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    As you do your research, follow your background research plan and take notes from your sources of information. These notes will help you write a better summary. The purpose of your research paper is to give you the information to understand why your experiment turns out the way it does. The research paper should include:

      The history of similar experiments or inventions Definitions of all important words and concepts that describe your experiment Answers to all your background research plan questions Mathematical formulas, if any, that you will need to describe the results of your experiment

    For every fact or picture in your research paper you should follow it with a citation telling the reader where you found the information. A citation is just the name of the author and the date of the publication placed in parentheses like this: (Author, date). This is called a reference citation when using APA format and parenthetical reference when using the MLA format. Its purpose is to document a source briefly, clearly, and accurately. If you copy text from one of your sources, then place it in quotation marks in addition to following it with a citation. Be sure you understand and avoid plagiarism! Do not copy another person’s work and call it your own. Always give credit where credit is due! Most teachers want a research paper to have these sections, in order:

      Title page (with the title of your project, your name, and the date) Your report Bibliography Check with your teacher for additional requirements such as page numbers and a table of contents

Year after year, students find that the report called the research paper is the part of the science fair project where they learn the most. So, take it from those who preceded you, the research paper you are preparing to write is super valuable.

Nội dung chính

    What Is a Research Paper? Special Information to Include in Your Research Paper Writing the Research PaperNote Taking How to Organize Your Research PaperWhen and How to Footnote or Reference SourcesReference Citation FormatExamples of Reference Citations using APA FormatHow to Format Your Research PaperResearch Paper ChecklistWENTING ZHAO: Be focused and avoid jargonBOZHI TIAN: Have a process and develop your styleANKITA ANIRBAN: Timeliness and figures make a huge differenceYOOJIN CHOI: Stay updated and be open to suggestionsPAULA MARTIN-GONZALEZ: Make good use of technologyVideo liên quan

What Is a Research Paper?

The short answer is that the research paper is a report summarizing the answers to the research questions you generated in your background research plan. It’s a review of the relevant publications (books, magazines, websites) discussing the topic you want to investigate.

The long answer is that the research paper summarizes the theory behind your experiment. Science fair judges like to see that you understand why your experiment turns out the way it does. You do library and Internet research so that you can make a prediction of what will occur in your experiment, and then whether that prediction is right or wrong, you will have the knowledge to understand what caused the behavior you observed.

From a practical perspective, the research paper also discusses the techniques and equipment that are appropriate for investigating your topic. Some methods and techniques are more reliable because they have been used many times. Can you use a procedure for your science fair project that is similar to an experiment that has been done before? If you can obtain this information, your project will be more successful. As they say, you don’t want to reinvent the wheel!

If these reasons sound to you like the reasons we gave for doing background research, you’re right! The research paper is simply the “write-up” of that research.

Special Information to Include in Your Research Paper

Many science experiments can be explained using mathematics. As you write your research paper, you’ll want to make sure that you include as much relevant math as you understand. If a simple equation describes aspects of your science fair project, include it.

Writing the Research Paper

Note Taking

As you read the information in your bibliography, you’ll want to take notes. Some teachers recommend taking notes on note cards. Each card contains the source the top, with key points listed or quoted underneath. Others prefer typing notes directly into a word processor. No matter how you take notes, be sure to keep track of the sources for all your key facts.

How to Organize Your Research Paper

The best way to speed your writing is to do a little planning. Before starting to write, think about the best order to discuss the major sections of your report. Generally, you will want to begin with your science fair project question so that the reader will know the purpose of your paper. What should come next? Ask yourself what information the reader needs to learn first in order to understand the rest of the paper. A typical organization might look like this:

    Your science fair project question or topic
    Definitions of all important words, concepts, and equations that describe your experiment
    The history of similar experiments
    Answers to your background research questions

When and How to Footnote or Reference Sources

When you write your research paper you might want to copy words, pictures, diagrams, or ideas from one of your sources. It is OK to copy such information as long as you reference it with a citation. If the information is a phrase, sentence, or paragraph, then you should also put it in quotation marks. A citation and quotation marks tell the reader who actually wrote the information.

For a science fair project, a reference citation (also known as author-date citation) is an accepted way to reference information you copy. Citation referencing is easy. Simply put the author’s last name, the year of publication, and page number (if needed) in parentheses after the information you copy. Place the reference citation the end of the sentence but before the final period.

Make sure that the source for every citation item copied appears in your bibliography.

Reference Citation Format

Examples of Reference Citations using APA Format

Below are examples of how reference citations would look in your paper using the APA format.

“If you copy a sentence from a book or magazine article by a single author, the reference will look like this. A comma separates the page number (or numbers) from the year” (Bloggs, 2002, p.. 37).

“If you copy a sentence from a book or magazine article by more than one author, the reference will look like this” (Bloggs & Smith, 2002, p.. 37).

“Sometimes the author will have two publications in your bibliography for just one year. In that case, the first publication would have an ‘a’ after the publication year, the second a ‘b’, and so on. The reference will look like this” (Nguyen, 2000b).

“When the author is unknown, the text reference for such an entry may substitute the title, or a shortened version of the title for the author” (The Chicago Manual, 1993).

“For reference citations, only direct quotes need page numbers” (Han, 1995).

“Some sources will not have dates” (Blecker, n.d.).

When you work hard to write something, you don’t want your friends to loaf and just copy it. Every author feels the same way.

Plagiarism is when someone copies the words, pictures, diagrams, or ideas of someone else and presents them as his or her own. When you find information in a book, on the Internet, or from some other source, you MUST give the author of that information credit in a citation. If you copy a sentence or paragraph exactly, you should also use quotation marks around the text.

The surprising thing to many students is how easy it is for parents, teachers, and science fair judges to detect and prove plagiarism. So, don’t go there, and don’t make us try to hunt you down!


How to Format Your Research Paper

Here is information on how to format your research paper.



Here is a sample research paper in MLA format.


Research Paper Checklist

    CAREER FEATURE 04 December 2022 Correction 09 December 2022

Credit: Getty

Literature reviews are important resources for scientists. They provide historical context for a field while offering opinions on its future trajectory. Creating them can provide inspiration for one’s own research, as well as some practice in writing. But few scientists are trained in how to write a review — or in what constitutes an excellent one. Even picking the appropriate software to use can be an involved decision (see ‘Tools and techniques’). So Nature asked editors and working scientists with well-cited reviews for their tips.

WENTING ZHAO: Be focused and avoid jargon

Assistant professor of chemical and biomedical engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

When I was a research student, review writing improved my understanding of the history of my field. I also learnt about unmet challenges in the field that triggered ideas.

For example, while writing my first review1 as a PhD student, I was frustrated by how poorly we understood how cells actively sense, interact with and adapt to nanoparticles used in drug delivery. This experience motivated me to study how the surface properties of nanoparticles can be modified to enhance biological sensing. When I transitioned to my postdoctoral research, this question led me to discover the role of cell-membrane curvature, which led to publications and my current research focus. I wouldn’t have started in this area without writing that review.

A common problem for students writing their first reviews is being overly ambitious. When I wrote mine, I imagined producing a comprehensive summary of every single type of nanomaterial used in biological applications. It ended up becoming a colossal piece of work, with too many papers discussed and without a clear way to categorize them. We published the work in the end, but decided to limit the discussion strictly to nanoparticles for biological sensing, rather than covering how different nanomaterials are used in biology.

My advice to students is to accept that a review is unlike a textbook: it should offer a more focused discussion, and it’s OK to skip some topics so that you do not distract your readers. Students should also consider editorial deadlines, especially for invited reviews: make sure that the review’s scope is not so extensive that it delays the writing.

A good review should also avoid jargon and explain the basic concepts for someone who is new to the field. Although I trained as an engineer, I’m interested in biology, and my research is about developing nanomaterials to manipulate proteins the cell membrane and how this can affect ageing and cancer. As an ‘outsider’, the reviews that I find most useful for these biological topics are those that speak to me in accessible scientific language.

Bozhi Tian likes to get a variety of perspectives into a review.Credit: Aleksander Prominski

BOZHI TIAN: Have a process and develop your style

Associate professor of chemistry, University of Chicago, Illinois.

In my lab, we start by asking: what is the purpose of this review? My reasons for writing one can include the chance to contribute insights to the scientific community and identify opportunities for my research. I also see review writing as a way to train early-career researchers in soft skills such as project management and leadership. This is especially true for lead authors, because they will learn to work with their co-authors to integrate the various sections into a piece with smooth transitions and no overlaps.

After we have identified the need and purpose of a review article, I will form a team from the researchers in my lab. I try to include students with different areas of expertise, because it is useful to get a variety of perspectives. For example, in the review ‘An atlas of nano-enabled neural interfaces’2, we had authors with backgrounds in biophysics, neuroengineering, neurobiology and materials sciences focusing on different sections of the review.

After this, I will discuss an outline with my team. We go through multiple iterations to make sure that we have scanned the literature sufficiently and do not repeat discussions that have appeared in other reviews. It is also important that the outline is not decided by me alone: students often have fresh ideas that they can bring to the table. Once this is done, we proceed with the writing.

I often remind my students to imagine themselves as ‘artists of science’ and encourage them to develop how they write and present information. Adding more words isn’t always the best way: for example, I enjoy using tables to summarize research progress and suggest future research trajectories. I’ve also considered including short videos in our review papers to highlight key aspects of the work. I think this can increase readership and accessibility because these videos can be easily shared on social-truyền thông platforms.

ANKITA ANIRBAN: Timeliness and figures make a huge difference

Editor, Nature Reviews Physics.

One of my roles as a journal editor is to evaluate proposals for reviews. The best proposals are timely and clearly explain why readers should pay attention to the proposed topic.

It is not enough for a review to be a summary of the latest growth in the literature: the most interesting reviews instead provide a discussion about disagreements in the field.

Scientists often centre the story of their primary research papers around their figures — but when it comes to reviews, figures often take a secondary role. In my opinion, review figures are more important than most people think. One of my favourite review-style articles3 presents a plot bringing together data from multiple research papers (many of which directly contradict each other). This is then used to identify broad trends and suggest underlying mechanisms that could explain all of the different conclusions.

An important role of a review article is to introduce researchers to a field. For this, schematic figures can be useful to illustrate the science being discussed, in much the same way as the first slide of a talk should. That is why, Nature Reviews, we have in-house illustrators to assist authors. However, simplicity is key, and even without tư vấn from professional illustrators, researchers can still make use of many không lấy phí drawing tools to enhance the value of their review figures.

Yoojin Choi recommends that researchers be open to critiques when writing reviews.Credit: Yoojin Choi

YOOJIN CHOI: Stay updated and be open to suggestions

Research assistant professor, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon.

I started writing the review ‘Biosynthesis of inorganic nanomaterials using microbial cells and bacteriophages’4 as a PhD student in 2022. It took me one year to write the first draft because I was working on the review alongside my PhD research and mostly on my own, with tư vấn from my adviser. It took a further year to complete the processes of peer review, revision and publication. During this time, many new papers and even competing reviews were published. To provide the most up-to-date and original review, I had to stay abreast of the literature. In my case, I made use of Google Scholar, which I set to send me daily updates of relevant literature based on key words.

Through my review-writing process, I also learnt to be more open to critiques to enhance the value and increase the readership of my work. Initially, my review was focused only on using microbial cells such as bacteria to produce nanomaterials, which was the subject of my PhD research. Bacteria such as these are known as biofactories: that is, organisms that produce biological material which can be modified to produce useful materials, such as magnetic nanoparticles for drug-delivery purposes.

However, when the first peer-review report came back, all three reviewers suggested expanding the review to cover another type of biofactory: bacteriophages. These are essentially viruses that infect bacteria, and they can also produce nanomaterials.

The feedback eventually led me to include a discussion of the differences between the various biofactories (bacteriophages, bacteria, fungi and microalgae) and their advantages and disadvantages. This turned out to be a great addition because it made the review more comprehensive.

Writing the review also led me to an idea about using nanomaterial-modified microorganisms to produce chemicals, which I’m still researching now.

PAULA MARTIN-GONZALEZ: Make good use of technology

PhD student, University of Cambridge, UK.

Just before the coronavirus lockdown, my PhD adviser and I decided to write a literature review discussing the integration of medical imaging with genomics to improve ovarian cancer management.

As I was researching the review, I noticed a trend in which some papers were consistently being cited by many other papers in the field. It was clear to me that those papers must be important, but as a new thành viên of the field of integrated cancer biology, it was difficult to immediately find and read all of these ‘seminal papers’.

That was when I decided to code a small application to make my literature research more efficient. Using my code, users can enter a query, such as ‘ovarian cancer, computer tomography, radiomics’, and the application searches for all relevant literature archived in databases such as PubMed that feature these key words.

The code then identifies the relevant papers and creates a citation graph of all the references cited in the results of the search. The software highlights papers that have many citation relationships with other papers in the search, and could therefore be called seminal papers.

My code has substantially improved how I organize papers and has informed me of key publications and discoveries in my research field: something that would have taken more time and experience in the field otherwise. After I shared my code on GitHub, I received feedback that it can be daunting for researchers who are not used to coding. Consequently, I am hoping to build a more user-friendly interface in a form of a web page, akin to PubMed or Google Scholar, where users can simply input their queries to generate citation graphs.

Most reference managers on the market offer similar capabilities when it comes to providing a Microsoft Word plug-in and producing different citation styles. But depending on your working preferences, some might be more suitable than others.

Here is a comparison of the more popular collaborative writing tools, but there are other options, including Fidus Writer, Manuscript.io, Authorea and Stencila.

doi: ://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-020-03422-x


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