How to write a scientific essay: Rules and useful tips

scientific essayHuman knowledge passes through the scientific essay so if you are part of the category of researchers and scholars who wish to contribute to one of the many fields of science, you will surely be interested in knowing how to write a scientific essay.

In reality, the article is intended as a practical guide for all those who, for study or work needs, find themselves having to face the drafting of a scientific text or having to write a university paper.

What is the scientific essay?

To fully understand the function of the scientific essay it is necessary to start from the knowledge of the type of paper.

The essay is a treatment characterized by a fair length.
However, it is possible to consider essays also shorter essays, whose text is developed within 20/30 pages.

It can be considered to all intents and purposes a literary genre as a series of formal rules must be respected for writing

The scientific text is usually written by a specialist and is mainly aimed at experts in the subject being studied.


The scientific essay has the purpose of informing, or disseminating, a discovery relating to one of the numerous fields of science.

The final and most ambitious goal is to broaden human knowledge or otherwise provide the basis for future research and discoveries.


The structure of the central part of the essay, or the body of the text, can be summarized in the acronym IMRAD (Introduction Methods Results and Discussions), a model adopted by numerous scientific journals for their publications.

In summary, the scheme to follow consists of:

  • Introduction: general information on what has been done and on the objectives to which the work is aimed
  • Methods: procedures used during studies and / or experiments (body of text)
  • Results: presentation and description of data, net of interpretations and evaluations
  • Discussions: explanation of the results obtained

It should always be kept in mind that the text must have an ordered structure, within which the various sections are easily and immediately identifiable.
In this sense, we advise using different fonts styles or the Word function that enables the hierarchical subdivision of the text and the automatic creation of the index.

scientific essayScientific paper: formal rules and writing advice

In this paragraph we will answer a rather common question, especially among university students and budding researchers: how to write a scientific paper?

Being an essentially technical paper, the drafting must respect a series of structural, stylistic and writing rules, universally accepted by ‘scholars’ (community of professional scholars of a specific scientific discipline).

Below are the most important guidelines to follow to achieve a job perfectly aligned with the standards of this genre.


Let’s start with the definition of the title, the first information acquired by readers.

It is a kind of business card which, as such, must be written with extreme care.
First of all, we must avoid being too generic and at the same time also discourage readers with technical headlines.

What matters is to make the subject matter immediately clear: the title must be simple and captivating.


When we talk about abstracts, we refer to the summary, or what we could define as a reduced version of the paper.

Since many readers, for reasons of time or for practical reasons related to the accessibility limitations of the document, read only the title and abstract, it is essential to focus on writing an effective, clear and concise text.
It must summarize the reasons for the study, ie the problem treated, the procedures used and the results obtained.

The author must be able to select the salient points of the paper, so it is advisable to write the abstract after the essay, when the most relevant and interesting passages of the research are well defined and clear.

As for length, some magazines set the maximum number of words.

Setting up the paper

In the case of a rather long essay, the first page is dedicated exclusively to indicating the name of the author, the title of the paper, the abstract and any additional information (degree course, exam subject, name of the teacher, etc. .).

In the case of a short scientific essay (eg 2 or 3 pages) the above information is always placed on the first page but in the upper part, before the text.

Whatever the length of the work, the suggestion is to number each page of the document.
In the event that the text is not only medium-long but also rather complex, it is advisable to insert an index, which shows the titles of the chapters and possibly the paragraphs flanked by the number of the corresponding page.

The index is usually inserted on the second page, immediately after the header.

Style of scientific essay

Let’s start by specifying that any type of scientific text should never be written in the first person.

To facilitate the understanding of the text, it is advisable to construct short and simple sentences, which are logically connected to each other.

Overly articulated sentences, repetitions and useless turns of phrase are to be avoided; these are elements that bore the reader.

In reference to the length, we cannot give a precise indication as it strongly depends on the topic, on the objective it aims at and obviously on the amount of information necessary to make the target readers understand the content of the text.

Generally speaking, we should avoid being redundant or worse still verbose: a scientific elaborate is ‘essential’.

One of the aspects to be treated with particular attention is the choice of terms.
First of all, you need to use words whose exact meaning is known and which are universally accepted.

Terms that are known to belong to the colloquial style should be avoided and, on the contrary, also those that are too sophisticated or of little common use: they unnecessarily burden the text.
Simplicity is the best way to achieve clarity.

In any case, it is good practice, in case of doubt, to consult a vocabulary and / or a technical-scientific dictionary.

scientific essayGraphic elements of scientific essay

Both tables and graphs are essential elements for the preparation of a scientific essay.

The presentation of data within a text does not make understanding immediate, rather it slows it down and makes it relatively complex. On the contrary, the presentation and comparison of data on graphs and tables facilitates the understanding and memorization of information.

But be careful to use them correctly.

The table presents and relates data; it must be clear and self-explanatory; it must develop on two dimensions (rows and columns).

The graph provides the reader with an overview of a phenomenon; it must be immediately understandable and self-explanatory; it must include a caption, a scale of values ​​and a legend.

Both elements must be encoded by a title and a number, and must always have a quote in the text.
In the event that they report data from external sources, and not from autonomous processing, they must be reported in the title.

One last important point: graphs and tables must never show the same data.

Now that you know how to write a scientific essay, all you have to do is start your research, or if you have already completed any of them, start setting up the paper based on the suggestions you read in this guide.


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