- SUMMARY of A Framework For Scientific Papers
FRAMEWORK FOR A SCIENTIFIC PAPER: SUMMARY
Importance. Justify why the research topic is important (e.g. relevant to many people, answering a critical research question, etc.). Identify a GENERAL question. (1 paragraph)
The GAP in understanding. Explain why past discoveries lead to CONCLUSIONS about current understanding using REASONED ARGUMENTS (DEDUCTIVE and/or INDUCTIVE) and LOGICAL TRANSITIONS (THEREFORE,BUT,AND,OR) between ideas. Reference each statement of fact, definition, or example using peer-reviewed, quantitative studies (all references at the END of sentences). Laws of physics, mathematical derivations, or reasoned conclusions do not require references. Explain current understanding as a logical progression that uses the RESULTS of previous studies as PREMISES (i.e. statements of fact) of arguments. The CONCLUSIONS of the arguments are POSITIVE (supported by evidence), but separated by a clearly-stated and specific GAP in understanding. DEFINE all terms necessary to understand your arguments within the context of each argument. (3-5 paragraphs)
Hypotheses. Briefly state the OVERALL GOAL to fill the gap in understanding. Explain how testing the GENERAL hypotheses will achieve the goal. Explain how each GENERAL hypothesis directly leads to one or more MEASURABLE predictions (Hypotheses). Explain ALTERNATIVE hypotheses (e.g. hypotheses that would arise from different assumptions). (Optional) briefly preview the specific approach (e.g. experiment) used to test each Measurable Hypothesis. (1-3 paragraphs)
SECTION (Sections can have >1 paragraphs if necessary. Use subheadings to identify sections.)
Study participants. How many participants enrolled, and why the participant number was appropriate. Age, sex and other important characteristics of participant population (e.g. mass, anthropometry, etc.), and reasons why the population was appropriate.
Procedures and Protocols. Overall design of study (cross-sectional, cohort, etc.) and why. Procedures for group selection and why. Treatments used and the purpose of each treatment, explained in detail. Explain procedures used for controls and why necessary and appropriate. Explain all specific testing procedures and their purpose. Data collection: measurements employed and why chosen over other measurement methods, where appropriate. Specific equipment used and for what purpose. Calibrations employed and why necessary. Use a REASONED framework that explains how each procedure contributes to testing the Measurable Hypotheses (use a chronology only when time is critical).
Data Analysis. How and why collected data were conditioned (e.g. filtered) and reduced. Normalizations employed and why appropriate. Mathematical calculations employed and why (use an Appendix for long derivations). Statistical tests employed and why each test is most appropriate.
Final Paragraph 4
Testing Criteria. The specific criteria (calculations, statistics, and judgments) that will be used to support or reject each Measurable Hypothesis.
Summary (optional). Brief summary of data and conclusions (i.e. hypothesis tests).
(Sections delimited by bold/italicized subheadings that directly relate to hypotheses)
Sub-conclusion Sections. Start each section with a bold/italicized subheading that concisely states the conclusion of the section using a complete sentence. The conclusion directly relates to a Measurable Hypothesis (e.g. explicitly states the reasons for rejecting or supporting the Measurable Hypothesis). The body of each section defends WHY the data lead to the conclusion using deductive and/or inductive reasoning (e.g. modus tollens). Link ideas with logical transitions. If comparisons among sampled data are statistically (significantly) different, (1) put differences into PERSPECTIVE by expressing as percentages, and (2) report statistical tests (e.g. P-values, etc.). Comparisons that are not significantly different are NOT different (no “trends,” “non-significant differences,” etc.). Place references to figures, tables, and the results of statistical comparisons only at the END of sentences.
(Sections delimited by bold/italicized subheadings)
Concise summary of the Results. (1 paragraph)
Defending the Conclusions. For each limitation of the methodology or analysis, explain reasons why the limitations are unlikely to affect the conclusions of the study. (1 paragraph)
Supporting General Hypotheses and/or generating new General Hypotheses. Explain how the results support a change to our understanding. Explain how the results are CONSISTENT or CONFLICT with existing understanding (e.g. previous research findings that led to the General Hypotheses).
* If the results are consistent with past understanding and the General Hypotheses, explain why the assumptions are unlikely to affect the conclusions. Explain how placing the study results in the context of other research findings strengthens confidence in the General Hypotheses. Hill’s criteria (Reliability, Diversity, Plausibility, Experimental Interventions, Temporality, Strength, Specificity, Biological Gradient) can be useful for organizing reasoned arguments that support the General Hypotheses.
* If the results conflict with past understanding and the General Hypotheses, explain how the assumptions of the study or other research findings are potential reasons for conflicts with the original General Hypothesis. Use the results of the current study and other research findings to construct reasoned arguments that support the plausibility of NEW General Hypotheses. (3-5 paragraphs)
Implications of the study. Why the findings are important. Potential contributions to future research or applications (e.g. to clinical practice, technology development, public policy, etc.). (1 paragraph)