Small guide to write a scientific paper

We’ve all been there sooner or later. It usually happens during the first year of a doctorate: after spending months on our first research, it is time to write and publish the results. And so the problems begin. Yes, because nobody has ever taught us to write a scientific article. At most we did a lab report, certainly we wrote a thesis. But a scientific article is a different thing.


We have four pages available that seem tiny compared to what we would like to write: how can we condense our very important research in just four pages?

This guide aims to help you take the first steps in writing a scientific article. I write it on the basis of my experience, and above all of the series of corrections that I received in the beginning from my boss and the reviewers.

1. The importance of your research

One of the hardest things to decide is what to include in the article and what to leave out. We are so proud of our results, which cost us months of sweat in the laboratory that we do not accept having to select the material. Admit it, if you would publish at least twenty pages for yourself.

First important news: your search probably does not count for anything.

I know, you think you’ve made a fundamental discovery in your field, but I assure you that most of the time it’s just big yawning stuff. When you have spent a few years doing research, you will realize it for yourself. In the meantime, I’ll tell you. So stop going around saying you’re a scientist because you write a scientific article. The article you are about to write will most likely be one of the many articles published continuously that do not interest anyone.

Ok, now you can cry.

Finished? Well, now that you understand that the relevance of your article in the scientific world will be almost zero, we can continue with more knowledge of the importance of what you are doing.

Resume the material to be published and look at it with this new awareness: do you see now that you can leave out a lot of material? If yes we are on the right track. If instead you continue to believe that it is all very important to start from the street and convince yourself – this time seriously – that your research counts for nothing.

2. The importance of details

Now that the four pages seem a completely adequate measure to describe our work, we must decide what to write and what not. Usually the biggest mistake that trainee researchers make is to take the details of the experiments they have made for granted. You think it is useless to put them, you would like to run immediately to the results to show how beautiful they are (oh, yes, how proud you are of the results). But no, you have to linger on the details of how you did the experiments.

3. You have to give it all the elements, everyone.

To understand, it’s like if you write a recipe to make the cake. You can’t say “put some milk”, you have to specify how much milk. You can’t say “put in the oven”, you have to tell what temperature. If the results can vary depending on the oven, you must also tell me if you need a ventilated oven, traditional, microwave, gas …

So for your experiments. Be extremely pedantic, don’t be afraid to write details that seem insignificant to you. If the result of the experiment depends on them then write them. Don’t take them for granted even if everyone uses that tools or everyone using it that way. It is not obvious, write it. Write every single ingredient and pass the rice.

4. What not to put

One of the most common mistakes of novice researchers is to write little about the details of the experiments (the ones we talked about above) but at the same time he writes beyond measure on the results. It’s instinctive, because we are all proud of our results and we want to highlight them, but it’s wrong.

The 4 points above illustrate what needs to be considered when it comes to writing a scientific journal. The scientific journal in question is not only limited to scientific experiments in the laboratory. That can also be obtained from field studies, for example surveys related to psychology. In some cases, writing a journal about psychology can be quite difficult and you might be advised to access help pages such as

In the end, every scientific journal written has to follow academic rules. Hopefully this article is useful to add to your academic insight.