Writing a journal paper: Introduction

Yesterday I went to the first class for scientific writing. It was indeed exciting as I have been waiting for almost 1 year to enter this course. Only 10 students are allowed in each class, and the course is only available twice per year.

Although the class was from 1pm until 4pm, it was not too formal or too much of an english course. I can say that its the best course about writing I’ve ever attended. She won’t scold you for bad English, she didn’t read from an English text books. Instead the teacher, Linda McPhee gave us some exercises to do related to journal structure, which for me was a new thing to learn.

You can google Linda McPhee to know more about her.

Yesterday we learned about the Introduction part. She told us that some one from a linguistic faculty in US did a research about what pattern in journal’s introduction. They concluded that the pattern was mostly:

Paragraph 1: The background of the study. Depending on your reader’s background, you can somehow tackle how general the background is.

Paragraph 2a: The previous studies. You can see that at the start of this paragraph, the writer will cite many papers

                        2b: The gap. What is not in other studies. Before entering this paragraph, you can use signal words such as although and but. The rule of using this words, from what I can remember was you can only use maximum 2 contrast words in an introduction. That can be in paragraph 1 and then between paragraph 2a and 2b. This will help the readers to come to your study easily. She also mentioned the other rules when using contrast words in a sentence that link a situation for example A (graduated from fine university) and B (no work experience). The use of the contrast words often make our sentence sound positive or negative. So watch out how you use it.

i. A but B

When you use it like this, You know that she was graduated from fine university (accepted/know), but in this sentence people will look at B as an issue.

ii. Although A, B

Similarly, in this sentence B is an issue

iii. B, and although A, even more B

In this sentence, it shows that A is not important

iv. A but B (in obvious case, only mention B).

For example, we need to make more money, but we’re not. Its better to just say we’re not making more money. Its more polite not to say the obvious.

Paragraph 3a Turn the attention to this paper.

                        3b Something about how it fills 2a, how it deals with gap.

In many papers, the variations are mostly at this paragraph. But somehow, the content is like that.

We did discussed about the title. Usually the title is based on paragraph 1 or paragraph 3b. It is actually depends on the editor, but the rule of thumb is you can choose either of these 2 paragraphs and later constructed your title. If the journal editor doesn’t like it, you can always change your title.

Next week I need to write my introduction for my second paper. Later she will help us by correcting it. She said that she will always be with us until the paper is submitted to the journal that we want. I personally think that was awesome of her!

p/s:  I hope you guys can benefit from what I shared.


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