How to Write a Research Paper

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• Getting ready with data • First draft • Structure of a scientific paper • Selecting a journal • Submission • Revision and galley proof Disclaimer: The suggestions and remarks in this presentation are based on personal research experience. Research practices and approaches vary. Exercise your own judgment regarding the suitability of the content. –P. Kamat

Getting ready with data
Gather all important data, analyses, plots and tables Organize results so that they follow a logical sequence (this may or may not be in the order of experiments conducted) Consolidate data plots and create figures for the manuscript (Limit the number of total figures (6-8 is usually a good number). Include additional data, multimedia in the Supporting Information.) Discuss the data with your advisor and note down important points

Important: KNOW the focus of your paper It takes a wise man to know whether he has found a ROPE or LOST A MULE. - Anonymous quote


First draft
Identify two or three important findings emerging from the experiments. Make them the central theme of the article. Note good and bad writing styles in the literature. Some are simple and easy to follow, some are just too complex. Note the readership of the journal that you are considering to publish your work Prepare figures, schemes and tables in a professional manner (Pay attention to quantification of data accuracy, significant digits, error bars,) 0.001 0.00100 1x10-3 -- one sig fig 1.00x10-3 -- three sig figs

Structure of a scientific paper
Title Abstract
TOC Graphics

Experimental Section
(Some papers require this section to be at the end)

Results and Discussion Conclusions Acknowledgments References Supporting Information

Compose a title that is simple, attractive and accurately reflects the investigation -Phrases to avoid: Investigation, Study, Novel, Facile etc. - Avoid Acronyms that are known only to specialized community

Which of these two titles make you read the paper?

Also try to get it right

First couple of sentences should focus on what the study is about. Include major findings in a style that a general readership can read and understand (i.e., avoid detailed experimental procedures and data.) Keep it short and effective. -Be creative in generating curiosity Large Aggregated Ions Found in Some Protic Ionic Liquids Danielle F. Kennedy and Calum J. Drummond J. Phys. Chem. B, 2009, 113 (17), pp 5690–5693

Large aggregated parent ions, for example, C8A7+ (C = cation and A = anion), have been observed within some protic ionic liquids (PILs) using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). We have shown that the formation and size of aggregates is dependent on the nature of the anion and cation. Solvent structuring in select PILs through aggregation can contribute to their classification as “poor ionic liquids” and can also strongly influence the entropic component to the free energy of amphiphile selfassembly in select PILs.

Keep it simple and informative

TOC Graphics
A scheme or figure to convey the theme of paper

Graph Make use of TOC Graphics to convey the theme versus Scheme

Structure of a scientific paper
• Start the section with a general background of the topic. • Add 2-3 paragraphs that discuss previous work. • Point out issues that are being addressed in the present work.

Experimental Section
• Divide this section into Materials & Methods, Characterization, Measurements and Data analysis

Results and Discussion
(These two sections can be combined or separate) • Describe the results in detail and include a healthy, detailed discussion • The order of figures should follow the discussion themes and not the sequence they were conducted • Discuss how your data compare or contrast with previous results. • Include schemes, photographs to enhance the scope of discussion Avoid • Excessive presentation of...
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