How to write a research paper
BY ELISABETH PAIN
In the discussion, I try to explain how the data supports my assertions and how strongly. I feel it is the most difficult section since there is always a risk of under-explaining your data. Giving some thought to how to give a twist to the title or make it unique is important so the paper can be more easily found and remembered in the tide of research manuscripts. For the acknowledgments, I usually keep a spreadsheet with all the individuals and organizations that have supported the research. Finally, I consult with my supervisors or institute's legal office to fill in the declarations about funding, potential conflicts of interest, and compliance with ethical standards and reporting guidelines. The choice of journal may affect the length of the manuscript and order of the sections.
- Roshan Paladugu, postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
8. What is the most difficult section for the author to write?
【解析】According to the text, the author feels that the most difficult section to write is the discussion section. The reason for this is that there is always a risk of under-explaining your data, and the author tries to explain how the data supports their assertions and how strongly.
As the main author, at what point is it most crucial to get your supervisor and co-authors involved in the manuscript preparation?
My supervisor is involved throughout the writing process. We first make an outline of the manuscript together, as it allows us to have a better sense of what data and experiments are missing for the story and what we have left to do. Once we have this, we contact the co-authors and discuss our plan. Then we ask them to send us the finalized raw data, figures, and methods for the segments they have contributed to, and information about conflicts of interest and funding. We continue to seek their input until everyone is satisfied with the final manuscript. My supervisor and I usually select the target journal based on the novelty and direction of the story being told.
9. How does the author involve their supervisor in the writing process?
A. The supervisor provides raw data and figures for the manuscript.
B. The supervisor selects the target journal for publication.
C. The supervisor and author make an outline of the manuscript together.
D. The supervisor is responsible for contacting co-authors for input.
【解析】According to the text, the author involves their supervisor in the writing process by making an outline of the manuscript together. This allows them to have a better sense of what data and experiments are missing for the story and what they have left to do.
My Ph.D. mentor and I found a writing dance that worked for us. After chunks of time writing on my own, we would have 1 to 2 continuous hours of one-to-one meetings to make edits. They would explain the reasons for specific changes, which greatly helped me improve my writing skills and find my own voice. Once, in a frantic race toward submission, a conference call was held with three co-first authors (including me) and three co-senior authors present and each modifying different sections simultaneously online. This was highly effective - the manuscript was ready to submit in about a month.
10. How did the author and his Ph.D. mentor approach the writing process?
A. They continuously wrote together for long periods of time.
B. They held conference calls with multiple co-authors to make edits.
C. They had regular meetings to edit the manuscript and improve writing skills.
D. They worked on different sections of the manuscript separately using Google Docs.
【解析】According to the text, the author and his Ph.D. mentor held regular meeting to edit the manuscripts. During the meetings, the mentor would explain the reasons for specific changes, which greatly helped the author improve their writing skills and find their own voice.
I usually meet my co-authors after data interpretation with an outline for a manuscript. All the collaborators are asked for their input on the manuscript structure and about suitable journals. Once the manuscript is complete and gets reviewed by all co-authors at least three times - with one month’s deadline - I consider it ready to be pushed off to the journal.
11. When does the author typically ask for input from co-authors on the manuscript?
A. After data interpretation with an outline for a manuscript.
B. During the data collection phase.
C. Once the manuscript has been submitted to a journal.
D. After the manuscript has been reviewed by the editor.
【解析】According to the text, the author usually meets their co-authors after data interpretation with an outline for a manuscript. All collaborators are then asked for their input on the manuscript structure and suitable journals at this stage.
What writing challenges have you experienced, and what ways did you find around them? Are there some potential mistakes that you would like to warn early-career researchers against? Any further advice?
In the beginning, I can easily get tangled up in too much thinking and too little writing. I try to dive in with an idea and remind myself that at this stage it is more important to just get into the flow of writing, knowing that I can always rewrite and rearrange later. Whenever I get stuck, I will either read a bit of the literature or prepare figures for an hour. Beyond easing me into the academic style, these activities can provide new starting points for writing.
12. What does the author do when he gets stuck in the writing process?
A. Read a bit of the literature or prepare figures.
B. Stop writing and take a break.
C. Rewrite and rearrange what has already been written.
D. Continue to think until a new idea emerges.
【解析】According to the text, whenever the author gets stuck in the writing process, he either read a bit of the literature or prepare figures for an hour.
I find that taking a break or getting up to walk usually helps when I hit writer’s block. Sometimes, it can be several days before I start writing again. I use this in-between time to polish figures, collate my data sets, or complete additional control experiments.
13. What does the author do when she hits writer’s block?
A. Continue to write until the block is overcome.
B. Take a break or get up to walk.
C. Delete what has already been written and start over.
D. Seek input from co-authors.
【解析】According to the text, when the author hits writer’s block, she finds that taking a break or getting up to walk usually helps.
Do not limit the circle of people who provide comments on your manuscript to direct collaborators. Feedback from a colleague in a different discipline can help you identify issues you might otherwise overlook. Having an English native-speaker pal who can proofread your drafts and give comments can also be very helpful. Read other articles not only for their content but also to understand how they are structured. Also, make sure to check out the journal’s publishing guidelines and know the ethical standards in your field. But most importantly, be sure of what you are writing!
14. What is a potential benefit of receiving feedback on a manuscript from someone in a different discipline?
A. They can help to identify issues that might otherwise be overlooked.
B. They can proofread the manuscript for grammatical errors.
C. They can provide additional data for inclusion in the manuscript.
D. They can help to identify suitable journals for submission.
【解析】According to the text, a potential benefit of receiving feedback on a manuscript from someone in a different discipline is that they can help to identify issues that might otherwise be overlooked.
Adapted from https://www.science.org/content/article/how-write-research-paper
1. protocol n. a plan for performing a scientific experiment or medical treatment 方案
2. converge v. to move towards each other and meet at a point （向某一点）相交，会合。例如：There was a signpost where the two paths converged. 两条小路的相交处有一路标。
3. pertinent adj. appropriate to a particular situation 有关的；恰当的；相宜的。例如：a pertinent question / fact 有关的问题 / 事实
4. daunting adj. to make somebody feel nervous and less confident about doing something 使人气馁的