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❶For example, in reporting a study of the effect of an experimental diet on the skeletal mass of the rat, consider first giving the data on skeletal mass for the rats fed the control diet and then give the data for the rats fed the experimental diet.

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For example, a graph of the data might show that although the authors took time points every hour, there was no change at all until five hours into the experiment, and then the change was rapid. By interpreting their graph yourself and making this observation, you would be able to repeat the experiment, with differentially spaced time points, to resolve what actually happened during the fifth hour.

And last, but not least, studying the figures will help you understand how to represent your own data in a way that is clear, accurate, and in keeping with the standards in that particular field of science. It is where they draw conclusions about the results. They may choose to put their results in the context of previous findings and offer theories or new hypotheses that explain the sum body of knowledge in the field.

Or the authors may comment on new questions and avenues of exploration that their results give rise to. The purpose of discussion sections in papers is to allow the exchange of ideas between scientists. However, this section is often a good place to get ideas about what kind of research questions are still unanswered in the field and thus, what types of questions you might want your own research project to tackle.

Throughout the article, the authors will refer to information from other papers. These citations are all listed in the references section, sometimes referred to as the bibliography. Both review articles often cited as "reviewed in Regardless of the type of source, there will always be enough information authors, title, journal name, publication date, etc.

This makes the reference section incredibly useful for broadening your own literature search. For example, a scientific dictionary is useful for checking unfamiliar vocabulary, and textbooks are excellent starting places to look up scientific concepts.

Internet searches for tutorials or explanations about a specific method or concept can also be useful. Highlighting important data and making notes directly on a photocopy or printout of the paper can be a good ways to keep track of the information as you move through the paper. Taking notes will help you encapsulate what is important about the paper, and keep you focused on the task.

You may even want to make a diagram or sketch in the margins to remind yourself how an experiment was done. In all cases, start by reading the abstract; read it to make sure the paper is what you were looking for and is worth your time and effort.

If the abstract indicates the paper is of interest to you, move on to the introduction. The first step is to examine each figure and table. Try to analyze and draw your own conclusions from the figures.

But for people just entering the field, discussions are a good place to get a glimpse of what the current competing theories and hypotheses are.

You can find this page online at: You may print and distribute up to copies of this document annually, at no charge, for personal and classroom educational use.

For academic conferences, participants only receive copies of the abstracts in proceedings. When readers search through electronic databases for articles, the abstract is usually the sole part of the paper that they see without cost.

Typically words, a scientific abstract consists of five key parts: Why is it important to note the keywords or phrases that appear in your research paper? While referencing keywords might help with organizing a presentation, there is a more important reason to identify them in your paper.

Still, you will need more than keywords and should write the abstract based on an outline or first draft. In order to do this, you will need more than just keywords. Remember, an abstract is one way for other students and researchers to find your scientific paper. A list of keywords regarding your study, research, and methods will help online databases identify your paper as a good fit.

Read on for another quiz question. In what section might you find the answer to the question "How long did the study last? The results section is just what it sounds like: This section is incredibly important, but you will first need to answer questions like "How long did the study last" before you can explain your results.

The background of your study section will both ask and answer several fundamental questions about the why and how of your research. Still, it is more of an overall approach, rather than a detail-specific section. This is the part of your abstract where you go into more detail about the research itself, like the length of the study, how many people were involved, and where the research was completed.

In the section that outlines the impact of your research, you are moving away from the cold hard facts and toward a more speculative science. This is the section where you consider how your research might move forward and how it can influence other research and lives.

You will find more concrete answers in other sections. It is particularly important to remember your audience when you are rereading and editing your abstract. While other students may end up reading your paper, there is a much more important audience perspective to consider.

When rereading and editing your abstract, try to do so from the perspective of another researcher deciding on whether or not to read your paper. If you find there is inadequate information to entice you, consider strengthening or editing the weak spots. This will help make your paper more enticing! While scientists outside your field of study may be interested in the topic, the responsibility falls on them to understand the topic rather than you to explain it.

There is a more relevant audience group you should keep in mind. Then, follow up with 2 to 3 sentences on how you conducted your study, including its duration and sample size. Next, write 1 to 2 sentences on the results of the study. Finally, conclude with 1 to 2 sentences on the main point and impact of the research. Complete your research paper. Authors usually write their abstracts after they have finished their research papers so that the abstract contains the major points of the article. If you need an abstract for a conference paper proposal before your paper is completely finished, be sure to have a draft or outline form of the paper from which you can create your abstract.

Read your research paper completely. Highlight or underline the important points and copy and paste them into a separate document. After you finish reading your paper, review your underlined material and select sentences that help explain the research topic, research question, methods, results, and conclusion. Retain this material for your abstract. Remember that online databases have keyword search engines for finding abstracts.

Note relevant keywords that will help researchers find your paper. Set these aside for use in your abstract. Part 1 Quiz Why is it important to note the keywords or phrases that appear in your research paper? They will help you to explain your topic more concisely. They will help you explain your paper if it is incomplete.

Keywords will better help you explain topic, research question, methods, results, and conclusion. Keywords make it easier to find your paper. It is appropriate to report, parenthetically, the source vendor and catalog number for reagents used, e. Always make sure to describe any modifications you have made of a standard or published method.

Describe how the data were summarized and analyzed. Here you will indicate what types of descriptive statistics were used and which analyses usually hypothesis tests were employed to answer each of the questions or hypotheses tested and determine statistical siginifcance. Here is some additional advice on particular problems common to new scientific writers.

The Methods section is prone to being wordy or overly detailed. This is a very long and wordy description of a common, simple procedure. It is characterized by single actions per sentence and lots of unnecessary details. The lid was then raised slightly. An inoculating loop was used to transfer culture to the agar surface. The turntable was rotated 90 degrees by hand. The loop was moved lightly back and forth over the agar to spread the culture.

The bacteria were then incubated at 37 C for 24 hr. Same actions, but all the important information is given in a single, concise sentence. Note that superfluous detail and otherwise obvious information has been deleted while important missing information was added. Here the author assumes the reader has basic knowledge of microbiological techniques and has deleted other superfluous information.

The two sentences have been combined because they are related actions. In this example the reader will have no clue as to what the various tubes represent without having to constantly refer back to some previous point in the Methods. Notice how the substitution in red of treatment and control identifiers clarifies the passage both in the context of the paper, and if taken out of context.

The A of the no-light control was measured only at Time 0 and at the end of the experiment. The function of the Results section is to objectively present your key results , without interpretation, in an orderly and logical sequence using both text and illustrative materials Tables and Figures.

The results section always begins with text, reporting the key results and referring to your figures and tables as you proceed. Summaries of the statistical analyses may appear either in the text usually parenthetically or in the relevant Tables or Figures in the legend or as footnotes to the Table or Figure.

Important negative results should be reported, too. Authors usually write the text of the results section based upon the sequence of Tables and Figures. Write the text of the Results section concisely and objectively. The passive voice will likely dominate here, but use the active voice as much as possible. Use the past tense. Avoid repetitive paragraph structures. Do not interpret the data here. The transition into interpretive language can be a slippery slope.

Consider the following two examples: The duration of exposure to running water had a pronounced effect on cumulative seed germination percentages Fig. The results of the germination experiment Fig. Strategy for Writing the Results Section. Frequently asked questions FAQs. What are the "results"? When you pose a testable hypothesis that can be answered experimentally, or ask a question that can be answered by collecting samples, you accumulate observations about those organisms or phenomena.

Those observations are then analyzed to yield an answer to the question. In general, the answer is the " key result". The above statements apply regardless of the complexity of the analysis you employ. So, in an introductory course your analysis may consist of visual inspection of figures and simple calculations of means and standard deviations; in a later course you may be expected to apply and interpret a variety of statistical tests.

You instructor will tell you the level of analysis that is expected. For example, suppose you asked the question, " Is the average height of male students the same as female students in a pool of randomly selected Biology majors?

You would then calculate the descriptive statistics for those samples mean, SD, n, range, etc and plot these numbers. In a course where statistical tests are not employed, you would visually inspect these plots.

Suppose you found that male Biology majors are, on average, Differences, directionality, and magnitude: Report your results so as to provide as much information as possible to the reader about the nature of differences or relationships.

For eaxmple, if you testing for differences among groups, and you find a significant difference, it is not sufficient to simply report that "groups A and B were significantly different". How are they different? How much are they different?

See also below about use of the word " significant. Prepare the Tables and Figures as soon as all the data are analyzed and arrange them in the sequence that best presents your findings in a logical way. A good strategy is to note, on a draft of each Table or Figure, the one or two key results you want to addess in the text portion of the Results. Simple rules to follow related to Tables and Figures: The body of the Results section is a text-based presentation of the key findings which includes references to each of the Tables and Figures.

The text should guide the reader through your results stressing the key results which provide the answers to the question s investigated. A major function of the text is to provide clarifying information. Key results depend on your questions, they might include obvious trends, important differences, similarities, correlations, maximums, minimums, etc. Some problems to avoid: Statistical test summaries test name, p- value are usually reported parenthetically in conjunction with the biological results they support.

Always report your results with parenthetical reference to the statistical conclusion that supports your finding if statistical tests are being used in your course. This parenthetical reference should include the statistical test used and the level of significance test statistic and DF are optional.

For example, if you found that the mean height of male Biology majors was significantly larger than that of female Biology majors, you might report this result in blue and your statistical conclusion shown in red as follows: If the summary statistics are shown in a figure, the sentence above need not report them specifically, but must include a reference to the figure where they may be seen: Note that the report of the key result shown in blue would be identical in a paper written for a course in which statistical testing is not employed - the section shown in red would simply not appear except reference to the figure.

Present the results of your experiment s in a sequence that will logically support or provide evidence against the hypothesis, or answer the question, stated in the Introduction. For example, in reporting a study of the effect of an experimental diet on the skeletal mass of the rat, consider first giving the data on skeletal mass for the rats fed the control diet and then give the data for the rats fed the experimental diet.

Report negative results - they are important! If you did not get the anticipated results, it may mean your hypothesis was incorrect and needs to be reformulated, or perhaps you have stumbled onto something unexpected that warrants further study.

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