High school is often the first time students are asked to write a serious science paper. Classes like chemistry and physics will ask them to step up their scientific research to a level that they haven’t before. A lot of work that goes into science papers has to do with the research end of the assignment. However, you still need to know how to effectively organize and tell yourself: “I have to write my paper and get a good grade!” Creating a good science paper will help you ace the assignment, but you may not know where to start.
Organize with Headings
Science papers normally have a lot of data or multiple points that need to be made. Maybe in the past you were okay with just writing an introduction, three supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. That won’t work anymore for most science papers. If you are comparing and contrasting multiple types of data, use headings to clearly organize each type. Typically, you’ll want to start with an abstract of what the paper is about, then introduce the topic, then discuss your experiment, then the results and then finally your conclusion.
Don’t Try to Be Hemmingway
A good science paper gets straight to the point. You don’t need to carry on with extra descriptions here. You’re not trying to win a literary award, you’re trying to prove your thesis. Use clear, short statements that cut to the heart of the matter. If you did enough research, all of your facts will still make for an interesting read even without the hyperbole.
Hedge Your Bets
Unless the result of your science experiment was conclusive, don’t use words like “never” or “always.” Don’t use any other absolute terms for that matter. Unless there is a 100 percent chance that something will or will not happen, you don’t want to say that in your paper, even if you feel your research is very convincing. Always have evidence to back up any absolute statements you do make. If you don’t have the evidence, hedge your bets and discuss both sides of the equation.
Know What Words Mean in the World of Science
There are certain words in the English language that have a different meaning within the world of science. Words like “variable” mean something quite specific, you don’t want to go throwing around scientific terms in your science paper if that’s not how you intended to use it. Doing this could confuse the teacher and get you a lower grade because they don’t understand your point. You should also write to your own grade level. If you don’t understand what a scientific term means, don’t try to force it into your writing. The fact that you don’t really understand will probably be clear to your teacher.
Don’t Use Slang Terms
More so than any other subject, science papers should sound absolutely professional. Try to write it as if you were being published in a scientific journal. Slang terms you use with your friends will look out of place and unprofessional in a science paper. Always write out the full version of words, don’t use abbreviations for anything like you’re sending a text message. This is good advice for any kind of school paper, but for science papers, it’s even more so. You want it to be readable but also very formal and straightforward, just like a scientific journal.
Writing a science paper in school for the first time can give some students a headache. However, following some simple tips can make the task much easier. Divide the paper into sections and clearly label each section with headers. Use concise prose and avoid slang terms. If you are not sure of your conclusion, don’t say so in your paper by using absolute terms.