10 Basic Scientific Report Writing Tips for Students
BY TIM MONSON
For many university students, few written assignments are more dreaded than the scientific report. These writing tasks require careful thought, deep planning, and the mastery of a specific tone and approach which can really take a lot of time and effort to perfect. So what is actually a scientific report and what makes is different from the other assignments?
Scientific Report is a type of academic papers that describe the process, progress, and or results of technical or scientific research or the state of a technical or scientific research problem. It might also include recommendations and conclusion of the research.
The structure of scientific report writing listed below:
- Title Page
- Table of Contents
- Materials and Methods (Experimental)
If you’ve ever struggled with scientific report writing, or have a report coming up which is playing on your mind, fear not – we’ve got some top tips to help you get through this task, and ensure it’s capable of getting you the grades you deserve. Read on to find out more!
- Choose Your Topic Wisely
A scientific report is your chance to show off your professionalism, expertise, and depth of knowledge. As such, you should make sure you’re always writing about a topic which is capable of presenting your skills in the best possible light.
Take some time to brainstorm your report topic, and make sure you’re bringing a fresh, original, or unique angle to your subject (if possible). Originality is key when it comes to scientific report success, and if you can bring something new to the table, that’s half the battle won.
- Be Selective with your Sources
All too many scientific report papers fall at the first hurdle as a result of poorly collected sources, or because the student didn’t bother researching deeply enough. In order to get those top marks, you have to demonstrate that you really know where to look and how to select your information… so get down to the library, seek out the best possible sources on the subject, and reference a wide array of authors into your paper.
- Hit The Right Note With Your Title
First impressions count for more than you might imagine when it comes to any sort of academic writing, and the best way to instantly captivate your professors is with a snappy title. You want your scientific report to have a title which immediately grabs the attention of the reader – nothing too long, nor too short – and which draws the reader in from the very first moment.
- Never hesitate to ask for an advice
For many students, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to work through scientific report papers. University life is busy, and social obligations, extra-curricular activities, and all kinds of other essays, reports, coursework projects and dissertations quickly pile up and can become overwhelming. In such cases try to find a teacher or professional writer who can just help you to get all those things in order: it can be a great decision because a person with experience in scientific writing deeply understands the way all scientific reports must be arranged.
- Perfect the Introduction
It’s probably fair to say that the introduction of your scientific report is the most important paragraph in the whole paper. Why? Because it sets up the premise for the report as a whole and lays out your style, your approach, and all that can be expected from the paper and its contents.
The ideal introduction will start off with a wide perspective, and narrow down to the finer points as it continues. The idea is to provide a contextual background to your paper, and to lay out your initial ideas, your motivation for the study, how you’ve approached your thesis or problem, and the findings you expect from its execution.
- Present Your Methods
Your methodology should be touched upon (along with your reasons for choosing said methodology) in your introduction. Your professors will be interested in the way you’re approaching your particular area of expertise or the problem you’re attempting to solve, and they’ll want to see that you understand the academic background of the methodology you’ve chosen. It’s also never a bad idea to anchor your introduction to a particular time and place and to make reference to relevant studies which have gone before. Get this part of your introduction right, and the rest of the paper will follow!
- Laying Out the Results
Scientific papers require results – there’s no getting around this fact. Your results section is going to be one of the most important parts of the whole paper, so you’ll need to make sure it’s clear, concise, and presents your findings, rather than explaining them. Analysis and explanations can come later. Make this part of your paper logical, chronological, and as easy to follow as possible, as some professors may wish to see this section outside of the context of the rest of your report.
- Perfecting the Discussion
The discussion chapter or section of your scientific report is your chance to justify your methodology and to analyze and explain the results which you reached. The whole point of this section is to bring your research and findings into the wider context of your discipline and to explain their usefulness in the further understanding of the field in which you are studying. As such, the language you use in this section should be as clear and concise as possible, and it should interpret and explain everything you’ve achieved thus far. Provide your explanations and conclusions in a chronological, step-by-step order, so it can be easily understood, and highlight your core findings or most significant results to prove the worth of the report as a whole.
- Write a Top Abstract
Your abstract comes at the very beginning of your report – just before your introduction – but it’s impossible to write an accurate, useful, and academically sound abstract without first completing the rest of the report. Keep your abstract within 200 words, and make sure it highlights the key sections and findings of your report – it’s a bite-sized introduction regarding what to expect, and will let the reader know whether your report is relevant to their own studies or research.
As with any type of academic writing, getting your references in order is important and will make up part of your marking criteria. Make sure you know what referencing format your professors expect, and highlight or make notes of the references you use during your research – this will save you time in hunting them all down once your report is typed up and ready to go
Tim Monson is a freelance writer, PhD, student and an active adherent of implementing digital technologies in education.