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161app2_scipaper - Appendix II How to Write a Scientific...

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A2-1 Appendix II How to Write a Scientific Paper A good scientist also must be a good writer. All the brilliant research of a lifetime is of little use if the investigator cannot effectively communicate new findings to his or her colleagues. Go to the university's library and peruse some of the many scientific journals available there. Journals such as Science, Copeia, Biotropica and Ecology offer good examples of formats commonly used for scientific papers, though required format varies from journal to journal. When you publish your own work, it is necessary to check the specific requirements of the journal to which you are submitting, to be sure that your paper is not rejected simply because it is in the incorrect format. Most scientific publications consist of a descriptive title , abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion and literature cited. You will be using this format when you write a report on two of the experiments conducted this semester. This outline instructs you how to write each of the six components of a scientific paper. Label each component as shown below. title The title of your paper will be read by the most readers, and it is the title that often will determine whether the rest of your paper will be read. It should describe specifically the contents of your paper. Generally, the name of the organism being studied is also included. Under the title, list your name, the date and your institutional affiliation (In case you don't know. . . it's the University of Miami.) abstract The purpose of the abstract is to allow a reader to determine, with a very quick scan, the topic of your paper, your experimental methods, and your conclusions. Although the abstract appears first , it is written last . In one double-spaced paragraph, offset from the rest of the paper, give a skeletal outline of your purpose (one sentence), methods, (one to two sentences), results (one to four sentences) and conclusions (one to two sentences). Do not cite literature references in the abstract. The abstract is NOT merely an introductory statement. If you were actually to publish your paper, its abstract would appear in Biological Abstracts, a massive series of books containing nothing but the abstracts of scientific papers written in a given year. (The series is available for your perusal in the reference area of the library.) An investigator searching for information on a particular subject can look up and read abstracts--rather than an entire paper--to determine whether a particular paper is relevant to his/her own work. If it is, s/he can then obtain the actual journal and the complete publication for a more detailed account. introduction This section can be written even before you begin your experiment. I n one to several paragraphs, give specific background information on your project. Include a statement of purpose, the ideas that led to your experiment and what you are trying to demonstrate. When making a statement that is not common knowledge, you must
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A2-2 cite the source of your information
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