Steps on How to Write a Biochemistry Research Paper
Let’s start with breaking down this topic.
Biochemistry is the application of chemistry to the study of biological processes at the cellular and molecular level. It emerged as a distinct discipline around the beginning of the 20th century when scientists combined chemistry, physiology, and biology to investigate the chemistry of living systems.
I’m such you knew that, but well, I defined it.
Following our standard script spirit, a Research Paper is a piece of academic writing based on an author’s original work (research and findings) on a given topic. Note that the author should own the research, analysis, and interpretation of all conclusions.
Most commonly, a research paper can either be Term Papers, Master’s Thesis, and/or Doctoral Dissertations. However, it is essential to note that there exists a marked difference between a research paper and a research proposal.
Biochemistry is both life science and a chemical science – it explores the chemistry of living organisms and the molecular basis for the changes occurring in living cells. It uses the methods of chemistry,
Biochemistry has become the foundation for understanding all biological processes. It has provided explanations for the causes of many diseases in humans, animals and plants, physics, molecular biology, and immunology to study the structure and behavior of the complex molecules found in biological material and the ways these molecules interact to form cells, tissues, and whole organisms.
Biochemists are interested, for example, in mechanisms of brain function, cellular multiplication and differentiation, communication within and between cells and organs, and the chemical bases of inheritance and disease. The biochemist seeks to determine how specific molecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, vitamins, and hormones function in such processes. Particular emphasis is placed on the regulation of chemical reactions in living cells.
Here are six crucial pointers researchers should bear in mind while writing biochemistry final year project papers:
Step 1: Choosing a Topic
Just like every field. While writing an engineering final year research project paper, the first thing to consider is the topic. It guides the entirety of your final year project paper. Choosing a Topic isn’t always as straight forward and natural as most people would think. In fact, in some universities, students are assigned a research project topic by the faculty. If you fall into that category, I’m happy for you! Kindly move on to
If you’re still reading, then the first thing you should do when about to choose a topic is to think about what interests you and how challenging conducting research on it would be. Ensure that you are as specific as possible; avoid issues that are too broad. Your research paper is more likely to be successful if it doesn’t look like a general overview.
For example, if your interests lie in ”Plant Development,” you can narrow it down to “Understanding the development of plants in typical areas.” And voila! You have a workable topic.
Step 2: Write an Introducing Introduction
This induces your audience to the project, it’s the background of the research, fundamental research questions, and why the research is essential. The main objective of the study should be presented in a direct manner, as well as indications of the research approach and experimentation.
Step 3: Pay special attention to the research materials and methods
Early on in the research paper, you have to decide if the research paper will take an extensive look into the materials and/or the methods. Preferably, you’ll receive a long look, and provide information in subsections such as EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE, EXPERIMENTAL SECTION, or simply, EXPERIMENTAL. The paragraphs will include new measures such as artificial protocols, cleansing, novel analytical procedures, etc. as well as materials and methods. The protocols should be described in complete detail accurately as they are actually performed. This is so they can be repeated by other workers. This is as important a part of the paper as the RESULTS section.
Because getting started is a significant hurdle it makes sense to start with the most natural, most straightforward part of the paper. In a scientific research paper this might often be the EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE or MATERIALS and METHODS. This is a section that almost writes itself in that once it is outlined, the actual writing is relatively straightforward. The MATERIALS and METHODS is essentially a listing, in no particular order, of the materials and methods used, the sources of materials, and a brief mention of any additional purifications, etc. together with appropriate literature references. General purposes that have been described before are listed with literature references. Specific variations or slight changes in published methods can be briefly described in one or two sentences.
A section entitled EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE is a little less straightforward to write but still fairly obvious once the specific procedures to be described been decided upon. The rule is that systems should be described in sufficient detail to enable scientific peers to reconstruct the system in their laboratories. The main reasons for the inclusion of experimental procedures are to allow critical readers to evaluate the validity of the results and to permit other scientists to repeat and extend the experiments.
Step 4: Be detailed in your results section
The RESULTS section describes the scientific findings as they relate to the fundamental questions outlined in the INTRODUCTION. The experimental strategies and rationales are explained, and the data are presented without going into experimental details such as compositions of reaction mixtures or detailed protocols, which have been described in the experimental section or in footnotes to tables and in figure legends. The text of this section should read smoothly as a direct exposition of what strategies were adopted, what experiments were performed, what data were obtained, and what could be concluded from the data. Data should be presented in tables and figures except in cases where they can be stated simply in a few words, perhaps as two or three numerical parameters with associated error limits. Judgment must be exercised, but in general when more than three numerical entries are involved a table is appropriate, and where the quality of data is best displayed in a figure, this should be done. It is sometimes necessary to use schemes such as reaction schemes or flow charts to assist in explaining experimental strategies in the text of the RESULTS.
The tables with associated footnotes and the figures with associated legends should be interpretable without reference to the text. The notes and titles should contain enough information to transmit a clear picture of what was done in the experiment so that the data given can be interpreted without referring to the text. This enables readers to make their own interpretations before reading yours. It also simplifies references to tables and figures in the book because the entries can be cited and their meaning discussed without the need to go into details about exactly how the experiments were carried out. The rule is that preliminary information belongs in the experimental section or in footnotes to tables and legends to figures, not in the text.
Since several related experiments are generally described under RESULTS, the section is divided into subsections, each of which is given a descriptive title about one column line long on a typical journal page. Such paragraphs may be entitled Purification of (an enzyme or natural product), Synthesis of (some compound, e.g., an enzyme inhibitor), Kinetics of the reaction of (named substances), pH dependence of (some process), Inactivation of (etc.). Each subsection describes an experiment or series of experiments with a common theme, generally methodological, and reference is made to the relevant tables and figures in which the data are set forth. The conclusions based on the experimental results are, whenever possible, clearly stated at or near the end of each subsection.
Step 5: Let’s discuss the discussion of your research paper
The DISCUSSION provides an overall correlation of the significance of the findings presented under RESULTS. This correlation is generally bimodal. It is the first integration of the conclusions from the subsections of the RESULTS, leading to overall outcomes about the questions and problems defined in the INTRODUCTION. This part of the discussion is narrowly limited to the context of the identified issues and experiments described.
The research is then further discussed concerning the field as a whole. When the conclusions have a significant bearing on questions of current interest, this is included in the last part of the DISCUSSION. In this subsection, the related findings of other workers can be compared and correlated with those in the manuscript, and any additional conclusions or new questions that arise from this process should be stated. Any new directions that may be indicated for the field may also be projected in this section.
Step 6: Summarize your Research
The paper should be summarized in a short ABSTRACT or SUMMARY. This is usually the last section to be written but the first section to be read. It may be the only section that is read by readers who have only a passing interest. For this reason, this section is as easy as pressing a part as any other.
The ABSTRACT or SUMMARY should describe concisely the experiments that were done, the results that were obtained, and the main conclusions that were drawn in the paper. As such, it is a brief statement of the RESULTS together with that part of the DISCUSSION that is concerned with the main conclusions. Any broader or long-range impact of the work in the field should not be mentioned in the abstract unless the effect is decisive and unusually outstanding. Similarly, experimental details should not be included except when they are themselves highly original and broadly applicable in the field as a whole. In the latter case, such experime
ntal procedures may be independently publishable as the main focus of a separate paper in a journal devoted to methods.
The ABSTRACT or SUMMARY should be no more extended than about 200 words. The important thing is to transmit to the reader as efficiently as possible the essential facts uncovered in work and the main conclusions drawn from those facts. For nearly all papers, this can be done in about 200 words.
Step 7: Write your Research Paper
The most efficient approach is to prepare a complete outline of the entire article before beginning to write any section. Such an overall shape is just as crucial as a section outline because of the relationships and interactions among the various parts. One should, at the very least, define explicitly what will appear in each section before beginning to write.
I know what you’re thinking “Writing?” What have I been doing all this time?
Actually, you’ve been laying the groundwork that would allow you to write something magical.
Now is the time to write. All of the knowledge you have gained by researching needs to come out naturally, so just start writing. Don’t think too hard, just write. Proofreading comes later.
Some people call this free-writing, and in academic papers, it is no different. Write and write until you run out of things to say. Even if you have to jump around in your argument or aren’t sure how to end a paragraph, go on to the next one. The idea here is to get all of your thoughts down on paper so that you don’t forget something by trying to go in order.
Step 8: Preparing Figures and Tables
Obviously, the MATERIALS and METHODS/EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE cannot be written until the contents of the paper have been decided upon. These decisions, as well as how the paper will contribute to its scientific context, are part of the mental process associated with the design, performance, and evaluation of the research itself. As such, they precede in time the writing of the paper, although not necessarily its conceptualization. The study generates data, however; and these data must be presented in the article.
Data may be presented in figures, in tables, and in the text of the paper. Once the experimental section has been written, it is a fairly natural transition to turn to the data as a next step in the writing process. Decisions must be made about the most effective means of organizing and presenting data, that is, what part should appear in figures, what part in tables, and what part in the text. Pictures should be used when the point to be made best communicated graphically. Data that must be presented in the numerical form will appear in tables or, if they consist of only one or a few numbers, in the text.
Presentations of data are often most transparent and compelling when first illustrated graphically and then in some way represented in numerical form. Journals usually will not publish the same data as both a figure and a table; however, it is often helpful and even essential to present numerical parameters about characters in the text of the paper. In many cases where numerous sets of data have been obtained, kinetic data, for example, sample data may be illustrated graphically in one or a few figures, while numerical parameters obtained from all the experiments are outlined in one or two tables.
A figure is a graphical illustration that should establish one or a few specific points as clearly as possible. Any scales such as graphical axes must be numbered and labeled, and the labels must include any relevant units of measurement. The figure should consist of whatever is needed to be readily interpretable without appearing cluttered, and excessive vacant space should be avoided. Graphs should be enclosed by axes on all four sides with each scale marked with hash marks. It is often useful to plot two different quantities on vertical axes; when this is done, the left ordinate is scaled and labeled for one volume, and the right ordinate is scaled and labeled for the other. In selecting type sizes and line widths, keep in mind that the figure must be legible when reduced to the extent that will appear in the journal.
Each figure is accompanied by a legend consisting of a caption, or title, followed by any necessary explanatory information. Such information as experimental conditions, including solvent, temperature, compositions of reaction mixtures, and any other information pertaining specifically to the data in the figure, is given in the legend. When this information has been included under EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE, this fact is simply stated in the title. The title is concluded with definitions of any symbols used in the figure such as, for example, the meanings of symbols such as ○, •, □, and ▪ used for data points and the implications of dashed, dotted, continuous, etc. lines in illustrations of multiple overlaid graphs. Occasionally, when the figure is itself entirely self‐explanatory, the legend may consist simply of a caption.
The figures are numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals, as Fig. 1, Fig. 2, etc. and are collected together in order at the end. The legends are listed consecutively in a section labeled Figure Legends, which appears just before the figures.
Tables are more straightforward to prepare than figures. Data should be arranged in columns that are labeled with appropriate headings and units of measurement. The layout consists of a table number at the top using Roman numerals, e.g. Table I, Table II, etc., a title just beneath the number, the Table itself beneath the title, and beneath the table, the table footnotes a,b,c, etc. are printed single-spaced. The table footnotes give information required to understand the data in the table, e.g., experimental conditions, when this information has not been provided under EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE.
In papers submitted electronically, the journal may specify that figures and tables be inserted into appropriate places in the text. Consult the Instructions to Authors.
Once the figures and tables are prepared, much of the data content of the results section is defined. An outline of the article is ready, specifying subsections, locations of figures and Tables in paragraphs, and so forth. The text is then written, insofar as possible, using simple declarative sentences and the active rather than passive voice. The story of the research is told in this section using precise language. Definitive conclusions and any reservations or qualifications are stated. All interpretations, discussions, and findings in this section must relate to the research appearing in the manuscript or report. Reference to other work is made when it is directly relevant to the research being described, but discussion of the broader significance of the study is reserved for the DISCUSSION.
Step 9: Take Special Care of your Citations
The references page should acknowledge all the resources used for obtaining information. The support should be cited according to either APA or CBE guidelines. Examples of citations can be found on the submissions page of the website.
Step 10. Edit and Proofread
You will need to make large-scale changes, check and recheck the logic behind every statement.
Ensure that all your ideas are fully developed! And all your claims, recommendations, suggestions are credible and supported by well-reviewed and documented evidence.
After the initial proofreading, the next task on your plate is editing. Look out for:
- Incomplete sentences
- Dangling modifiers
- Easily confused words (such as to, too, and two)
- Spelling mistakes
- Apostrophes for possessives and plurals
- Quotation rules obeyed
- Comma use
Are you done? Congratulations!!!
Now go back to rereading your paper; a good idea is to read your research paper backward. It will get you a bit disoriented but will allow you to catch more mistakes.
Now, if possible, get another person’s perspective. Give it to a professional proofreader, editor, friend, or family member, ask them to provide feedback and suggestion. You don’t necessarily need to take their opinions, but seeing the research paper from their eyes will allow you to know if the information you wanted to pass across was passed across.
Finally, a good idea would be to print your paper and proofread it on paper, as this will allow you to find last-minute errors, mistakes, typos, and ensure your research paper is fantastic.