A Scientific Article is a detailed exposé of a thorough Scientific Research or Review Material. The primary purpose of Writing Scientific Articles is for publication, and depending on the type of article and for whom (journal) you are writing, the guiding principles are different.
Types of Scientific Articles
There are two main types of Scientific Articles; Scientific Research and Scientific Review Articles.
1. Scientific Research Articles
Also referred to as an Original Research or Original Article, a scientific research article is a paper written after a thorough laboratory evaluation of a novel hypothesis, presenting original, unbiased findings. Constitutive parts of this type of manuscript are Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, and References. As an expert independent scientific writing freelancer, I do not like to use the IMRAD acronym because it leaves out the abstract, which is an integral part of an article. So, let’s use AIMRAD instead to represent each of those essential parts.
Some Scientific Research Articles have the Results and Discussion sections combined, while others have the Discussion and Conclusion sections as one, Conclusion being the last paragraph. Some other nonscientific parts of your paper, like acknowledgments, sponsorship, etc., are required in some cases, depending on the journal publishing your manuscript. However, that is not to concern you until publication time, except you have received an invitation for publication from a specific journal and are applying the rules while writing.
An elaboration on the Parts of a Scientific Research Article
Title: This is the heading of your article; it captures the entire ‘raison d’etre’ of your research. Most, if not all, journals require a title page. Contents of this page vary from journal to journal, but the title of your manuscript almost always repeats itself at the start of your script proper on the second page, or page one of your article as it often is termed.
Abstract: A scientific abstract is an accurate summary of your entire research. We already looked at this at length. For various types and how to write them, refer to the previous post.
Introduction: Constitutes an array of arguments that give you a reason for thinking that your hypothesis is worth pursuing. The section ends with a statement of objective.
Materials and methods: What materials did you use and what were the techniques you deployed?
Results: Here, you report the outcome of your research, irrespective of whether it matched your expectations or not. It is best to avoid discussing them here, except if the results and discussion sections are joint. However, there is a smart way of introducing your results using previous findings without actually discussing them; this gives you more credibility. This type of approach is widespread in the medical field.
Discussion: Elaborate on your findings, justifying them using previous literature, as well as giving probable causes for any nuances. If possible, make your results more credible with a proposal of (a) mechanism(s) of action that you or some other person could test in the future. Avoid inundating this section just with literature and instead focus on substantiating your findings more, momentarily backing them up with past publications.
Conclusion: Give a conclusion that relates back to your objective. With some scientific journals, you may also be required to state pros and cons of your methodology and outcomes and proposing perspectives, but not always. If no indications are available as to their requirement, just go ahead and list them to be on the safer side of things. Take care not to make it another discussion. One short paragraph is enough.
Note that discussing the advantages and shortcomings of your research can also be done at some point in the discussion section; this all depends on how you formulate it.
References: List all the literature you made use of here, according to the requirement of the journal you are targeting. Some journals now give authors the option to arrange references according to your preference upon submission. Giving you this choice does not, however, mean that you should mix styles; choose one and stick to it, whether it be AMA, APA, or others; consistency of style is always mandatory, even if not spelled out.
2. Scientific Review Articles
A scientific review article is an assimilation of already published findings, with the view of establishing a common point of appreciation and proving a point. In some cases, a review paper serves to determine the frequency, depth, and progress of research in a particular area. The results of such reviews often identify if it is worth pursuing more outcomes in the same area. The parts that make up this publication type are usually Abstract, Introduction, Body (contains as many headings and subheadings as you and your target journal would require), and Conclusion.
Some review articles require the writer’s sense of Critique. In that case, your review must state the facts, offer constructive appraisals, and provide your opinions and/or perspectives. The other type of review articles only requires you to put together some publications to prove a point. Here, you have no obligation to offer evaluations, but you have to avoid bias. Avoiding bias means you have to report contradictory reports to your claims, if they exist, and not just those that suit you.
You might want to know what type of review article you need before you begin. Your objective, and thus, the topic of choice already makes that easy for you. If not sure, then you should probably consult the potential destination journals on what their authors’ requirements are.