What Makes a Good Scientific EssayFriday, April 23rd, 2010
Scientific essays are not so different to other essays
If you were requested to write a scientific essay, you may at first feel a little scared, since “scientific” seems as a very serious word. Well, actually, these essays are not so different to other types of essay. It is true, you can’t rely on fashion words and a proper sentence structure if you want a high mark (and who doesn’t?). When it comes to scientific written assignments, you need both good structure and good content. Read 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, choose an appropriate topic and start working!
A good structure
The scientific essay structure should guide the reader through the subject in an accessible way, step bu step and linking new knowledge with previous items. Of course, you need an introduction to set the scene and establish the main topic and hypothesis. You may start with an example in order to catch the reader’s attention at once. For example, if you are writing an essay on earthquakes, don’t start writing about seismic waves, but about the terrible effects an earthquake had on Haiti last January. Use headings for the separate sections of the essay, and divide the longer sections into sub-sections. That way the paper will be more easily readable. Finally, don’t forget to add a conclusion to put the work in perspective. Always suggest that further work is necessary, leaving the door open for a new research on your same topic.
Graphics and charts
In every scientific work there should be a significant amount of paratext (the elements that provide a framework for the written text). Since you are working with lots of facts and many of them can be measured in real figures, the typical paratext in this kind of essay is a graphic. Most of the times, numbers and figures in the essay can be illustrated with clear graphics and charts.
Believe us: teachers will certainly appreciate them! Not only because they make your work easily readable and clearer; also because you demonstrate with them your abilities in math and computer science, since you can’t just copy any graphic from a book as you can do with a map. For all these reasons, graphics and charts will certainly get you some extra credit in scientific essays.
Be extra careful when quoting!
Almost every time, scientific essays must refer to others work and this requires citation, a method used to attribute or give credit to the authors. That means you should include information about the sources of reference such as author’s name and year of publication within the contents of essay. Quotation marks are mandatory, otherwise you could be accused of plagiarism.
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