Again, look at the journal's Guide for Authors, but an ideal length for a manuscript is 25 to 40 pages, double spaced, including essential data only. Here are some general guidelines:. Reviewers will criticize incomplete or incorrect methods descriptions and may recommend rejection, because this section is critical in the process of reproducing your investigation. In this way, all chemicals must be identified. Do not use proprietary, unidentifiable compounds.
Present proper control experiments and statistics used, again to make the experiment of investigation repeatable. List the methods in the same order they will appear in the Results section, in the logical order in which you did the research:. In this section, avoid adding comments, results, and discussion, which is a common error. This section responds to the question "What have you found? The results should be essential for discussion. However, remember that most journals offer the possibility of adding Supporting Materials, so use them freely for data of secondary importance.
In this way, do not attempt to "hide" data in the hope of saving it for a later paper. You may lose evidence to reinforce your conclusion. If data are too abundant, you can use those supplementary materials. Use sub-headings to keep results of the same type together, which is easier to review and read. Number these sub-sections for the convenience of internal cross-referencing, but always taking into account the publisher's Guide for Authors. For the data, decide on a logical order that tells a clear story and makes it and easy to understand.
Formatting a Research Paper | The MLA Style Center
Generally, this will be in the same order as presented in the methods section. An important issue is that you must not include references in this section; you are presenting your results, so you cannot refer to others here. If you refer to others, is because you are discussing your results, and this must be included in the Discussion section. Here you must respond to what the results mean. Probably it is the easiest section to write, but the hardest section to get right. This is because it is the most important section of your article. Here you get the chance to sell your data.
Take into account that a huge numbers of manuscripts are rejected because the Discussion is weak. You need to make the Discussion corresponding to the Results, but do not reiterate the results.
A seasoned editor gives advice to get your work published in an international journal
Here you need to compare the published results by your colleagues with yours using some of the references included in the Introduction. Never ignore work in disagreement with yours, in turn, you must confront it and convince the reader that you are correct or better. Avoid unspecific expressions such as "higher temperature", "at a lower rate", "highly significant". Avoid sudden introduction of new terms or ideas; you must present everything in the introduction, to be confronted with your results here.
Speculations on possible interpretations are allowed, but these should be rooted in fact, rather than imagination. To achieve good interpretations think about:. Revision of Results and Discussion is not just paper work. You may do further experiments, derivations, or simulations. Sometimes you cannot clarify your idea in words because some critical items have not been studied substantially. This section shows how the work advances the field from the present state of knowledge. In some journals, it's a separate section; in others, it's the last paragraph of the Discussion section.
Whatever the case, without a clear conclusion section, reviewers and readers will find it difficult to judge your work and whether it merits publication in the journal. A common error in this section is repeating the abstract, or just listing experimental results. Trivial statements of your results are unacceptable in this section. You should provide a clear scientific justification for your work in this section, and indicate uses and extensions if appropriate.
This article is a part of the guide:
Moreover, you can suggest future experiments and point out those that are underway. You can propose present global and specific conclusions, in relation to the objectives included in the introduction. Editors like to see that you have provided a perspective consistent with the nature of the journal. You need to introduce the main scientific publications on which your work is based, citing a couple of original and important works, including recent review articles.
However, editors hate improper citations of too many references irrelevant to the work, or inappropriate judgments on your own achievements.
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They will think you have no sense of purpose. The abstract tells prospective readers what you did and what the important findings in your research were. Together with the title, it's the advertisement of your article. Make it interesting and easily understood without reading the whole article. Avoid using jargon, uncommon abbreviations and references.
You must be accurate, using the words that convey the precise meaning of your research. The abstract provides a short description of the perspective and purpose of your paper. It gives key results but minimizes experimental details.
However, the abstracts must be keep as brief as possible. Just check the 'Guide for authors' of the journal, but normally they have less than words. Here's a good example on a short abstract. In an abstract, the two whats are essential. Here's an example from an article I co-authored in Ecological Indicators :. The title must explain what the paper is broadly about.
It is your first and probably only opportunity to attract the reader's attention. In this way, remember that the first readers are the Editor and the referees. Also, readers are the potential authors who will cite your article, so the first impression is powerful!
We are all flooded by publications, and readers don't have time to read all scientific production. They must be selective, and this selection often comes from the title. Reviewers will check whether the title is specific and whether it reflects the content of the manuscript. Editors hate titles that make no sense or fail to represent the subject matter adequately.
Format for a Research Paper
Hence, keep the title informative and concise clear, descriptive, and not too long. You must avoid technical jargon and abbreviations, if possible. This is because you need to attract a readership as large as possible. Dedicate some time to think about the title and discuss it with your co-authors. Here you can see some examples of original titles, and how they were changed after reviews and comments to them:. Keywords are used for indexing your paper. They are the label of your manuscript. It is true that now they are less used by journals because you can search the whole text.
However, when looking for keywords, avoid words with a broad meaning and words already included in the title. Some journals require that the keywords are not those from the journal name, because it is implicit that the topic is that. Only abbreviations firmly established in the field are eligible e. Again, check the Guide for Authors and look at the number of keywords admitted, label, definitions, thesaurus, range, and other special requests. Here, you can thank people who have contributed to the manuscript but not to the extent where that would justify authorship.
For example, here you can include technical help and assistance with writing and proofreading. Probably, the most important thing is to thank your funding agency or the agency giving you a grant or fellowship. In the case of European projects, do not forget to include the grant number or reference.
- Formatting a Research Paper | The MLA Style Center.
- 13.1: Formatting a Research Paper;
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Also, some institutes include the number of publications of the organization, e. Typically, there are more mistakes in the references than in any other part of the manuscript. It is one of the most annoying problems, and causes great headaches among editors. Now, it is easier since to avoid these problem, because there are many available tools. In the text, you must cite all the scientific publications on which your work is based.
But do not over-inflate the manuscript with too many references — it doesn't make a better manuscript! Avoid excessive self-citations and excessive citations of publications from the same region. Minimize personal communications, do not include unpublished observations, manuscripts submitted but not yet accepted for publication, publications that are not peer reviewed, grey literature, or articles not published in English. In general, you should minimize personal communications, and be mindful as to how you include unpublished observations.
These will be necessary for some disciplines, but consider whether they strengthen or weaken your paper.
You might also consider articles published on research networks prior to publication, but consider balancing these citations with citations of peer-reviewed research. When citing research in languages other than English, be aware of the possibility that not everyone in the review process will speak the language of the cited paper and that it may be helpful to find a translation where possible. You can use any software, such as EndNote or Mendeley , to format and include your references in the paper.