Writing the Scientific Paper
Achieving the Scientific Voice
Eight tips will help you match your style for most scientific publications.
- Develop a precise vocabulary: read the literature to become fluent, or at least familiar with, the sort of language that is standard to describe what you're trying to describe.
Be as precise as possible: limit language.
- Once you've labeled an activity, a condition, or a period of time, use that label consistently throughout the paper. Consistency is more important than creativity.
- Define your terms and your assumptions.
Be honest about the limitations of your knowledge or your research: give the reader enough information to come to the same conclusions that you did (or to come to different conclusions)
- Include all the information the reader needs to interpret your data.
- Remember, the key to all scientific discourse is that it be reproducible. Have you presented enough information clearly enough that the reader could reproduce your experiment, your research, or your investigation?
- When describing an activity, break it down into elements that can be described and labeled, and then present them in the order they occurred.
- When you use numbers, use them effectively. Don't present them so that they cause more work for the reader.
- Include details before conclusions, but only include those details you have been able to observe by the methods you have described. Do not include your feelings, attitudes, impressions, or opinions.
- Research your format and citations: do these match what have been used in current relevant journals?
- Run a spellcheck and proofread carefully. Read your paper out loud, and/ or have a friend look over it for misspelled words, missing words, etc.