Lebrun (2007) likens the introduction to the "hands of your [scientific] paper," as it "provides guidance, greets, and introduces a topic not familiar to the reader," as well as "points to the related works of other scientists and to your contribution."
Katz (2006) says that the introduction "leads a reader from a well-known, easily visible landmark into the depths of science and right into the particular spot occupied by your paper."
Day (1998) says that the introduction serves "to supply sufficient background information to allow the reader to understand and evaluate the results of the present study without needing to refer to previous publication on the topic." He then points to the five parts of the introduction:
Katz (2006) provides a simple skeleton of the introduction:
Lebrun (2007) enumerates the purpose of the introduction for readers:
He then lists down the purpose of the introduction for writers (Lebrun, 2007):
Day (1998) presents several rules in writing a good introduction:
Likewise, Lebrun (2007) lists down the qualities of a good introduction:
I culled from the references some tips for my students:
The abstract is "the heart of your paper" (Lebrun, 2007). It should say: "We did. We saw. We concluded" (Katz, 2006). It is "a mini version of the paper...[and provides] a brief summary of each of the main sections of the paper. It should not exceed 250 words and...should be typed as a single paragraph" (Day, 1998).
Day (1998) classifies abstracts into two types: the "informative abstract...designed to condense the paper" and the "indicative (sometimes called a descriptive abstract)...designed to indicate the subjects dealt with in a paper."
Lebrun (2007) enumerates the qualities of a good abstract:
Day (1998), however, says that the abstract is "written in the past tense, because it refers to work done."
He also lists the purpose of abstracts for readers (Lebrun, 2007):
Lebrun (2007) also lists the purpose of an abstract for the writer:
He also points out what an abstract should NOT do (Lebrun, 2007):
Day (1998) adds that the abstract "should never give any information or conclusion that is not stated in the paper."
He describes the parts of the abstract and what these should do (Day, 1998):
Lebrun (2007) says that these four parts should answer the following questions:
I culled from the references some tips for my students on how to write the abstract:
The title of the scientific paper is the "face of the paper" (Lebrun, 2007). Titles are the most read part of scientific papers, mainly because they are free for readers to peruse. As such, they must be short as possible but must show the paper's contribution (Blackwell and Martin, 2011). Along with the abstract, titles are used in indexing and keyword searches and "form a small scientific report" (Katz, 2006).
What makes for a good title of a scientific paper? It is one that has "the fewest possible words that adequately describe the contents of the paper" (Day, 1998). Lebrun (2007) lists down several qualities of good titles:
Lebrun (2007) also lists down the purpose of titles for readers:
He also lists down the purpose of titles for writers (Lebrun, 2007):
I culled from several references some tips for my students to help them write titles for their scientific papers:
Listing the author/s and addresses
Writing down the authors is one of the most contentious part of doing the scientific paper. Day (1998) says that, "[unfortunately] there are no agreed-upon rules or generally accepted conventions [in listing authors.... [Though it] is now accepted form to refer to the first author as the 'senior author' and to assume that he or she did most or all of the research." He defines authorship as:
the listing of authors [to] include those, and only those, who actively contribute to the overall design and execution of the [study].... Further, the authors should normally be listed in order of importance [to the research conducted], the first author being acknowledged as the senior author, the second author being the primary associate, the third author possibly being equivalent to the second but more likely having a lesser involvement with the work reported. Colleagues or supervisors should neither ask to have their names on manuscripts nor allow their names to be put on manuscripts reporting research which they themselves have not been intimately involved....An author of a paper [is] defined as one who takes intellectual responsibility for the research results being reported.... ¶ Each listed author should have made an important contribution to the study being reported, "important" referring to those aspects of the study which produced new information, the concept that defines an original scientific paper.
Day (1998) recommends the listing of authors by their first name, middle initial, and last name. He advises writers to follow the journal's convention in listing addresses of authors, though convention usually follows the listing of addresses of multi-authored works in the same order as the authors. ✍
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