If they are unable to proceed with the work due to time constraint, they seek out an editor in a hasty manner. There is nothing wrong in seeking an editor but seeking a professional editor is always better.

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Preparing a Topic Outline

As you consider the purpose and scope of your composition, and assemble information and ideas, it is a good idea to spread keywords, phrases, and sentences over a sheet of paper or over the whole of a computer screen. No matter whatever you are writing, headings will help you to organize your work. So they should necessarily be included in your topic headline. Use your main points as headings, and note supporting details and examples below each heading. Then number the headings as you decide:

  • the purpose and scope of your composition,
  • how the subject is to be introduced?
  • what is the topic for each of the other paragraphs?
  • what information and ideas must be included in each paragraph?
  • are any tables or diagrams needed? If so, where should they be placed?
  • what can be left out?
  • what part needs most emphasis?
  • how can the paragraphs be arranged in an effective sequence?
  • how should the composition be concluded?
  • would sub-headings help the reader?

 

In scientific and technical writing appropriate headings must be used. These headings should be used in preparing a topic outline, to ensure that all paragraphs are relevant to the preceding heading as well as to the composition as a whole.

After collecting all the required information, if there is still time left then it is a good idea to put your topic outline on one side for a while. Some of your second thoughts may be better than your first thoughts, and you may save time in the end because – even when using a word processor – it is easier to revise a topic outline than to reorganize and rewrite a poorly organized first draft.

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