Writing Scientific Text

 

skrivande hand

 

Academic writing language competence skills to improve the formulation and justification of their own ideas.
 
Writing effective academic texts (academic and scientific) involves a critical analysis of facts and previous studies. Characteristics of academic writing include a formal tone, use of the third-person rather than first-person perspective (usually), a clear focus on the research problem under investigation, and precise word choice. Like specialist languages adopted in other professions, such as, law or medicine, academic writing is designed to convey agreed meaning about complex ideas or concepts for a group of scholarly experts.

Academic works are executed in accordance with the requirements for structure and citation.

 

_______________

 

Essay is a small volume of journalistic work that expresses individual impressions and reflections on a particular issue.

Report is a short, sharp, concise document which is written for a particular purpose and audience. It is a factual paper, and needs to be clear and well-structured.

Abstract a summary of the content of the book, an article that reveals the purpose, value, direction and allows conclusions about the expediency of their study.

Summary a short, clear description that gives the main facts or ideas about something.

Coursework is a self study and research work with the elements of research, is carried out in order to consolidate, deepen and generalize knowledge.

Bachelor's paper is a qualifying research work done by a student at the final stage of study, with the aim of protecting and obtaining an academic bachelor's degree.

Master's work is a qualifying research done by a student at the final stage of study, for the purpose of public defense and obtaining an academic master's degree.

Dissertation is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings.

Article is a publication containing a summary of the intermediate or final results of a research study highlights a specific issue that combines analysis, structuring, formulation and expressing opinions.

Theses is materials of the scientific report, published at the beginning of the scientific conference.

Monograph is a scientific work, which contains a full or in-depth study of a problem or subject belonging to one or more authors.

In order to make academic texts easy to read and their contents easy to find, they usually follow a predetermined structure. The structure’s role in this is to be the very framework that holds all the different parts together. 

The text should be clearly structured, peredilyatysya into sections and paragraphs. We must strive to ensure that each section was independent research on a specific part of the problem that each component was described in the text, and the text was holistic and not fragmented.

The structure of the scientific text consists of introduction, body and conclusion and IMRaD (methods, results, discussion).

Structural elements of the scientific text:

  • Title page is information to the reader regarding the title, author and type of work, study programme and the higher education institution.
  • An abstract summarizes the main contents of your thesis and should give the reader a well-defined idea of what the thesis is about. Readers often use the abstract to determine whether or not the text is relevant for them to read.
  • Summary provides a brief account of the main content of an academic paper. The purpose of the summary is partly to generate interest, and partly to present the main issue and key results. 
  • Table of contents – provides information on the main sections, sections of work, including introduction, conclusions to sections, list of used literature, attachments and page numbering.

 

Introduction reveals the state of the problem under study, defines the purpose and tasks, substantiates the relevance of the chosen topic, indicates the object, subject and methods of research.

The introduction leads the reader from a general subject area to a particular topic of inquiry. It establishes the scope, context, and significance of the research being conducted by summarizing current understanding and background information about the topic, stating the purpose of the work in the form of the research problem supported by a hypothesis or a set of questions, explaining briefly the methodological approach used to examine the research problem, highlighting the potential outcomes your study can reveal, and outlining the remaining structure and organization of the paper.

You may write the introduction at the beginning or at the end of the writing process. If you write it early in the process it can serve as a guide to your own writing, but be aware that you most likely will have to go back to it and edit it as the writing progresses.

  • Purpose and tasks purpose of the work and the tasks that need to be solved to achieve it.
  • Actuality substantiates the relevance and feasibility of the development of the area of science.
  • The object and subject of the study problem situation study.
  • The methods of research describes actions to be taken to investigate a research problem and the rationale for the application of specific procedures or techniques used to identify, select, process, and analyze information applied to understanding the problem, thereby, allowing the reader to critically evaluate a study’s overall validity and reliability. The methodology section of a research paper answers two main questions: How was the data collected or generated? And, how was it analyzed? The writing should be direct and precise and always written in the past tense.

 

Body is the main section of your text and it should also be the longest. Depending on the length of the text, the body may be divided into subsections. If your text is divided into subsections, remember to briefly introduce each section. For longer works you may also need to conclude sections. The body of the text is where you as a writer and researcher are the most active. It is the most substantial part of the text; this is where the research or findings are presented, discussed and analyzed. This is also where you present your arguments that support your thesis or answer your question. The structure and contents of this main part may differ depending on your discipline.

  • Research results is where you report the findings of your study based upon the information gathered as a result of the methodology you applied. The results section should simply state the findings, without bias or interpretation, and arranged in a logical sequence.
  • The scientific novelty of the results describes the degree of novelty of scientific provisions, the difference between the results obtained from the known earlier.
  • The practical significance of the results obtained information on the scientific use of research results and recommendations for their practical application are provided.
  • Approval of the results of the work indicated published research results.
  • A literature review is a scholarly paper, which includes the current knowledge including substantive findings, as well as theoretical and methodological contributions to a particular topic. Literature reviews are secondary sources, and do not report new or original experimental work.

 

Conclusion is intended to help the reader understand why your research should matter to them after they have finished reading the paper. A conclusion is not merely a summary of the main topics covered or a re-statement of your research problem, but a synthesis of key points and, if applicable, where you recommend new areas for future research. A well-written conclusion provides you with important opportunities to demonstrate to the reader your understanding of the research problem.

  • List of used sources used during the preparation of scientific work. The list of sources is placed in the list according to the order of the references in the text, either in the alphabet of authors' names or in chronological order. In the text of the work, the reference should be placed in brackets, indicating the number from the list. When composing the list of used literature, it is necessary to take into account restrictions on its volume – not less than 30 names, but not more than 35.
  • An appendix contains supplementary material that is not an essential part of the text itself but which may be helpful in providing a more comprehensive understanding of the research problem or it is information that is too cumbersome to be included in the body of the paper. A separate appendix should be used for each distinct topic or set of data and always have a title descriptive of its contents.

The author independently chooses the structural elements of the scientific text, which can be included in the scientific work depending on the type of scientific text.

_______________

 

Writing is a process that can be divided into three stages: Pre-writing, drafting and the final revising stage which includes editing and proofreading. In the first stage you research your topic and make preparatory work before you enter the drafting stage. After you have written your text it is important that you take time to revise and correct it before submitting the final result.

Pre-writing

In the pre-writing stage you plan and prepare your writing.

Early in the pre-writing stage you should give thought to the subject and purpose of your assignment. In order to write effectively you also need to know the purpose of why you are writing. Each type of writing has a unique set of guidelines and knowing your purpose for writing will help you produce a text of high quality and relevance. In order for you to know the purpose of your writing you will need to interpret the task.

Doing thorough preparatory work is important for your writing and will save you a lot of time in the long run. It will help you keep your focus during the writing process. As your project progresses you may have to make some changes to your initial plan.

At the beginning of the writing process it is important to take time to create a timetable for writing in order to ensure that you will have a finished product when the assignment is due. When planning your time, take into account that the revising phase may take as much time as the initial writing, or perhaps even longer. This is in many ways similar to planning your studies in general.

Interpreting the task is an essential part of the writing process as it will influence the quality and relevance of your writing. The guidelines for the assignment should give you information about the required length and format of your text, as well as some information about genre and structure.

Tips for creating an outline:

  • Make a list of points to gain an overview of your material. Include any evidence and counter-evidence you have for your points or statements.
  • How are your points connected (does one lead to the other as a consequence/logical development?), can they be grouped together and how? Considering these questions will help you find a logical order for your points.
  • Do your points answer your thesis statement or research questions and how?
  • Identify your main points and use these as headings in your outline. Order the rest of your points under these headings.
  • Use ordering principles that take their starting point in a reader’s understanding of the text or argument. Present necessary background information to your reader before developing an argument based on this information.

Drafting

Once you have created an outline it is time to start writing. Remember that you do not have to write a perfect first draft. Instead of focusing on producing a flawless text at this stage, try to concentrate on writing down your main ideas.  You do not need to edit or proofread yet. Instead, try to let your thinking and writing flow as freely as possible. Furthermore, you do not have to write the text from start to finish. It is okay to begin with the sections that you feel the most confident with.

You will probably have to rework your draft several times before you have a complete text. Preferably you should allow time between drafts (1 to 2 days, if you have the time) as it will give you a new perspective on your text.

Revising, editing and proofreading

This is the stage in the writing process where you make sure that your text is coherent and written accurately. Your final product should be a text that has been thoroughly worked through and that meets the academic standards of writing. Make sure that you allow enough time to revise, edit and proofread your assignment before submission.

Revision involves analyzing the global level and paragraph level organization of the document, and making changes to your draft on a global, paragraph, and sentence level to ensure that:

  • The document addresses its purpose
  • The document supports any claims its makes (main claims and secondary claims)
  • The structure of the document is logical and supports the purpose and main claims

Editing involves looking at each sentence carefully, and making sure that it’s well designed and serves its purpose.

Proofreading involves checking for grammatical and punctuation errors, spelling mistakes, etc. Proofing is the final stage of the writing process.

_______________

 

Academic writing refers to a style of expression that researchers use to define the intellectual boundaries of their disciplines and their specific areas of expertise. Characteristics of academic writing include a formal tone, use of the third-person rather than first-person perspective (usually), a clear focus on the research problem under investigation, and precise word choice. Like specialist languages adopted in other professions, such as, law or medicine, academic writing is designed to convey agreed meaning about complex ideas or concepts for a group of scholarly experts.

Academic language has a unique set of rules: it should be explicit, formal and factual as well as objective and analytical in nature. 

One way to accomplish clarity and structure in your text is through the use of signposts. Signposts are words and phrases that you can use in your text in order to guide the reader along. Signposting can be divided into two different categories: major signposting and linking words and phrases.

Major signposting is used to signal key aspects of the work, such as the purpose of an academic paper and its structure. Some examples of major signposting:

The aim of this study is to …
This chapter reviews/deals with …
In conclusion …

Linking words and phrases create coherence and give the reader directions by marking transitions between sentences and paragraphs. Some examples of linking words and phrases:

However, …
Firstly, ... . Secondly, ...
For example …
… because …

Objective

Academic writing is based on research and not on the writer’s own opinion about a given topic. When you write objectively you are concerned about facts and not influenced by personal feelings or biases. When presenting an argument to the reader, try to show both sides if you can and avoid making value judgments.

Formal

Formal writing requires considerable effort to construct meaningful sentences, paragraphs, and arguments that make the text easy to comprehend.

In order to achieve the appropriate level of formality, you should read literature within your field. This will also help you learn and use subject-specific terms. Correct use of terminology and language facilitates your communication and heightens the credibility of your work.

  • write short sentences (no more than 25 words)
  • read the literature in the field of your research
  • use specific terms
  • avoid repetitions and extra words
  • avoid using spoken or slang terms, cliche

Logical Order

Refers to a logical ordering of information. In academic writing, writers tend to move from general to specific. In an historical passage, the movement of information is chronological; that is, from old to new. Chronological ordering is also "logical" when describing a disease in that one would expect to learn of symptoms before learning of the treatment.

Unity

At its simplest, unity refers to the exclusion of information that does not directly relate to the topic being discussed in a given paragraph. In its broadest sense, an entire essay should be unified; that is,
within the paragraphs, the minor supports must support the major supports, which in turn must support the topic sentences. Each of the topic sentences must likewise support the thesis statement.

 

_______________

 

LanguageTool – online resource for verifying grammar and punctuation in Ukrainian and in 27 other languages, including Japanese, Chinese, Persian, Russian, English, etc. In version Free you can simultaneously check the text volume of 20 thousand characters. Depending on the type of error (lexical, punctuation or spelling), the word is highlighted in the appropriate color. When you hover the cursor over the selection, the resource offers more precise options for replacement. The resource has a mobile version, which activates the text, the text is checked automatically.

 

Slovotvir – а platform for searching, discussing and selecting accurate matches from over 3,000 borrowed words from English.

 

Dictionaries of Ukraine Online – more than 256 thousand words of the Ukrainian language, which automatically provides a comprehensive lexicographic information about the word: genus, synonyms and phraseology with its use.

  

Stalivyrazy – Russian-Ukrainian dictionary of constant expressions, contains over 6208 vocabulary articles, Russian phraseologisms, syntactic compounds and Ukrainian equivalents. Helps find a list of consistent expressions using a specific word and Ukrainian counterparts. 

 

Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language – the first academic explanatory dictionary of the Ukrainian language (1970-1980), taken as the basis during the conclusion of more modern dictionaries on the interpretation of the content of the words of the Ukrainian language. The resource helps to find the interpretation of any word, as well as examples of contexts for its use.

 

Dictionary of Ukrainian Language Abbreviations – the resource contains modern abbreviations of over 10.5 thousand abbreviations.

 

Official Site of the Ukrainian Language – created for all who are interested in Ukrainian culture, contains a lot of useful material, the use of which will allow to deepen knowledge of Ukrainian during preparation for examinations, control works or dictations.

 

Slovopedia – the resource offers Ukrainian explanatory dictionaries.

 

Onlinecorrector – a resource that helps you troubleshoot errors using the Google Docs text editor. Automatically finds spelling, punctuation, grammatical and stylistic errors. Corrects the text while retaining the original formatting.

 

Spelling Trainer of the Ukrainian Language – combines theoretical provisions and practical tasks that promotes the acquisition of a grammar of the Ukrainian language and improve spelling skills. Training materials additionally contain a variety of cognitive information.

 

MOVA.info – a linguistic portal containing spelling rules, various dictionaries, transliteration, Ukrainian language projects, games, links to useful resources.

 

Lifehacks in Ukrainian – an online course from "EdEra" to study Ukrainian language theory. 16 lectures and an interactive synopsis with all topics.

_______________

 

 

Brainstorming is a group creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members.

Clustering the technique is search and visualization of relationships between ideas to demonstrate new areas of research.

Freewriting the process of teaching a large amount of information on paper by writing non-stop for 5-10 minutes continuously for the purpose of generating ideas.

Journalist Research is identify your topic, then write out your answers in response to these questions: Who are the main stakeholders or figures connected to ____? What is ____? Where can we find ____? Where does this happen? When or under what circumstances does ____ occur? Why is ____ an issue? Why does it occur? Why is it important? How does ____ happen? 

Six Hats is a system designed by Edward de Bono which describes a tool for group discussion and individual thinking involving six colored hats. In a white hat, a person analyzes figures and facts, in black-everything looks for a negative. Having put on a yellow hat, the participant analyzes the positive aspects of the problem. In a green hat a person generates new ideas, in red - can afford emotional reactions. In conclusion, the participant in a blue hat summed up.

Trap for Ideas is to invent all the ideas that arise: they can dictate to the dictophone, record, and if necessary, access to their records.

Mental Map is a graphical way to represent ideas and concepts. It is a visual thinking tool that helps structuring information, helping you to better analyze, comprehend, synthesize, recall and generate new ideas.

_______________

 

We all use argumentation on a daily basis, and you probably already have some skill at crafting an argument. The more you improve your skills in this area, the better you will be at thinking critically, reasoning, making choices, and weighing evidence.

Academic writing is supported by evidence – facts, quotes, arguments, statistics, research, theory. 

Make an argument

Your argument is how you express your viewpoint and answer the question you have been set, using evidence. Your argument can help you plan the structure of your work and guide you to find the evidence you need to support it.

Make sure that your argument runs throughout your writing and that everything you include is relevant to it. Try to sum up your argument in a few words before you start writing and keep checking that it remains the focus as you research and write your work.

Structure your argument

Guide your reader through your argument in a logical way. Think about what questions your reader might have. If you can answer these questions through your argument, it will seem more convincing. Present both sides of the debate, along with your thoughts, linking together the different elements.

Include your own voice in your writing

Your voice will emerge through your discussion, interpretation, and evaluation of the sources. Here are some ways you can establish your voice in your writing:

1. Make your unattributed (not referenced) assertion at the start of paragraphs followed by evidence, findings, arguments from your sources.

Example:

"To date there is no well-established tool to measure divided attention in children. Current methods used to assess divided attention usually involve a variation of the CPT with an additional task included e.g. counting or listening to auditory stimuli (Salthouse, 2003)."

2. Explicitly tell your reader what the connections are between sources.

Example: "Smith (2009), however takes a different approach..."

3. Explicitly tell your reader what the connections are between those sources and your main assertion.

Example: "Netzer's argument challenges the term 'renaissance', as it displays repeatedly the use of classical imagery during the medieval period, therefore illustrating that canonising a chronological period can be disadvantageous as characteristics of the term."

4. Use language to show your strong agreement/disagreement/cautious agreement with sources.

Example: "Smith's (2009) findings show a clear...A serious weakness with this argument is...The research suggests..."

4. Include "so what" summary sentences (evaluative sentences) at the end of paragraphs.

Example: "This shows that it is detrimental to strictly categorise chronological periods with artistic genres, as many art historians suggest different movements were taking place in separate geographical locations at the same time."

 

_______________

 

1. Use paraphrasing

This method is the perfect solution when you know you have to cite the original source but can’t find it anywhere. You can’t just rewrite someone else’s thoughts and present them as your own. This isn’t how you avoid plagiarism. Even when you’re paraphrasing, you need to attribute ideas to their original authors. Just start the sentence by referencing the author and then continue sharing the thoughts or ideas.

2. Quote sources

When quoting, you need to make sure that the quote is written exactly as it appears in the primary source. And, of course, there have to be quotation marks. To make sure you’ve acknowledged the author of the extract, add a citation in brackets right after the quote you’re using.

You also have to keep in mind the length of the quote. Quotes longer than 40 words, or "block quotes", are typically no good. Having too many quotes in your work isn’t recommended either, as it makes the readers question your level of expertise.

3. Cite materials

This is one of the most effective ways to avoid plagiarism. This is because a proper citation contains all the necessary information about the original work and its author. To be able to cite the materials correctly, you need to be aware of the guidelines for the citation style your institution is using.

4. Add references

A reference list contains all the works that you’ve cited in your paper. A list of references also has a specific format, so you need to make sure that you’re using the proper style guidelines. The information in the reference list includes the author’s name, date of publication, title, and source. The exact order of those items and the presence of additional details are determined by the particular citation style you’re using.

5. Get invested in your topic

One of the most common reasons why students plagiarize works is that they aren’t interested enough in the topic they’re writing about. As a result, they don’t conduct enough research or put enough effort into finding original sources. It all ends up in a paper full of plagiarism. If the topic you have to write about isn’t interesting enough, try to find at least some aspects that capture your attention. This way, you’ll pay more attention while conducting research and gathering resources, both of which will improve the overall quality of your work.

6. Know what not to cite

To know when to cite sources, you also need to understand what does not need to be cited. You don’t have to cite information that is common knowledge or facts about well-known events. Personal experiences and urban legends also belong to that category. There is, however, one thing to remember, and that’s copyright. While common knowledge or facts themselves can’t be copyrighted, original or unique wordings can. So, even if you’ve found well-known facts, make sure to take extra precautions and interpret them in your own words.

7. Plan your work well before starting to write

When you have a well-designed and thought-through plan of your future work, you’ll be able to balance everything out much better. You’ll be able to see how many of your own thoughts are going to be in your paper and how much you’re planning to cite from other authors. A plan will also show whether or not you’ve found all the original sources you’ll need for your work.

8. Evaluate all the sources

Apart from finding the primary source of the information, you also need to evaluate how good that source actually is. This rule of thumb also applies to regular resources, not just online ones. So, to make sure the resource is worth using in your paper, pay attention to the following:

  • How good is the author’s reputation in your field?
  • Where did the author take the information from? What connection does he or she have with other organizations?
  • When was the original work published? Is it still relevant and up to date?
  • How well does the author support his or her own ideas? What’s the overall quality of writing, and how accurate is the provided information?

Considering these questions will help you decide whether the resource you’re about to use is reputable enough. Including questionable resources in your paper only increases the chances of having plagiarized information.

9. Don’t forget about online resources

Sources from the Internet also need to be cited properly. Many academic papers are published in online scientific magazines and periodicals. But they still fall under the protection of copyright laws, thus it must be cited. Also, before adding a citation, you need to make sure that the resource you’re referencing is the original one – not just one on its reference list. Otherwise, keep searching until you’ve found the primary source.

10. Leave enough time for research

Research is a vital part of the entire writing process. You could even consider it to be a separate task because of its great importance. Having enough time for writing and researching is by far the best way to avoid plagiarism. Time allows you to gather a great number of relevant resources, instead of using only a couple for your whole work.

One recommended practice is to write bulleted lists as you research, pointing out all the key ideas and findings from various works. Then you should take a break and return after some time.
It will also allow you to spot any flaws or inconsistencies, fill in any possible gaps in your argument, and rephrase some of your statements. You can do all of this without hurting the quality of your paper and without increasing the chances of including plagiarized material. All you need is more time for research.

All it really takes to avoid plagiarism is to focus on being as original as possible and sharing your own thoughts. So, to be able to succeed, you just need to have the right mindset. And with the help of our tips, your paper will be flawlessly free of plagiarism.

Sumy State University Library
Rymskoho-Korsakova str., 2,
40007, Ukraine, Sumy

  +38 (0542) 33-10-39
  info@library.sumdu.edu.ua

When using materials from the site of the Library of the SumDU, the reference to the resource is necessarily!

library.sumdu.edu.ua