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While it's true that you'll eventually need to tailor your research for your target journal, which will provide specific author guidelines for formatting the paper (see, for example, author guidelines for publications by Elsevier, PLOS ONE, and m Bio), there are some formatting rules that are useful to know for your initial draft.
The four main elements of a scientific paper can be represented by the acronym IMRa D: introduction, methods, results, and discussion.
Other sections, along with a suggested length,* are listed in the table below. Now, let's go through the main sections you might have to prepare to format your paper.
You can also include a research question, hypothesis, and/or objectives at the end of this section.
FORMATTING TIPS: This is the part of your paper that explains how the research was done.
Report new developments in the field, and state how your research fills gaps in the existing research.
Focus on the specific problem you are addressing, along with its possible solutions, and outline the limitations of your study.Here you list citation information for each source you used (i.e., author names, date of publication, title of paper/chapter, title of journal/book, and publisher name and location).The list of references can be in alphabetical order (author–date style of citation) or in the order in which the sources are presented in the paper (numbered citations).That is, if you have too much data to fit in a (relatively) short research paper, move anything that's not essential to this section.FORMATTING TIPS: Aside from the overall format of your paper, there are still other details to watch out for.Resolve the hypothesis and/or research question you identified in the introduction.FORMATTING TIPS: Write a brief paragraph giving credit to any institution responsible for funding the study (e.g., through a fellowship or grant) and any individual(s) who contributed to the manuscript (e.g., technical advisors or editors).FORMATTING TIPS: Now that you've explained how you gathered your research, you've got to report what you actually found.In this section, outline the main findings of your research. You've carefully recorded your lab results and compiled a list of relevant sources.You've even written a draft of your scientific, technical, or medical paper, hoping to get published in a reputable journal.