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Writing a Scientific Paper

Discussion of how to understand and write different sections of a scientific paper. Discussions of how to write Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Data, and Discussion.

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What is a "good" title?

The title will be read by many people. Only a few will read the entire paper, therefore all words in the title should be chosen with care. Too short a title is not helpful to the potential reader. However too long a title can sometimes be even less meaningful. Remember a title is not an abstract. Also a title is not a sentence.

• Fewest possible words that describe the contents of the paper.
• Avoid waste words like "Studies on", or "Investigations on"
• Use specific terms rather than general
• Watch your word order and syntax
• Avoid abbreviations and jargon


"Title Checklist" from: How to Write a Good Scientific Paper. Chris A. Mack. SPIE. 2018.


 The title should be clear and informative, and should reflect the aim and approach of the work.

 The title should be as specific as possible while still describing the full range of the work. Does the title, seen in isolation, give a full yet concise and specific indication of the work reported?

 Do not mention results or conclusions in the title.

 Avoid: overly clever or punny titles that will not fare well with search engines or international audiences; titles that are too short to be descriptive or too long to be read; jargon, acronyms, or trademarked terms. 

Other Hints for Writing a Title

  • Whenever possible, use a declarative rather than a neutral title
  • Don't end your title with a question mark?
  • Begin with the keywords
  • Use verbs instead of abstract nouns
  • Avoid abbrev. in the title

From: How to Write and Illustrate a Scientific Paper (2008)