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Metodologia cercetrii tiinifice

Redactarea unei lucrri tiinifice

Corin Badiu, 2007

Tipuri de lucrri tiinifice

Articol tiinific
Prezentare oral
Lucrare de diplom / master / doctorat
Grant de cercetare
Articole de educaie continu
Book review

How to write Scientific text ?

Logical and in such way that other scientists
are able to repeat your work
Find out what is already known; find relevant
Figures, figure captions, tables
Language simple and clear sentences

Why to write ?
Publication / Proposal
End Product of
Scientific work
To get other people
interested in and to
know your work
To show your activity

To obtain funding for

you and/or your group
to be able to
interesting and
important research

On Your topic
New scientific results -> Publish it
lab measurements, field campaigns,
development of new devices and new
methods, basic theories, modelling
How much material in one paper?
In principle all scientific work will result as
publication: if not look your supervisor/advisor

Publication Chain

Extended abstract
Real paper in International Journal
Nature/ Science paper

Thesis (M.Sc. / Ph.D)


Writing process
Alone or in group
Ask comments as soon and as often as possible from
co-authors and other people
Example (on co-operation): A makes outlines and
main results and B writes details etc.
Alone A could make 1-2 papers per year together A
and B can make 4-5 papers per year
Remember: as writer you would like other people to
read it, take this into account when you write

On Publications

all authors must have scientific contribution

How many authors?

Review process

if you get somewhat postive comments it means that you are

able to publish the paper after some (even major) work;
Typically possible to negotiate
Nature, Science and PRL: you need to convince editors that
your topic is widely interested and significant

Letters to editros / covering letters

Prewriting: Getting Started on Lab

As you begin your lab, you should take careful,
meticulous notes. These become the prewriting from
which you will write your report.

Labs require you to keep data logged in some

form of notebook, either paper or electronic.
Data must be accurate and precise.
Be sure to include all the information you need in
order to complete your report.

Recording Data

It is important that you

make sure that all the
information you are
recording is accurate and

Try placing your notes

into this format:

Materials used
Method followed
Results seen
Conclusions drawn

Some other ways of using technology for

taking notes:
Audio recording
Video recordings
Computer databases
Whatever method of note taking you choose, make
sure the data you record is accurate, organized,
and clear enough for you to read later when you
can no longer depend on your memory.

A System of Consistency is Vital

When you keep your own notes,

it is important that you record
the same type of data every time
you record something. For
example, if you record how tall a
plant has grown under different
light sources, be sure to record the
height at the same time of day
using the same system of
measurement. A devise like a
chart, can help keep your entries

Some scientific research may require a survey of

current research.

Include the following information

when recording information:
The information
Whether the information is a direct
quote or not
The source of the information and date
The subject matter of the information

Formatting and Organizing Lab

Lab Reports always answer these questions:
What was the purpose of
the lab?
What materials were used?
What was the procedure?
What were the results?
What are the conclusions?

A typical lab report includes the

following four parts.

Report Structure: IMRaD+ C

Core sections of a scientific report can be
summarised as






+ Conclusion

I. Introduction
ALWAYS tell the objectives/purpose of the
lab, what the lab is expected to prove
SOMETIMES gives the background of the
problem under research
SOMETIMES tells under whose authority the
lab was conducted
SOMETIMES is given a separate heading if
the lab report is long


Materials and Procedure

(also called Experimental Section, Methodology, Method)

ALWAYS describes and/or lists materials or

instruments used
ALWAYS describes the procedure used, including
relevant calculations
ALWAYS uses chronological order (through time)

III. Results and Discussion

ALWAYS presents test results with relevant
calculations; usually includes accompanying visuals
tables, graphs, etc.
ALWAYS discusses the results, explains why things
happened, tells what is significant
USUALLY uses chronological order for results seen
and cause-to-effect order for discussion of results.

IV. Conclusions
ALWAYS includes a brief summary that tells
how the test results, findings, and analysis
meet the objectives established at the
beginning of the report.
SOMETIMES uses chronological order;
SOMETIMES uses priority order.

Additional Sections of Lab Reports

May Include the Following:

Theory section Explains the

scientific theory behind the lab
Calculations section if the labs
used involve mathematical calculations
Recommendation section comes
after the conclusion and used if
necessary for the lab
Appendix section separate section
at the end of the report, that contains
tables and graphs whose complexity
and length disrupt the flow of the report

Composing the Lab Report

A few more important things to remember

Inductive and Deductive Reasoning

Scientific exploration explores physical

phenomena according to basic inductive and
deductive reasoning called the scientific
method. The scientific method is responsible
for the structure of the lab report.

Results vs. Conclusions

Experiments require writers to observe results and to draw conclusions
from those observations. Observable results, however, are different from the
conclusions drawn.
A result is simply what happened; a conclusion goes beyond what
happened. A conclusion requires a scientist to draw an inference, to make a
point about the results.
For example, Paul Broca measured womens brains in the mid-1800s.
When he observed that they weighed an average of 181 grams less than a
mans brain, he wrongly concluded that smaller brains meant women were less
intelligent than men. His observation, the result of his measurements, was
correct. The brains did weigh less. But less weight doesnt lead to the
conclusion that women are not as smart. (Interesting note: What would he
have concluded if he had known Einsteins brain weighed nearly pound less
than the average mans brain?)

Publication / Proposal

summary including main results


why and short litterature review

Materials and Methods

instruments, equations etc


your results


comparison with other results


focus on new things and wide


Introduction / background
Aims, objectives
Research Group

Best publications
Significant results

Links to other research


Scientific education, reseach




Publications / Proposals
To which Journal
Look the format and other
instructions carefully
Citation index

more than 1
Nature around 20
JGR ~4

How much it costs ?

Do you expect to have
reasonable editors/revievers

Private foundations
National science foundation
(like Finnish Academy)
Private Companies
TEKES type (You need
companies to find out
national funding)
Ministry of

Anatomy of a Scientific Paper

Title: Descriptive, concise, and interesting

Abstract: Include all components of the manuscript

Introduction: State objectives, any questions, reason for writing

Materials and Methods: Provide details
Results: Stick to the facts, make sure it makes sense
Discussion: Draw conclusions from your data, compare to previous
Conclusion: Studies implications, supported by results, and related to

References: Include retrievable sources, follow format

Tables: Do not imbed in text, follow guidelines, keep simple
Figures: Do not imbed in text, look professional
Figure Legends: Descriptive and concise

Your paper.. how?

Do not dive in without a plan mind map to outline
Aims & Obj.

Relevant background
to the problem


Title &
Materials and




My paper







Prcis writing
Informative, not descriptive
Some numbers, but not in
Determines if paper will be
Is distributed freely in

Max info in least words
<12 words
<100 characters
The title is a label
Should almost never contain
Question: easier to understand, more
State results

Do before writing
Redraw, redraw, prune clutter
Least non-data-ink
Max 4 lines, all solid
No caption
Reduce to 1 column in journal
- Reduced xerox copy to check
- Original should be <3x final

- Minimize tick marks
- Dont number each tick
- Uniform, lower case
- Minimize, avoid bold
- After reduction, 2-3 mm

- Gives message

Single unit, understood without
Exceed 1 sheet: redraw
Avoid narrow/broad; rotate all 90o
No added vertical/horizontal lines
If small: move data to text

Fix a schedule
Monitor progress
Write by a biological clock
One page a week: torture
Skip trouble spots
Writers block: unacceptable

Need stretch of several hours
When time is short: prepare, revise
Avoid distractions: phone, beeper
- Very boring area

- Nothing to distract

First Draft
Write as quickly as possible
As if thinking out loud
Get everything down
Ignore spelling, grammar, style
Skip troublesome words
Correct and rewrite only when the whole text
is on paper
Do not split the manuscript among the coauthors

Good Writing
Content, accuracy
Order of

- Ambiguity, inconsistency
- Wooly words

- Least words
- Short words
- One word vs many

a majority of = most
at the present time = now
give rise to = cause
in some cases = sometimes
is defined as = is
it is believed that = I think
on the basis of = by
pooled together = pooled
subsequent to = after
with the result that = so that

Use and Misuse of English

- Previously published work: present tense
- Your own work: past tense

- Active more precise and less wordy than
- Name the agent, even I or we

Singulars and plurals

Bad Writing
Words dont do justice to your
If multiple mistakes in spelling and syntax,
reviewer suspects similar sloppiness in the lab

Clear, orderly presentation
Reads comfortably
Science vs literature

Reshape, refine, tighten up
Juggle words, change sentences around
Strengthen transition between sentences
Check narrative flow
After several drafts ask for a second

Writing: Sentences
Only one idea in a sentence
Keep short: <20 words
Vary length
Long sentences: greater risk of grammatical

Writing: Paragraph
The unit of thought in a group of sentences
Subheading over each one in early drafts
Not too long solid block of printing (<125
Long paragraph: bad

Writing: Narrative Flow

Telling a story
Reader follows from start to end
Writing is sequential: logic is the glue
Sentences hold hands
Smooth transitions
Every step is inevitable

Wide margins (2.5 cm)
On one side of the sheet only
Adherence to the style of the
Proofread, proofread, proofread

Effective Scientific Writing

Correct use of units
The correct term for weight is mass
Units such as cm/h, mg/mL, mL/kg/min and l/g are written
as cm h-1, mg mL-1, mL kg-1min-1 and L g-1 respectively
Centrifugation units given in g
Greek symbols
Use proper symbols for +/- i.e. , and for degrees i.e.C
Space between number and unit (2 cm NOT 2cm)

Decided as early as possible
Should include persons who:
- Can defend the intellectual content, including
and conclusions
- Must be willing to concede publicly any errors
- In the case of fraud be willing to state publicly the
nature and extent, and account for its

All the following criteria should be met:
- Generate at least part of the intellectual

content (conception or design, data analysis

and interpretation)
- Drafting, reviewing or revising critically for
important intellectual content
- Final approval of the version to be published

Authorship: Order
Some journals use the alphabetical order
Most of them assume an order based on each
authors importance to the study
- The first author is primarily responsible for
collecting and analyzing data, and writing
- The last one, an established investigator,
assumes the overall responsibility for the study
- The middle authors are listed according to heir
order of importance to the study

Authorship: Responsibilities
The authors must comply with the following rules
when submitting the manuscript for publication:
The manuscript is not under consideration elsewhere and
the research will not be submitted elsewhere until a final
has been made by the journal
The manuscript is a trustful, original work without
fabrication, fraud
or plagiarism
The authors have made an important scientific contribution
and are
familiar with the primary data
The authors have read the manuscript and take
responsibility for
its content, and understand that if the
paper, or part of it, is found to be faulty or fraudulent, they
share responsibility

Benefits of Writing
Benefit greater to author than reader
Invaluable mental discipline
Enhances clear thinking
Making a subject intelligible to others
means you understand it
Improve your reading skills
Satisfies a creative instinct

Beginnings prepare readers for

understanding the work




orients readers to

tells readers what

happens in document

prepares readers
for the middle

A document's introduction prepares

readers for the discussion


The introduction defines the scope

and limitations of the work
Women may not
experience the
same effects

Medical histories
not considered

Proposed Study
on Effects of Alcohol
on Life Expectancy

Three classes of drinkers:

moderate drinkers
heavy drinkers

Other effects,
such as exercise,
not considered


Ten-year study

Men surveyed

Forms of Publishing

Case reports
Clinical pearls
Letters to the editor
Book reviews
Poster/paper presentations
Review articles
Survey articles
Original research
Book chapters
Books (electronic and print)

Other Ways of Getting Involved

Review book concepts

Serve on editorial boards
Peer review journal articles
Review book chapters
Serve as section editor for a book

Common Barriers to Writing

Finding the time to write

Selecting a topic
Finding colleagues to collaborate with
Intimidation by the publication process

Following author instructions

Internal review process
Peer review
Acceptance, modification, resubmission


Making the Time to Write

Make it a priority
Schedule time to write each day
Outline your concept
Create a schedule and stick to it
Work with collaborators
Get supervisors buy-in
If you get stuck, talk with your publisher
Dont bite off more than you can chew

Plan the Process

Have something important to say
Understand the target audience

Who cares?
Select the right tone and model
Delivery method
Where to submit?

Do your homework on background and

Pay attention to the submission guidelines

Authorship Issues
Select a lead author at the outset
Decide how work will be divided
Select co-authors based on what they bring to
the project
Plan regular contact with co-authors
Avoid the ego trap
Be professional, not political
Writing is a commitment
Acknowledge contributions appropriately

Tips on Writing

Work from an outline

Dont kill your own creativity
Use active voice
Enlighten, dont anesthetize
Have your work reviewed prior to
Aim for an error-free final manuscript
Have fun with it

General Tips

Read good writing

Discuss your work, and the work of others
Visit poster sessions
Welcome your editors input
Read and reread Elements of Style by
William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White
Write every day
Did I mention have fun?

Complete Proposals Should Contain

Statement of scope and intent
Physical specifications of the
Draft table of contents
Sample material
Curriculum vita

Statement of Scope and Intent

Timing Considerations
Illustrations and Features
Delivery Elements

Physical Specifications

Trim Size
Printed Pages
Other special design elements

Reference to Get You Started

Huth EJ. Writing and Publishing In Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott
Williams & Wilkins; 1999
Iverson C, Flanagin A, Fontanarosa PB et al. American Medical Association
Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors. 9th ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams
& Wilkins; 1998
Hamilton, CW. How to Write and Publish Scientific Papers: Scribing Information
for Pharmacists. Am J Hosp Pharm 1992; 49:2477-84
Miller LG. Research Guidelines for the Pharm.D. Practitioner. Pharmacotherapy
1994; 14(6):740-2
Zellmer WA. How to Write a Research Report for Publication. Am J Hosp Pharm
1981; 38:545-50
Woodward DK, Clifton GD. Development of a Successful Research Grant
Application. Am J Hosp Pharm 1994; 51:813-22
Motheral BR, Jackson TR. Understanding and Evaluating Original Research
Articles. J Am Pharm Assoc 1999; 39:759-74
Scientific Writing Links.
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Uniform Requirements for
Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical
Publication. Updated November 2003.