2 Foundations to Scientific Writing

Foundations to Scientific Writing

Each paper, whether a proposal or final, has 4 main elements. In the Process of Science Series, we’ll refer to these as the Big Four elements: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. These Big Four elements are what to always look for when reading scientific literature and in outlining your own writing.

The Big Four Elements

The introduction encompasses components of the paper such as background information, biological rationale, and hypotheses. The methods section of scientific writing details the specifics of the experiment such as assays, procedures, and study species husbandry. The results section in scientific papers includes graphs and tables of data, as well as statistical analyses of the data. The discussion section looks into the trends and results. This ties in the hypothesis and biological rationale. Other items in a discussion section include evaluating the confidence in the study, future studies, unexpected observations, and a conclusion statement.

Final Paper vs Proposal Paper

The Big Four elements differ slightly between Final Papers and Research Proposal Papers. The image below details some of the differences.

Keep in mind this image is not a rubric and just is comparing and contrasting Final vs Proposal Papers. Please refer to the rubrics of each paper kind for more in-depth information on what to include in those sections.



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Process of Science Companion: Science Communication by University of Wisconsin-Madison Biology Core Curriculum (Biocore) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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