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Scientific Methodology: Structure of a Research Paper e.g. Chemistry

writing science papers, research reports, research papers versus review papers, experimental design


Scientific research papers usually follow a standard format which is logical, has an easy to understand structure, and which reflects “the scientific method of deductive reasoning: define the problem, create a hypothesis, devise an experiment to test the hypothesis, conduct the experiment, and draw conclusions.”  (ACS Style Guide, Chap 2,  p. 19).

Note: When writing a research paper, the sections may follow a different format and procedure for the different science disciplines. The format may also be varied by the specific journal which is publishing a research article.

Chemistry Research Paper Outline

                                                      Writing a Chemistry Research Paper



- keep the title short, include the author's name

- use essential keywords to describe the paper’s content



- briefly state the purpose of this research

- summarize the main concepts, scope, findings, and conclusions



- state the problem and reason for completing this research

- discuss any techniques used

- review the relevant research literature published on this topic (citing your sources) and relate your current research to this literature


     Experimental Details *

- describe the experimental procedures used (so that other

  researchers can replicate your research)

- include information about the reaction and processes : list the materials &   apparatus used in your experiment (mass of materials before/after, percent yield), and the process mechanism

- list the materials & apparatus used in your experiment



- summarize the data you collected (e.g. in table format)

- summarize the statistical analysis you used on the data (calculations)


     Discussion **

- discuss & interpret what your results mean and relate them

  to the stated problem – Are there possible solutions to suggest?

- relate your findings to the research literature on this topic (citing sources)


     Conclusion & Summary

- state a brief conclusion to this research, if not already stated in the   Discussion section

- in this section, you can make possible suggestions for future

  research on this topic



- list all the research papers whose work you discussed

 and cited in the text of this paper




- may be required (e.g. to list raw data that was collected)



*   Atlernative titles: Experimental, Experimental Section, Theoretical Analysis,

     or Materials & Methods.

** The Discussion and Conclusion are often combined into one section.