Structure of Scientific Writing

Elizabeth V, Ben Z, Allie B, Leah T, Blake B, Natalie K

The Order

  • Title Page

  • Abstract

  • Introduction
  • Materials & Methods
  • Results
  • Conclusions
  • References

Writing a Hypothesis

  • If-Then format is necessary
  • State a prediction of the outcome
  • Make sure it is a complete sentence
  • “If _____ [I do this] ____, then _____ [this] ______ will happen.”
  • Should be in introduction

example: If the plants are placed in complete dark, then the lack of light will stunt the plant's growth.

Title Page

This is the first page of your paper, and should include the following:
  • An informative title.
  • Your full name
  • Teacher's name
  • date due


  • A good title is informative and summarizes your experiment.. For example, if you’re determining the effects of plants in different amounts of sunlight, your title should be something along the lines of “What amount of light do plants react to best?” or “The effects of sunlight on Plants”

  • A too vague title would be “Sunlight & Plants”.


The abstract is a separate page of a summary of your paper. It should be one single spaced paragraph (everything else should be double spaced) and must not exceed 200-250 words. The abstract must state:

  • Question studied
  • Main reason for the study
  • Primary results
  • Main conclusions

Here are some good examples


The introduction should answer why the experiment/study was undertaken. A good introduction should

  • Include a clear statement of the problem or question being investigated

  • State your hypothesis (explained above)

  • Address how your research helped you answer your question.

  • Brief overview of the methods used

Materials & Methods

This part of the experiment needs to list all materials that were needed in order to conduct the experiment as well as how the experiment was done; it should also answer how the study was undertaken. Consider the following questions

  • What procedures were followed?
  • Are the steps and controls clearly stated?
  • What research materials did you use?
  • How did you answer the hypothesis/ questions being asked?
*Your procedures should be written in past tense


  • Should explain what was found

  • Contains any data tables, charts, or graphs

  • All graphs should be labeled properly


  • Accept or reject your hypothesis

  • Explain why or why not support your hypothesis

  • Include a summary of the data, graphs, or charts

  • Explain results in detail

  • Discuss possible errors that could have occurred during the experiment


This section is a complete list of all of the references you cited in your entire paper.

Things to remember in this section:

  • References should be listed in alphabetical order by last name of the author

  • Include ALL references mentioned in paper

Always remember to find sources from the expert in the field. Worksheets specifically handed out by the teacher are not strong references.

Need more help? Check out these

Our Bibliography

"Guide: Writing the Scientific Paper."Welcome to Writing@CSU. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2013. <>.

"Lab Report Template." The Biology Corner. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2013. <>

"Writing Abstract Help" SEFMD. Web. 20 May 2013. <>