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POM CHEM 115 (SP 2017)

Tips for Writting and Formatting Your Paper

Here are some pointers for what makes a good results section in a scientific paper from the Pomona Chemistry department. For an example of these pointers in context, see your Sakai site. 

  • Use topic sentences to make it very clear what a section is about.Topic sentences are a general statement about the content of that paragraph, and the reader expects the section to be on that topic. 
  • The results section is organized by procedure or experiment, and major results are given for each.
  • In most cases, background information is included only in the introduction. In some cases, however, depending on the flow of the paper, it can make sense to provide some background information before explaining your results. You can tell when someone has done this - and where you do this - by the presence of references (aka citations). 
  •  There should also be transition sentences, which show a logical flow between sections. 

Paraphrasing and Plagiarism

What is paraphrasing? What is a summary? Academic writing is tricky because you you need to rely on the work that has come before but also to do something original. In this complex process, you need to be able to correctly and accurately give credit to other researchers and scientists when you use their work. Quoting is very rarely used in scientific or technical writing, so paraphrasing skills will serve you well. 

The resources here are useful starting points on finding more information on how to paraphrase. If you have any questions, reach out to your lab instructor or your course librarian

What Should Your Paper Look Like?

This semester you will need to write a scientific paper. Papers written in the sciences vary dramatically from papers that you might have written in a first year course because they're designed to communicate a different type of information, and to communicate it as quickly as possible. What does that look like? Have a look at this image below, which is based on the template you will be using to format your final assignment. 

For help with using the template itself, download it from your Sakai site and follow the instructions. It's a bit finicky, but is based on the format for an actual journal. See your lab manual for more specific details about writing your paper.  

Information adapted from your lab manual and from Bates College, "The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper” Bates College Biology Department.