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A Beginner’s Guide on How to Write Good Manuscripts

Dr. Muniba Faiza

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A beginner's guide on how to write good manuscripts

Drafting a manuscript could be a difficult task for beginners in the field of research. In this article, we will provide a few tips for how can you write a good manuscript being a research scholar.

A good study provides good results and rich text. Always remember, if your study is good then you won’t have to worry about the content of your manuscript. You may have even enough rich content that you have to break a manuscript into parts for later submission. Here are some tips for writing a good manuscript.

1. Basics

  • First of all, draw a rough sketch of your study including all methods or experiments you have performed throughout your study.
  • Include all the details of parameters you have set during your experiments.
  • Prepare all the figures and tables you have decided to include in your manuscript.

2. Writing

2.1. Introduction section

  • At first, write the introduction part of your manuscript.
  • While you are writing the introduction, keep in mind the purpose of your study. Why this study was carried out? Why was it important? and What are the applications?
  • If you are working on a hypothesis, don’t forget to clearly state that in the manuscript. Also, provide sufficient evidence to support your hypothesis.

2.2. Methods section

  • After that, write the methods section.
  • Try to divide your text into headings and sub-headings. It helps reviewers or readers to understand better.
  • The headings you are going to use in the introduction or methods section must be clear and precise. They should clearly show the main purpose of your next paragraph that you are going to write under them.
  • Under the methods section, only write about the details of your parameters that you applied during an experiment. DO NOT write the results. For example, if you have performed any bioinformatics experiment, then clearly mention the parameters that you used in the software. If default values were used, then mention them clearly.

2.3. Results section

  • After finishing with methods, write the results section.
  • In the results section, use the clear headings to display what you have finally got after the experiment. For example, if you performed docking of a receptor with a specific ligand, then write the results straight away such as “Compound binds efficiently with the target protein”. It shows the effectiveness of your study.
  • Use subheadings if necessary under the results section as well.
  • Always write to the point about whatever you have got as results.

3. Conclusion

  • Summarize your study.
  • Highlight the main findings.
  • It would be better if you use numbering while writing the main findings of your study. It shows that your study is providing novel things.
  • Write about the main purpose and applications of your study.
  • Write about the future prospects of your study, How this study is going to help researchers in your field and others?
  • What could be the possible outcomes of your study?

4. Abstract

  • In last write the abstract of your manuscript. After you have written the introduction, methods, results, and conclusion, you get a clear idea of what actually you did and what are the outcomes of your study.
  • An abstract must be precise and clear. Some journals allow a word limit for abstract submission, so it is better to use precise, good, and clear words that highlight the efforts and significance of your study.
  • If you have to cite a reference, then do it. Don’t think that references cannot be mentioned in the abstract.
  • In an abstract, the first few sentences include the basics of your study. For example, what is your target and why?
  • The next few lines include the methods describing how you performed this study.
  • After that, write the main findings of your study.
  • In the end, write the applications of your study.

5. Keywords

  • Write precise keywords associated with your study.
  • Keywords help in finding a suitable reviewer for your manuscript and also help to reach the right audience.

6. References

  • Always cite the correct source of information.
  • If you are writing a review, try to cite all references.
  • Always cite references using software such as Mendeley or Endnote. It will help you to manage them easily and automatically. You will not have to do it manually.
  • Keep a particular format for your references. You may have to change the reference style during manuscript submission as per the requirements of a journal.

7. Figures & Tables

  • Arrange your figures and tables carefully. It is better to keep them at the end of the manuscript and cite the figure number and table number inside the text where you want to keep them.
  • Always generate high-quality images. Here is one article to help you generate high-quality images for docking analyses.
  • If you are including a phenomenon or a process inside your manuscript, then export it into an image. Don’t include it as a text written in word.
  • The most suitable format is .tiff for images. It is accepted by almost all journals.
  • Choose a table design carefully. It should be appropriate according to your text.
  • Tables must possess a uniform format throughout the manuscript.

8. Title

  • When you are done with writing, write the title of your manuscript.
  • The title should be precise and informative.
  • It should reflect your study and outcome.
  • Try to avoid general titles such as Molecular studies, or Experimental analysis, etc.
  • Try to keep your title short. It will help to understand your study better and gain more attention.

9. Miscellaneous

  • After you prepare the first draft of your manuscript, always keep the track changes mode on.
  • Don’t accept or reject any changes made by your guide or reviewer. It helps to revise the manuscript at both ends.
  • Always make all suggested changes in track change mode until you reach at the final draft of your manuscript.
  • You can include more figures or tables according to the text you are writing.
  • Keep your sentences short.
  • If you have mentioned a short form for any word in the introduction section, then Do NOT write the full form again in the manuscript.
  • It is better to show your methods or results in the form of a flowchart.
  • Try to shorten your text. You can use images or flowcharts to represent your text. It makes a manuscript interesting to read.
  • Write a separate section for all the abbreviations used in the entire manuscript.

These are a few tips to make your manuscript interesting and worth reading. It takes several revisions to reach a final version of a manuscript. By that time, don’t get disheartened, revisions will only make your manuscript interesting and worth submitting in a good journal. If you want to publish a good study in a good journal, never hurry during the writing of your manuscript. Keenly analyze everything, add an experiment or two if needed, and then go for its submission. Good luck!

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Further Reading

A guide on how to read the research articles

The Business in Scientific Publishing!?

Importance of Reasoning in Research

 

Dr. Muniba is a Bioinformatician based in New Delhi, India. She has completed her PhD in Bioinformatics from South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China. She has cutting edge knowledge of bioinformatics tools, algorithms, and drug designing. When she is not reading she is found enjoying with the family. Know more about Muniba

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