A scientific paper has a clear structure, and this is very helpful when you come to write your paper. The stages in the paper and their sequence have developed in this way to accurately re-tell or recount a scientific activity and to interpret the results of this activity. In this way scientific knowledge is developed out of scientific experimentation.

In most cases your lecturer or tutor will recommend that you plan and write your scientific paper according to the style of a leading journal in your field. Academic journals provide instructions for authors on organisation, format, and conventions for notation, terminology and referencing. See for example: Journal of Bacteriology, and Microbiology.

As most of your references will be from papers published in academic journals, they can also serve as examples of structure, style and conventions. To develop your awareness of the features of scientific papers, you should spend some time studying how papers are written in these journals.

Since the introduction and discussion (and conclusion) are generally the most difficult parts of your paper to write, many students leave these stages until after they have written the methods and the results. An abstract or summary is usually the last part that you write. Some researchers recommend writing the results first, followed by the discussion, conclusions, introduction and summary. Another approach involves writing the introduction first, then rewriting it before writing the summary.

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Jacquie explains how she structured her report (19s):

Jacquie gives advice to students writing similar reports (19s):

Mathew describes what he looked for in model texts to help with his writing (28s):

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