Format of a Scientific Paper

What is this research about? What question are you trying to answer, and what is your hypothesis? (Make an "educated guess" as to how you think your research will answer your question.)

An example of a published Bald Eagle research paper

The introduction also summarizes the present state of knowledge about the topic you are exploring. (As part of this summary, you must mention where you got this information and cite the author in the "Literature Cited" section below.) Discuss how your work will advance this knowledge.

How was this research conducted? What tools were used? What steps were followed? When did the research start and end? Where did it take place? How many different times was it conducted?

What data were collected to help answer your research questions? (Give real data so your readers can see upon what information you are basing your conclusions. What assumptions were made? Other scientists may draw their own conclusions based on the same data, and challenge your interpretation. This is why you must include the original data.)

What do you think the data mean? What do the data suggest?
How do you interpret the results? If you think the results can be interpreted in several ways, discuss the different ways. If there are limits to what can be concluded, be sure to explain what the limits are and why.

What are your conclusions? What did you learn from your results? Provide a short, concise summary of the research findings.

Note: If you can't draw firm conclusions based on the data collected, this is the place to say so. Scientists often conclude that more research is needed!

Who helped you with this research?

Literature Cited
Beyond your own observations and knowledge, where did you get other information contained in this report? Scientists always list research conducted by other scientists here. They cite the scientific papers from which they drew facts that were used in this report. This way, other scientists know you're basing some of your assumptions on the conclusions other scientists have made. They know who is responsible for collecting the previous information.