​Writing a research paper

The information here is general.  It includes useful tips for writing an interesting and fluid composition and suggested phrases.  For students- on the Graduate School website there is a detailed explanation of the physical structure of a thesis required by the Technion.

Research articles- the author presents theories that were developed, details problems and issues that were researched and lists the problems that have not been solved.  The article should describe the status of the research and its goals and must point out its results and highlight their importance to the subject.

Foreword

This section is usually subjective.  The author may note his relationship to the research and should explain why he decided to work on this subject, his research process and the problems that he encountered.

+ Examples:
  1. There is a worldwide increase in the number of people suffering from chronic, clinical depression.  During my year of national service in a hospital, I saw that there were patients that did not respond to their medications thereby necessitating higher dosages and/or combining several medications.  The numerous side affects and the high cost of this approach inspired me to search for a new method that would tailor the treatment for depression to the patient. This can be accomplished through a simple blood test that checks genetic factors.

  2. The roots of the following research that deals with architecture and anxiety, staring "here" in the Israeli lifestyle and in the local experiences.  Personal and professional experiences sharpened the perception of seclusion. A collection of personal and professional experiences sharpened the distinction in the trend of seclusion of the physical space and recognizably, the seclusion of educational structures, mainly elementary schools, which is not seen in Israel until two and three decades ago. A preliminary inquiry indicated that my personal feelings were shared by many, hence the motivation for this research.

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Thanks

+ Examples:
  1. I would like to thank my dear wife and children.

  2. I would like to thank my advisor who combined the freedom to learn, to experience and to research with a strict time schedule and the nano-robotic laboratory staff for their endless support- Gidi, Liat and of course, Shlomit.

  3. A very special thanks to my dear parents.

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MA and PhD theses- a Preface must proceed the Table of Contents.  The Preface should include the author's reasons for writing the thesis and statements of appreciation for financial, academic and personal support. When there is a Preface, the Introduction will only include a discussion of the research topic.

Introduction

The Introduction is an integral part of the work.  In academic papers the Introduction can be as long as a page.  Some authors consider it "Chapter 1", others do not.

The Introduction is an objective summary of the contents of the thesis.  If the author delineates the research subject in the Foreword, he will explain relevant background information in the Introduction.  If the author did not write a Foreword, the Introduction includes:

  • A description of the research topic and the limitations imposed regarding time, place and other relevant aspects

  • The goals of the research, questions that arose or arguments that the author wants to prove in the thesis

  • Detailed description of the topics on which the author has focused

  • An explanation of the premises on which the work is based

  • Methods- the way in which the author chose to present and develop his topic, the resources that he used (research and academic sources, legal documents, etc.)

  • The author may state the study limitations and mention what he did not include in the work.  For example, "The work is valid within certain boundaries but there are issues that could influence the presented outcome and these were not included in the discussion in the thesis." 

  • + Examples:
    1.  In this paper I will present a proposed method for producing electricity from solar panels, type CRX8, that were developed in our laboratory, for moderate use.  Additional apparatuses, type LF540 and others, work on a system that produces for the nation and therefore, they will not be included in this paper.

    2. I researched the possible synthesis of the substance DL8435 and its enantiomer in the biological system of yeast.  I decided not to deal with the application of this system to germs because of cell poisoning which was reported in other research.

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  • When the author uses terms that are only specific to the topic or abbreviations, he must explain them in the Introduction.
  • + Example:

    CF- cystic fibrosis
    LOC- lab on chip
    WB- Western block
    PEM- proton exchange membrane

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  • The language used in the Introduction should be in the future tense: "I will deal with …", "I will discuss …", "I will survey …", etc.  It is also appropriate to write "The article will deal with …", "The goal/purpose of this work is …", etc.

+ Examples:
  1.  In this research paper I will survey all the methods available today to produce electricity via biological photovoltaic cells and I will compare their efficiency in minimal light conditions to simulate the conditions of the earth's polar areas during most of the year.

  2.  This paper will deal with the examination and description of a new method developed in our laboratory to recycle water using advanced oxidation and a new carrier. 

  3. I will discuss the gender differences in the willingness to carry out a research mission in the study of physics among 12th graders. I will examine these differences and review the literature known to date in Israel.

  4. In this work I would like to emphasize via creativity and local architectural events, and especially by way of educational structures, the manifestation of anxiety and how society deals with this.

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  • Do not include conclusions in the Introduction.

  • + Example:

    It seems certain that the alloy we developed can withstand temperatures above 800 degrees in a vacuum chamber. - This is a conclusion and should not be included in the Introduction.  The same goes for "we proved", "observations showed that", "the results show", etc.

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Defining the subject- the opening paragraph

In the opening paragraph the author presents a general overview of his subject, defining it and delineating it. 

A dramatic opening


In order to arouse interest, awaken curiosity or create suspense, the author could begin by describing a particular event or by using a quotation.

+ Example:
  1. Avner, aged 66, began to suffer from depression after the tragic death of his son.  Two months after this heartrending event Avner finally sought treatment for his severe depression and he was hospitalized for 2 months.  Four medications were tried before Avner began to improve.  The medications caused side effects because of high dosages and because of unsuccessful combinations.  If only there were a test that would predict a patient’s reactions to antidepressant drugs, it would prevent patient suffering and save the health system great expense.

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Conclusion


This is the last section.  It includes:

  • A summary of the main ideas that were presented

  • Conclusions and opinions

  • A final sentence that arouses interest and suspense

Conclusions, suggestions and solutions can be noted at the end of each chapter.  If this is done, the author will include only a summation/ an overview of them in the Conclusion.

A summary of the main ideas

  • Do not introduce ideas that were not mentioned in the article/ paper

  • The author will summarize the main ideas 

  • Use phrases such as "In this work I investigated / surveyed/ discussed/ dealt with …", etc.

Conclusions / Deductions

Deductions are the answers to the issues and problems that were outlined at the beginning of the paper and that the researcher investigated. 
Useful phrases:
these ideas have produced …
it is possible to conclude that …
the above makes it clear that …
from the above, one can conclude that …
therefore, …
for this reason I conclude that …

+ Examples:
  1. Based in the data presented above, there is no doubt that the recommended biological system is more effective than the inorganic system with 65% suitability versus 50% (the inorganic system).

  2. Taking into consideration the requirements I had to adhere to and the limitations of this study that I described in the Introduction and Methods sections, we conclude that the oxidation system that we developed in the laboratory is more appropriate for purifying wastewater up to 8000 cubic meters a day.  The system is less efficient for a higher volume and therefore, not cost-effective.

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Please note:
Do not include deductions that were not part of the paper
The deductions, listed from the most important to the least important, can be presented as answers to a series of questions.


The final sentence

  • Can be a saying or a quotation; for example: "Stand on the shoulders of giants", "Fear is nothing more than an obstacle that stands in the way of progress".

  • Can list ideas and suggestions for future research

  • Can state hope for future progress: "Even though there are still many hurdles to surmount, I am hopeful that my research will help to advance the use of stem cells in dentistry.  I hope that researchers will investigate the recommended procedures and will find ways to improve them for the benefit of all.

References, Bibliography and plagiarism

Plagiarism and quoting rules

Check papers for plagiarism 

Mendeley for organizing and managing rules about quotations