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Nuno Bacharel
Nuno Bacharel

YourFormula partnered with Jongkvcv, and we attended the ChemCYS event – 12th Chemistry Conference for Young Scientists - in Blankenberge, Belgium.

During the 2 day event we tweeted and we posted some photos on Facebook, to give you an idea about the fantastic atmosphere that we had.

If you followed our live tweeting, you know that  Santiago Gomez-Ruiz , from the European Young Chemistry Network, made a great presentation about the art of science writing. During the session he gave same tips and tricks that I want to share with you in this blog post.

First of all, and before starting the planning, remember that writing a paper is a great opportunity for you, to show how good you are. If you have good research but fail to put in on paper, the results will be less impactful.

To start with, a good strategy for writing a paper is always required. There are a few steps you need to follow to produce a good manuscript:

 

1. STUDY THE MARKET

Take into account previous research and papers on the same area. This will be very useful first to

gather some data and, second, to define new approaches.

 

2. STYLE

Define in advance the style you will use, to write your paper. Be yourself and don try to copy other authors.

 

3. THE READERS

Regarding the readers, you can’t forget that the first person who will read the paper is the editor. He/ she is the one who needs to be convinced before the paper has a public use.

Tips:

What would you wish to find in your paper/report?

Think about being you own reader

Don´t forget that a few readers nay have a different scientific background, and they also need to understand and interpret your paper.

 

4. THE CONCEPT

Before starting writing, you need to structure your thinking and define what you want to say and present.

Draw up a concept sheet with the following items:

-          Tentative title, abstract and main headings;

-          Good ideas for the text;

-          The links between the sections and text;

 

5. FIRST DRAFT

Because at this point you are perhaps inundated with so much information and ideas, this is the hardest part of writing a paper.

To avoid any initial frustration, assemble the first bunch of ideas and try to link them.

Title

-          Make it short, informative and attractive

-          Make it meaningful and avoid using unnecessary words

Abstract

Usually considered as the most important element in a paper; needs to be precise and mention 3 items:

-          Motive – statement of purpose;

-          Methods – general description of procedure;

-          Conclusions – brief presentation of the results;

On the abstract, start with the core: a list of the most important new results in your article, then add enough introductory information at the beginning (1 – 3 sentences) so the reader can understand the context in which the results should be set.

Introduction

Keep it short and mention the problem and the procedures that led you to the conclusions. Don´t forget to make the connections between hypothesis, methods and the reported work.

Most important: Don´t forget to justify why the particular study was done

Materials and methods

This is an easy section to write: just mention the methods and materials you used succinctly. Remember that you shouldn’t present the results but it needs to contain sufficient information to allow the work to be repeated by someone else.

References

It is important you mention all the sources you used, but to make this work easier use an appropriate and consistent format.

At the end be sure that all references used while you´re writing the paper, actually appear in the reference section.

Proofread for accuracy. Use technology!

Supplementary material

Don´t think that is something that people will note read! Most of the readers read supplementary material for technical details or specific analysis of the paper.

 

6. FIGURES, SCHEMES AND TABLES

Do not overuse figures, schemes or tables, use only what you strictly need

Use good resolution files and make sure that the information is visible (after printing numbers will be smaller than you actually see in the computer); use footnotes which may clarify the meaning of the figures/tables;

 

7. GRAMMAR, SPELLING AND PUNCTUATION

Pay attention to the grammar, do not invent new words and use formal and clear vocabulary.

Beware of long sentences. Remember not to mix ideas; otherwise the text will be to complex. Try to have only one idea per paragraph.

Be careful with spelling mistakes and use a spelling checker to help you.

 

8. THE STYLE

Using a good style will make your paper distinguished, memorable and individual:

  • Be clear: the essence of technical writing is communication;
  • Write in an orderly way and with an appropriate design;
  • Define in advance and avoid words empty of meaning;
  • Do not overstate or overemphasise;
  • Make sure you have written exactly the idea you had in mind

9. CONCLUDING REMARKS

  • When you finished, read through the whole paper again from the beginning, but be critical.
  • Give your manuscript to a peer for critical reviewing.

 

There is no “right way” to write a paper, but I hope that these tips can help you!

Would you like to add some tips to this list?