How To Start Writing Your Scientific Paper: Tips For Non-English Speakers. Tip # 2.

Tip Number 2: Write the conclusions first!

This may seem counterintuitive but I have found the most easiest and shortest section to complete is the Conclusions section. This section is usually 2 or 3 paragraphs. For short papers, this section may even be just 1 paragraph.

Even before you start writing your paper, you should know what the conclusions are. Essentially your paper is an essay presenting facts and reasoning why you came to the conclusions. So you should know what the conclusions are before you finish writing the scientific paper. If you find yourself not knowing what the conclusions of your paper are, then it means you are not ready to start writing. And it also means you have not spent enough time analyzing your data and your essay points to reach certain conclusions.

The conclusions is like a summary of the key messages of your paper. In my first post, on Tip number 1, I wrote about knowing the key messages of your paper. You must know what the key messages your paper is presenting to the readers. The rest of the paper is essentially showing how you came to those conclusions and sometimes make an attempt to generalize to a large population.

So again, the shortest and easiest section of the scientific paper is the conclusions, in my experience anyway. If you have a better or an alternative approach, I’d love to hear about it. Start the process by identifying your key messages and write the conclusions section of the paper first. Do not leave it to the last! You will find knowing the conclusions helps you stay focused in the writing of the other sections.


About rodney itaki

Medical doctor and public health specialist from Papua New Guinea.
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