The Challenge of Writing Science EssaysFriday, May 7th, 2010
Some tips on how to prepare your science essay
It is not so simple to write science essays, whether they belong to biology, physics, chemistry, geography or astronomy. Anyway, they are quite a challenge. Most essays are conversational and try to persuade the reader through a series of writing techniques. But the main purpose of the science essay is to inform the reader of certain facts. That is why the structure and format of such and essay is different from other type of writing assignments. Keeping in mind these key differences is basic when working on a scientific essay. Here we provide you some tips.
Do not depend on your good writing
It is true, you can’t rely on fashion words and a proper sentence structure if you want a high mark (and you do, don’t you?). When it comes to science written assignments, you need both good structure and good content. So we suggest you to start by reading a couple of articles first, in order to find out how do scientific writers catch the reader’s attention and how these essays teach you new things. Then, all you have to do is choose an appropriate topic and start working!
Step by step
The first thing you must do is to determine the purpose of your science essay. Are you answering an essay question? Do you attempt to explain some unexpected findings in a lab experiment? Or are you exploring research conducted by other scientists? Once you have chosen your purpose, it is time to organize your writing with an outline. Do not forget to include the list of quoted authors, materials and methods of research you followed. The last thing you should write (even if it goes first) is the abstract of the essay.
Keys for an appropriate scientific essay structure
The structure of your essay should guide the reader through the subject in an accessible way, linking all new knowledge with previous items. In the introduction you set the scene and establish the main topic and hypothesis. Then, you may provide an example in order to catch the reader’s attention. Use headings for the separate sections, that way the paper will be more easily readable. Finally, add a conclusion to put the work in perspective. Always suggest that further work is necessary, leaving the door open for a more research on the topic.
In all good science essays there is a significant amount of paratext (the elements that provide a framework for the written text). For examples, most of the times numbers and figures from the essay can be illustrated with clear graphics and charts. Photographs and pictures are also very useful in these essays: they are a great way of showing the results of a lab experiment. Believe us: teachers will certainly appreciate these extra elements!
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