To write a successful research paper, you should provide thorough information and tie it together into a conclusive story. While obtaining conclusive information tends to be rather difficult in itself, writing a convincing manuscript appears to be an even bigger hurdle. So what is the problem?
It seems that many authors don’t realize that a good research manuscript requires more than consistent and complete data. The central challenge of everything you ever write is to capture the reader’s interest and convincingly tell your story. In other words, you must understand your audience, what they expect, what they already know or where you need to fill them in. When writing a research manuscript, however, you must also follow a standard structure and apply the principles of scientific writing.
The following sites explain how to write a research paper. They reveal the rules of scientific writing, give practical examples, and guide you through the entire process of preparing a successful research manuscript. Best of luck!
This wikiHow page summarizes the single steps of how to write a research paper in a broad overview.
Your greatest obstacle may be that you’re feeling overwhelmed, which may result in never getting started. What you need to do is break up the project in small, managable steps. For a research paper that would be to decide on a topic, do your research, scan the material, formulate your thesis statement, write the paper, and finally format and proofread the manuscript.
All of these steps are equally important and difficult. The overview given at wikiHow is very general. Depending on what type of research paper you’re going to write, you may need more details and help. Pick your category below.
This is a guide for high school and college students. It provides details, outside links, and a lot of background information for each step of writing a thesis.
In case you weren’t assigned a topic, you will find the chapter on Discovering and Choosing a Topic very helpful. The articles on Info Search, e.g. Learning to Research on the Web or Skills for Online Searching will aid you in finding information.
For students, this information should be sufficient. However, some of the advanced links, for example the Guidelines on Style, could answer further questions.
With all of its additional article, for example on citing sources, the above site is packed with information. If you can’t be bothered with reading that much, try the following reference site.
Infoplease Homework Center: How to Write a Research Paper
The article at Infoplease divides the process of writing a research paper into nine single steps. Each chapter contains further steps with straightforward instructions and clear examples. A wiki style menu makes it easy to jump back and forth between chapters.
In respect to formatting their work, students are relatively free. There may be guidelines, but they are hardly as specific or strict as those of professional journals or publishers.
Working in academia, it’s necessary to regularly report about new findings, i.e. publish results. To be published, the manuscript must be submitted to a journal, be approved by the editor, pass through a peer-review process, eventually also through a revision, and finally be accepted by the editor. This process can be accelerated by submitting a well written manuscript. To be admitted into the review process it may even be more important to adhere exactly to the journal’s instructions to authors, which cover details about formatting, length of manuscript, accepted image files etc.
Bates College has published an incredibly thorough guide to writing scientific papers. The first chapter deals with scientific writing, followed by a chapter on how to go about writing the actual paper. Most useful, however, are the “How Do I Write the…” and “How Do I…” sections, that explain the different elements and conventions of a scientific paper.
The information compiled in this guide is comprehensive, but to the point. It’s not just full of advice and examples, but also provides handy lists, for example units and conversions for the metric system.
Many pages of the guide are available in PDF format. Look for the respective link at the top of each chapter page.
Will G Hopkins wrote this article that goes into detail on scientific writing, addressing points such as punctuation, abbreviations and acronyms, use of words, and grammar.
Finally, Wikipedia has an article on scientific writing. While it contains a long list with examples and advice, it may be difficult to scan.
Scientific Writing Booklet
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arizona offers a free booklet as PDF download. You can download it here: Scientific Writing Booklet
This booklet is a pleasure to read and provides tons of lists and examples that are easy to understand and implement.
Wikipedia also has an article on Scientific writing, however, despite a wealth of information, it’s comparably difficult to scan.
The theoretic advice in these guides is invaluable. But how do you motivate yourself to actually sit down and start writing? What is your secret?
Image credits: Nic’s events