This section will give you information on how to structure the content of your report. For information on the layout and how to format it, click here.
All scientific reports are broken down into 8 sections as follows:
Most reports will usually also have appendices, which support the main sections.
You are expected to write an error appendix for your reports unless told otherwise (more information on error appendix page limits can be found on the layout tab).
The abstract comes first, and is a short paragraph giving a summary to the reader of the major methods and results presented in the report.
An abstract should:
- Make sense on it's own. Don't refer to tables, equations, ect...that appear in the report. If you reference anything it will need the full bibliographical reference.
- Contain the key results, as numbers if possible.
- Be short and concise (200 words or less).
The aim of the introduction is to place your report into a broader context. It should discuss:
- The history of the subject, related work by other scientists, any potential application
- Relevant theory or equations
- The motivation and objective of the report, and sometimes it's conclusions
The purpose of the method is to describe your apparatus and methodology.
Usually you will describe the apparatus first, which is often best done with the help of a labelled diagram (NB: Do not use diagrams from your lab script).
You should be writing your methodology so that a reader who is familiar with the apparatus used understands how to reproduce your measurements. Avoid going into unecessary detail or providing a chronological narrative of the individual steps you took. It's usually better to explain the logic behind what you are trying to do and how you acheived it.
You can also describe the method you used to analyze your data or how you estimated your experimental errors.
This sections is where you give your results. It should contain a brief description of any calculations needed to get from the raw data to the final results, but any theory should be talked about in the Introduction or Method.
Your results should be presented in a table or a figure which needs to be directly referred to in the text (e.g. "These results are summarised in Table 1"). For more on figures click here.
Figure and tables take up a lot of space - consider whether you can plot multiple lines on one graph. Similarly, do not dump all of your raw data into a table to prove everything you say. Consider how to get your information across in a clear and concise manner - such as with a graph, a couple of numbers or a few lines of text.
Any number that you produce needs to have it's associated error. Remember: do not quote your results to more significant figures than allowed by their errors. For more on errors click here.
Here, you analyze the physical meaning of your results. You might choose to:
- Look at their implications
- Compare them to accepted values
- Examine and compare your method and results to those of other scientists, and discuss possible improvements (these need to be practical).
- Discuss any errors your may have ommitted and how this would affect your results
While this section allows for a little more freedom then the others, it is important that it stays rooted in logic and evidence. If you make a statement, you should back it up with some evidence.
Having a structure and a sense of direction within your Discussion is also important. It's better to talk in depth about a couple of big problems or implications that you've isolated than to list off a large number of wild theories.
The Conclusion should aim to round off your discussion section with a summary of your main results and their implications. Generally speaking, you will want to avoid introducing new concepts in this section.
Ideally, you should discuss how your results link back to the motivation you gave in the Introduction
A short section acknowledging any contributions made by others, financial or adademic, towards the paper. You probably won't need to use this section until later in the course (Level 4 or higher).
This section is a list of the sources cited in the rest of the article with full bibliographical information. Do not included anything that you haven't cited in your work.
For more on references, click here.
In this section, you are expected to detail your error propagation. You must start with the errors you know (either random or apparatus/method related) and propagate them through to the error you quoted on your final results.
There is no need to quote numerical values, but you need to show all the steps in the propagation so the marker knows that your method was correct.
Importantly, this appendix should only contain the calculations you have made to get the errors quoted in your text. Discussions on the sources of the errors or explanations on how the original errors were evaluated should be in Method, Results or Discussion.
For more on errors click here.
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How to Produce a Brilliant Physics Essay
The primary objective or writing in physics is to succinctly convey information regarding the outcomes of experiments and calculations. Secondary to this objective is the goal of offering an improved understanding of various physical models, theories, and calculations. As is the case in other disciplines, all forms of academic writing in physics must be conducted using the appropriate structure, irrespective of whether they are research papers or lab reports. A typical manuscript of a physics research paper includes a list of authors, and abstract, an introductory section, the main body of the paper, and a conclusion section. Other inclusions could be appendices, acknowledgements, and references. While writing reports and essays in physics is a critical component of academic performance, most students have trouble formulating and structuring papers. This guide is intended to help students in writing good papers in physics.
Conventions of Writing a Physics Research Paper
An important consideration when writing a good physics paper is to be make clear and logical connections. In physics, as is the case with other sciences, a good paper must make clear and logical associations between the work being reported and existing knowledge in the same area. In other words, the writer should explain how the work he or she is presenting refutes or supports previous work in the area and how the current work extends the knowledge in the field. Therefore, a physics term paper is an argument that needs to be logical, with a logical flow of interlinked ideas. Some of the sections to consider when structuring a physics paper include:
- Review of literature
- Methodology or experiment
- Data analysis and discussion
Another crucial element of good physics papers is concise writing. In the event that a paper is seen as too long or difficult to read, there is a risk of it being ignored by the target audience. Furthermore, if you are considering publishing your paper in a journal article, more pages mean spending significantly more. As such, writing articles in the physical sciences must be as clear and concise as possible. Try to break sentences that appear long into shorter sentences. In terms of punctuation, grammar, spelling, and acronyms, physics papers are similar to all other forms of academic writing. However, it is important to note that physics dissertation papers use a lot of acronyms, which should be defined before they can be used in the document.
Writing in the physical sciences also necessitates care in citing other sources. When writing physics papers, thorough references must be made to reliable external sources of data or theory connected with the writing of the paper. Every reference made within the text must be made immediately after the referenced information is given. All sources cited in the body of the paper must be listed as references at the end of the paper. The choice of refereeing style should reflect the particular requirements provided by the course instructor.
A Few Last Notes on Writing a Physics Thesis
To produce a paper with a logical flow of ideas, you should consider creating an outline at some point in the process of writing your paper. We recommend constructing an outline following a literature search, or after you have obtained theoretical results. You can create your outline by placing the main ideas in the relevant sections of the physics thesis, which are the introduction, body and conclusion. The ideas, therefore, become the topic sentences of the various paragraphs in the sections. Once you expand your outline by providing content to the sections, you will produce a first draft, and there is likely to be multiple drafts. Given the scrutiny the scientific papers undergo, adjustments are often required, not only as a way of correcting grammar errors and typos, but also for adjusting the logical flow and scientific content. You will need to perform multiple proofreading before the paper reaches its final form.
Alternatively, you could seek professional help writing your physics essay. Professional writing services offer reprieve to students who have problems meeting the requirements of their physics assignments or those who, due to time constraints or other commitments, are unable to dedicate time to working on the paper. Before you make the decision to work with such writers, you must ensure that they are reliable, especially since various scammers claim to provide quality papers. Fortunately, we can connect you to the most reliable and experienced writers and agencies, who guarantee brilliant papers. All you have to do is contact us.