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Nursing Resources: Writing a Research (or scientific) Paper

How do i start?

Start with an outline:

  1.    What is the topic of my paper?
  2.    Why is the topic important?
  3.    How could I formulate my hypothesis? (a.k.a explain the question I am trying to research/discuss)
  4.    What are my results?
  5.    What is my major finding?

Many people find it much easier to start with writing the "Methods" section.  The mthods section si the place within a research paper where the author, in a very detailed and meticulous manner, describes the steps they used to conduct the project.  This section must be very detailed because this is where readers will determine if the project was conducted properly, and if anyone wants to reconduct the experiment, they will follow these steps.

The Introduction tends to be the hardest section to write.  Leave this section until last as you will be able to get a better understanding of what you want the readers to understand of the project/problem and why it's important to study it.  

Before you submit your paper to any journal, have multiple people read your paper and take their comments as constructive criticism.  It is better to adjust and modify your paper priot to publication rather than have it questioned after.

Paper format

Introduction: Should be brief. Approximately 250-600 words in length though is flexible.

  1. Why is your research important?   
  2. What is known about your topic?
  3. What are your hypotheses? (Or hypothesis--singular)
  4. What are your objectives?

Materials and Methods: Meticulous and time-consuming task requiring extreme accuracy, descriptive, and clarity. This section's purpose is to allow other readers to evaluate and reproduce your methods--step by step.

  1. What materials did you use?
  2. Who were the subjects of your study?
  3. What was the design of your study?
  4. What procedures did you follow?
  5. How was the data taken?  Consistent through out experiment?

Results:  Objectively present your key findings in an orderly and logical sequence. Tables & figures should be present in this section.  Create a well -researched and comprehensive case/

  1. What are the most significant results?
  2. What are your supporting results?

Discussion and Conclusions: (These can be separate sections within your paper)  The Discussion section should place your findings in the research context and "to explain the meaning of the findings and why they are important, without appearing arrogant, condescending or patronizing."

  1. What are the studies major findings?
  2. What is the significance or implications of the results?

Kallestinova, ED. How to write your first research paper. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 84(2011), 181-190.