Is your system, study organism, or site a good representation of a more generalized pattern? Providing a brief outline of your project will allow your Introduction to segue smoothly into your 4 section. The 4 section is arguably the most straightforward section to write; you can even begin writing it while performing your experiments to avoid forgetting any details of your experimental design. In order to make your paper as clear as possible, organize this section into subsections with headers for each procedure you describe e.
We recommend reusing these headers in your Results and Discussion to help orient your readers. The aim of the 4 section is to demonstrate that you used scientifically valid methods and provide the reader with enough information to recreate your experiment. In chronological order, clearly state the procedural steps you took, remembering to include the model numbers and specific settings of all equipment used e. In addition to your experimental procedure, describe any statistical analyses that you performed. If you followed a procedure developed from another paper, cite the source that it came from and provide a general description of the method.
There is no need to reiterate every detail, unless you deviated from the source and changed a step in your procedure. However, it is important to provide enough information that the reader can follow your methods without referring to the original source. As you explain your experiment step by step, you may be tempted to include qualifiers where sources of error occurred e.
However, generally wait until the Discussion to mention these subjective qualifiers and avoid discussing them in the 4 section. The Results section provides a space to present your key findings in a purely objective manner and lay the foundation for the Discussion section, where those data are subjectively interpreted.
Before diving into this section, identify which graphs, tables, and data are absolutely necessary for telling your story. Then, craft a descriptive sentence or two that summarizes each result, referring to corresponding table and figure numbers. Rather than presenting the details all at once, write a short summary about each data set. If you carried out a complicated study, we recommend dividing your results into multiple sections with clear headers following the sequence laid out in the 4 section.
As you relate each finding, be as specific as possible and describe your data biologically rather than through the lens of statistics. While statistical tests give your data credibility by allowing you to attribute observed differences to nonrandom variation, they fail to address the actual meaning of the data. Instead, translate the data into biological terms and refer to statistical results as supplemental information, or even in parenthetical clauses Schimel By focusing on the data and leaving out any interpretation of the results in this section, you will provide the reader with the tools necessary to objectively evaluate your findings.
The Discussion section usually requires the most consideration, as this is where you interpret your results. One potential strategy for writing the Discussion is to begin by explicitly stating the main finding s of your research Cals and Kotz Then, explicitly state how your experiment moved the field forward by filling that knowledge gap. After the opening paragraph of your Discussion, we suggest addressing your question and hypotheses with specific evidence from your results.
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If there are multiple possible interpretations of a result, clearly lay out each competing explanation. Presenting and evaluating alternative explanations of your findings will provide clear opportunities for future research. However, be sure to keep your Discussion concrete by referring to your results to support each given interpretation. Intermingled with these interpretations, reference preexisting literature and report how your results relate to previous findings Casenove and Kirk Ask yourself the following questions: How do my results compare to those of similar studies?
Are they consistent or inconsistent with what other researchers have found? If they are inconsistent, discuss why this might be the case. For example, are you asking a similar question in a different system, organism, or site?
Was there a difference in the methods or experimental design? Any caveats of the study e. The conclusion, generally located in its own short section or the last paragraph of the Discussion, represents your final opportunity to state the significance of your research. Rather than merely restating your main findings, the conclusion should summarize the outcome of your study in a way that incorporates new insights or frames interesting questions that arose as a result of your research.
Broaden your perspective again as you reach the bottom of the hourglass Fig. While it is important to acknowledge the shortcomings or caveats of the research project, generally include these near the beginning of the conclusion or earlier in the Discussion.
End on a strong note. No matter how many boards you stack on top of each other, you still need nails to prevent the pile from falling apart.
The same logic applies to a scientific paper. Little things—such as flow, structure, voice, and word choice—will connect your story, polish your paper, and make it enjoyable to read. First, a paper needs to flow. The reader should easily be able to move from one concept to another, either within a sentence or between paragraphs. To bolster the flow, constantly remind yourself of the overarching story; always connect new questions with resolutions and tie new concepts to previously presented ideas. As a general rule, try to maintain the same subject throughout a section and mix up sentence structure in order to emphasize different concepts.
Keep in mind that words or ideas placed toward the end of a sentence often convey the most importance Schimel The use of active voice with occasional sentences in passive voice will additionally strengthen your writing. Scientific writing is rife with passive voice that weakens otherwise powerful sentences by stripping the subjects of action.
However, when used properly, the passive voice can improve flow by strategically placing a sentence's subject so that it echoes the emphasis of the preceding sentence. If host nestlings are the focus of the paragraph as a whole, it may make more sense to present the passive sentence in this case, even though it is weaker than the active version.
While passive and active voices can complement each other in particular situations, you should typically use the active voice whenever possible. Lastly, word choice is critical for effective storytelling Journal of Young Investigators Rather than peppering your report or manuscript with overly complicated words, use simple words to lay the framework of your study and discuss your findings.
Eliminating any flourish and choosing words that get your point across as clearly as possible will make your work much more enjoyable to read Strunk and White , Schimel Although you have finally finished collecting data and writing your report, you are not done yet! The editing stage is where you put the finishing touches on your work. Start by taking some time away from your paper. Ideally, you began your paper early enough that you can refrain from looking at it for a day or two.follow link
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However, if the deadline looms large, take an hour break at the very least. Come back to your paper and verify that it still expresses what you intended to say. Where are the gaps in your story structure? What has not been explained clearly? Where is the writing awkward, making it difficult to understand your point? Consider reading the paper out loud first, and then print and edit a hard copy to inspect the paper from different angles.
Editing is best done in stages. If your paper deviates from these points, you may need to delete some paragraphs. In contrast, if you forgot to include something, add it in. To check the flow of your paragraphs, verify that a common thread ties each paragraph to the preceding one, and similarly, that each sentence within a paragraph builds on the previous sentence. After editing your own paper, ask someone else to read it. The editing steps described above also apply when editing someone else's paper.
Biology and evolution of life science
Chapter 12 Microbodies. Chapter 13 Eukaryotic cell walls. Chapter 14 Extracellular matrix and connective tissues. Chapter 15 Cell signalling. Chapter 16 Eukaryotic cell cycle mitosis and meiosis. Chapter 17 Cell death. Chapter 18 Viruses. Chapter 9 Golgi apparatus the endosomallysosomal system and vacuoles. The eco-field hypothesis: toward a cognitive landscape. Landscape Ecol.
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From umwelt to soundtope: an epistemological essay on cognitive ecology. Biosemiotics 7, 1— Farnsworth Living is information processing: from molecules to global systems. Acta Biotheor.