Order of writing a research paper

There are different types of writers and different types of projects. The order of writing has to be suitable for these. If you and your co-authors are absolutely certain that what you did already makes a nice and complete paper story, then writing the methodology and results first makes sense - you can adapt the introduction accordingly then.

The literature review may then have some impact on your methodology section, so that you can make the distinction to previous work very clear. Edit-as-you-go style writers may also want to write the introduction first so that what is written so far is always in a clean state. For others "binge writers" and writers that iteratively refine detailed plans it may not really matter again, so the properties of the project can dictate the order of writing. There is a plethora of literature on successful academic writing, and different books will advise different approaches, so there is probably no unique answer to the question.

Everything is OK, I just heard one conversation that without a written hypothesis and proper literature review no one should start to write an article.

I thing that this part belongs to the Introduction but it is possible to have it only in mind when I actually writing a paper and put it on it later. From what I can tell there is nothing wrong with it, though your comments are certainly worth discussing. Generally, the path from concept to manuscript is not linear or singular.


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Some phenomenon, questions, or challenges might have sparked us to gather some evidence and perform a hypothesis test. At that stage we might not have writing an introduction, but we would have already known the big three in the introduction section: what is known, what is not, and how can our work help here. So, in a way, your quoted comment seems to have mixed up "research" and "writing.

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As for the comment on written hypothesis. In my field, all analyses were based on hypotheses, and all procedures are predetermined. In a sense, if we come up with any results, it's already implied that hypothesis setting and analysis planning have already been completed.


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Personal experience: Don't sit down and think "Okay, I am going to write the Discussion section and nothing else! Same goes for Results section. Some people were very disciplinary about not to interpret any findings in the Results section. But I just write whatever I want in the draft, and then parse out the interpretive parts later. For me, thoughts are thoughts, they just come out like a chain of After I am done, I'll then go back to cut them up and categorize them.

As time goes on I am getting better at churning out sausages of similar stuffing in one chain, but I have no desire to compartment my thought process like how writers compartment a research article. The Stack Overflow podcast is back! Listen to an interview with our new CEO. Sign up to join this community. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered.

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Since you know what you've done, start with the Methods section, etc. You can always fill in the intro, literature review, etc. Has this system of yours failed? You want it to be "right" and "better" but what went wrong or unsatisfactory? As your method will need to be described much more tidily than the real world of false starts, it can be helpful to start the real writing perhaps after Nahkki's "barfing" with the results section.

Then you will know what you need to describe. This does imply a possibly mental layout; discussions with colleagues before getting any text down can help with this. I tend to write in breadth-first order, starting with a crude outline of the whole paper, then repeatedly adding more detail everywhere, until I have something that looks like a complete rough draft but isn't.

Then I comb through the entire thing starting with section 3, transmuting detailed outline into prose. So, how much will our help with research paper cost you?

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