What Is Scientific Writing? (Examples and Tips for Writing)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 21, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Scientific documents allow scientists to communicate their research findings with the help of technical writing. Scientific writing, also known as academic writing, aims to emphasize the significance of observations and analysis to provide a sense of context and support the idea of repeating experiments. By understanding how to convey scientific ideas through technical writing, you can better communicate research and complex information. In this article, we explain what academic writing means, explore what scientific documents are, provide tips for writing scientific documents with examples, and answer some frequently asked questions.

What is scientific writing?

The purpose of scientific writing is to communicate scientific information. Writing scientifically is a technique that communicates scientific information in a document, book, or presentation to other scientists. Communicating scientific information effectively can be a challenging and time-consuming process that requires extensive research and precise wording. Examples of academic writing include grant proposals, peer reviews, and summaries of findings. Scientific documents follow a specific format that includes sections such as an introduction, hypotheses, a description of the methods used, key results, and an analysis of the results.

Related: 22 In-Demand Careers in Science

What are scientific documents?

Scientific documents typically share research findings with other scientists. Clear and decisive writing helps scientists deliver accurate information. Scientific writing relies on accurate information, as the purpose of a scientific document is to provide relevant, factual information to the scientific community. A scientific document may contain peer-reviewed information or changes. When colleagues work within the same industry, they often examine each other's work to confirm results and hypotheses. It's the writer's responsibility to include any peer requests or findings in revised versions of the document to remain honest and ethical.

The purpose of a scientific document is to reach a specific audience. Scientific documents commonly explore a scientific problem within the context of their study. The best academic writing is accessible, relevant, and easy to understand. Colleagues may read the document for peer review, while consumers may view it for personal purposes. For readability, a good balance of scientific terminology and common language is essential. Here is the order of formatting commonly used in scientific documents:

  • Title

  • Abstract

  • Introduction

  • Methods and materials

  • Results

  • Conclusion

  • Acknowledgements

  • Citing information

Tips for academic writing with examples

Below are some tips to help you with your academic writing:

  • Use precise wording. You can avoid ambiguous and imprecise writing by using precise words and phrases. For example, instead of stating that the new results are similar to those in the previous study, you can state the new results are consistent with previous findings.

  • Clarify your objective. An early understanding of what the document is trying to accomplish is extremely important. For example, a scientific writer usually specifies the purpose of the document within the first paragraph or in a preliminary summary, also known as an abstract.

  • Support all claims. Ensure that the data supports all conclusions you present and discuss. For example, instead of listing research findings as results, include examples and substantiated evidence to confirm the validity of the statements.

  • Consider the audience. Remember who your audience is while writing your documents to ensure readability. For example, if the document is for educators, government officials, or the public, it may be useful to alter the wording and complexity in the document accordingly.

  • Use formal language. When writing scientifically, keeping the language formal helps maintain the writer's professionalism. For example, formal language typically involves using synonyms to describe simple words, avoiding slang or idioms, and practicing proper punctuation and grammar.

Scientific writing FAQs

Here are a few frequently asked questions about writing scientifically:

What strategies can help you write clearly and concisely?

Consider maintaining a logical flow that is easy for the reader to follow and understand. By creating an outline, you can improve your ability to write clearly and consciously. Creating an outline involves making sure the content is in a logical order, with coordinated and subordinate ideas. It's also important that each paragraph includes a topic sentence. When all the sentences in a paragraph support and elaborate on your topic sentence, you can more easily achieve clarity. Organizing your paragraphs around your section headings or sub-headings can also help you write clearly and concisely.

Related: How to Write a Topic Sentence (With Examples and Tips)

What are the differences between science writing and scientific writing?

Writing scientifically is technical writing by a scientist for scientific audiences such as their peers. The term science writing describes literature that communicates science to a broader, general audience. Science writing involves writing about scientific subjects in an accessible manner for non-scientists. Experts usually communicate research results through scientific writing. Academic writing is highly technical and objective. Examples include primary research articles, grants, literature reviews, abstracts, presentations, posters, and letters.

Science writing conveys discoveries to a wide audience. The content is also more diverse, as the writer typically explains a public interest by spotlighting a researcher or engaging in a debate within a scientific field. Science writing includes articles, interviews, and blogs. An important aspect of good science writing is that it remains true to the research and the science. Science writers often employ metaphors and classic archetypes, like classic literature, as rhetorical devices. By using rhetorical devices, science writers can simplify scientific concepts and situations without contradicting their conclusions.

What makes a good abstract?

An abstract provides readers with a quick summary of your essay or report in 150-250 words, including your thesis and key points. A good abstract is typically simple but informative. The abstract describes the purpose, hypothesis, methods, and results of a journal article before the main body of the article appears in the journal. A good abstract emphasizes key points and omits new information. It communicates one main thought and avoids unnecessary fillers. It's also easily understood by readers who are not familiar with the topic. You may consider the following suggestions when creating an abstract:

  • Develop a definitive thesis statement.

  • Explain your methodology.

  • Describe the main findings.

  • Specify the conclusions.

  • Summarize the fundamental research findings.

  • Use direct language.

  • Remain under 250 words.

  • Have a peer review the abstract.

  • Restate the essential purpose of the document.

Read more: How to Write an Effective Abstract

What are scientific conclusions?

A conclusion is a statement based on experimental evidence. Scientific writers discuss the results of their research, the significance of the study, and possibilities for future research in a conclusion. For example, if the scientific document is about periodic elements, each paragraph may investigate one element. To summarize their key points of discussion, the writer may briefly mention each element again in the conclusion. The following key points can help ensure the effectiveness of a conclusion:

  • Ensure the essay concludes positively.

  • Emphasize the significance of the ideas and topics.

  • Bring closure to the reader's attention.

  • Summarize and repeat the main points.

  • Rephrase and restate the thesis.

Read more: How to Write a Conclusion (With Examples and Tips)

What skills can help you improve your academic writing?

Here is a selection of skills that can enhance your academic writing abilities:

  • Science skills: Science skills are essential because they allow you to identify scientifically valid questions and draw conclusions based on the results of research findings. Classifying experimental data, measuring scientific materials, making inferences, and predicting future scientific developments require a knowledge and skill base in science.

  • Research skills: Collecting accurate, current information is a fundamental part of writing scientifically. It may be necessary to assess the strength and credibility of sources, speak to experts, review and analyze data, or talk to other members of your team.

  • Organization skills: By using your organizational skills, you can ensure you provide all the important information in the correct order as part of your document's main outline. An outline is a simplified description of the topics or points you plan to cover in your document, along with how you plan to organize the information. It can serve as a roadmap as you write.

  • Editing skills: Editing skills are essential for correcting and changing a piece of writing to strengthen its overall structure and quality. Revising or editing involves significantly altering the structure, organization, or content of various forms of text.

  • Grammar skills: The rules of grammar provide guidelines for language usage. Good grammar skills can provide you with more effective communication.

  • Communication skills: With good written communication skills, you can capture the attention of your reader and convey your message effectively. Communicating clearly through writing can increase work efficiency, improve communication with the audience, and prevent misunderstandings.

  • Analytical skills: Developing analytical skills, such as critical thinking and analytical writing, is vital for constructing and evaluating arguments, expressing complex ideas, and interacting with advanced subjects. Academic writing involves an analytical approach that allows you to compare, analyze, and evaluate data.

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