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How to Write a Scientific Paper

Updated on February 5, 2014

Scientific papers, whether written for the college classroom or to be published, are written with a different outline than literary or technical papers. There are 5 main topics that are listed in every scientific paper: Abstract, Introduction, Summary, Discussion, and Conclusion. These main topics can consist of one to several paragraphs, depending on the research conducted and the experimental findings. Furthermore, any opinion on part of the writer should be saved until the discussion or conclusion section. The overall goal of a scientific paper is relay unbiased opinions while displaying alternatives to the writer's view.


A short, concise summary of all significant research and experiment findings are highlighted in the abstract, along with the overall conclusions of the paper. An abstract is designed as a shorted version of the paper for readers who do not have time to read the whole paper.


The introduction introduces the paper's topic. It also discusses previous research conducted on part of the writer or others and any hypothesis the writer may have about their research or experiment. The hypothesis can be an opinion or an educated guess about the possible outcome of an experiment.


A summary of research conducted or experiment procedures are described in the summary. There is no discussion of research or experiment findings. The summary section is purely used to describe what books were used to research the paper topic and describe the steps taken during an experiment, if applicable.


The discussion section takes the research findings or experiment results and discusses possible reasons for the results. This is where the writer's opinion can be shown with evidence or lack of evidence from the research or experiment conducted. The discussion section is also the section where the works of other authors can be used to support or deny the original hypothesis or topic of the paper.


The conclusions section outlines why the topic was initially researched or experimented or whether or not the hypothesis was right or wrong. This is also where the author may suggest further study of the topic.

Scientific papers can be long or short and their content is usually quite considerable. It is important to know how to write a scientific paper because an unbias opinion on the author's part is crucial for scientific ideas to grow.

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