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Tutorial 8

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Esteban Parra

An Introduction to Writing Scientific Papers Types of Scientific Papers - Review articles o A paper that will review a topic; one particular academic area o A review paper does a systematic review of a literature, where you look up all the work that has been done o When you look at studies, there will sometimes be positive or negative results o It looks at the big picture, even more data to try and get at what might be happening in a particular area - Research articles o Looks at one particular study o It can be something in the lab, or population study, it is looking at the results of one study - Letters/communications o It can be more general, where it can talk about a more relevant policy area (for example) o These are typically shorter General Organization - A typical scientific paper will include the following sections: o Abstract o Introduction o Materials and methods o Results o Discussion o Literature cited Abstract - A short (approx. 250 words) summary that precedes the paper - Should contain information about: o What question were you trying to answer? o How was the research performed? o What results were obtained? o What is the significance of the results? Introduction - Used to provide some background on the research question - Makes reference to the results and conclusions of previous studies - Explains why the topic in question is of scientific interest - States the hypothesis being investigated Materials and Methods - Used to explain how the experiment was performed o What equipment was used? o What procedures were used? o What was the sample? - Should be detailed enough that the experiment can be replicated, but assume that your readers already know how to perform the experiments Example: - “We poured N-free fertilizer solution into a graduated cylinder until the bottom of the meniscus was at the 30 ml line. We poured the fertilizer onto t he top of the soil in a pot and then repeated this procedure 24 times” o This is too detailed Results - Describes the results of the study - Results can be presented using text, tables, charts and/or figures - Should not include an interpretation or discussion of the meaning of the results - Must be concise and objective Discussion - This is where you can begin to interpret the results of the study o Do the results support the hypothesis? o What do the results mean relative to other published results - Should relate back to the introduction - Addresses any problems/ anomalies with the results/ experiment o Talk about limitations - Looks at new directions that the research can take o What does this research tell us? o What are our next steps? Maybe we should scale up? (I.e. make it larger) Works Cited - All scientific papers include a works cited page - Only cite the references that were mentioned in the paper – this is not a general bibliography to the topic - Each journal has their own criteria for the format of the “Works Cited” section o (I.e., style, citing of websites, ordering) Publishing an Article Selecting a Journal - Relevance of research - Audience - Impact factor Impact Factors - Abbreviated as IF
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