Prof. Dr. Md.
Akram Hossain, MBBS,
M Phil (Micro), FRCP Edin
Head of the Dept. of
Microbiology, Mymensingh Medical College
subtitle), author, institution, department, date of
delivery, research mentor(s) and advisor, their
institutions and email addresses
Advisor(s) and anyone
who helped you:
(including materials, supplies)
example, departmental support, travel grants)
A good abstract
explains in one line why the paper is important. It then
goes on to give a summary of your major results,
preferably couched in numbers with error limits. The
final sentences explain the major implications of your
work. A good abstract is concise, readable, and
Length should be ~ 1-2
paragraphs, approx. 400 words.
Abstracts generally do not
Information in title should
not be repeated.
Use numbers where appropriate.
Answers to these questions
should be found in the abstract:
What did you do?
Why did you do
it? What question were you trying to answer?
How did you do
it? State methods.
What did you
learn? State major results.
Why does it
matter? Point out at least one significant
Table of Contents
List of Figures
List page numbers of
The list should
include a short title for each figure but not the whole
List of Tables
List page numbers of
The list should
include a short title for each table but not the whole
You can't write a
good introduction until you know what the body of the
paper says. Consider writing the introductory section(s)
after you have completed the rest of the paper, rather
Be sure to include a
hook at the beginning of the introduction. This is a
statement of something sufficiently interesting to
motivate your reader to read the rest of the paper, it
is an important/interesting scientific problem that your
paper either solves or addresses. You should draw the
reader in and make them want to read the rest of the
The next paragraphs
in the introduction should cite previous research in
this area. It should cite those who had the idea or
ideas first, and should also cite those who have done
the most recent and relevant work. You should then go on
to explain why more work was necessary (your work, of
What else belongs in
the introductory section(s) of your paper?
A statement of
the goal of the paper: why the study was undertaken,
or why the paper was written. Do not repeat the
background information to allow the reader to
understand the context and significance of the
question you are trying to address.
acknowledgement of the previous work on which you
are building. Sufficient references such that a
reader could, by going to the library, achieve a
sophisticated understanding of the context and
significance of the question.
should be focused on the thesis question(s). All
cited work should be directly relevent to the goals
of the thesis. This is not a place to summarize
everything you have ever read on a subject.
Explain the scope
of your work, what will and will not be included.
A verbal "road
map" or verbal "table of contents" guiding the
reader to what lies ahead.
Is it obvious
where introductory material ("old stuff") ends and
your contribution ("new stuff") begins?
Remember that this is
not a review paper. We are looking for original work and
interpretation/analysis by you. Break up the
introduction section into logical segments by using
What belongs in the
"methods" section of a scientific paper?
allow the reader to assess the believability of your
needed by another researcher to replicate your
your materials, procedure, theory.
technique, procedure, equipment, and calibration
assumptions, and range of validity.
your analytical methods, including reference to any
specialized statistical software.
The methods section
should answering the following questions and caveats:
accurately replicate the study (for example, all of
the optional and adjustable parameters on any
sensors or instruments that were used to acquire the
researcher accurately find and reoccupy the sampling
stations or track lines?
Is there enough
information provided about any instruments used so
that a functionally equivalent instrument could be
used to repeat the experiment?
If the data are
in the public domain, could another researcher lay
his or her hands on the identical data set?
replicate any laboratory analyses that were used?
replicate any statistical analyses?
researcher approximately replicate the key
algorithms of any computer software?
Citations in this
section should be limited to data sources and references
of where to find more complete descriptions of
Do not include
descriptions of results.
The results are
actual statements of observations, including
statistics, tables and graphs.
information on range of variation.
results as well as positive. Do not interpret
results - save that for the discussion.
Lay out the case
as for a jury. Present sufficient details so that
others can draw their own inferences and construct
their own explanations.
Use S.I. units
(m, s, kg, W, etc.) throughout the thesis.
Break up your
results into logical segments by using subheadings
should be stated in clear sentences at the beginning
of paragraphs. It is far better to say "X had
significant positive relationship with Y (linear
regression p<0.01, r^2=0.79)" then to start with a
less informative like "There is a significant
relationship between X and Y". Describe the nature
of the findings; do not just tell the reader whether
or not they are significant.
Note: Results vs.
observations from your interpretations. The writer must
make it crystal clear to the reader which statements are
observation and which are interpretation. In most
circumstances, this is best accomplished by physically
separating statements about new observations from
statements about the meaning or significance of those
observations. Alternatively, this goal can be
accomplished by careful use of phrases such as "I infer
..." vast bodies of geological literature became
obsolete with the advent of plate tectonics; the papers
that survived are those in which observations were
presented in stand-alone fashion, unmuddied by whatever
ideas the author might have had about the processes that
caused the observed phenomena.
How do you do this?
separation into different sections or paragraphs.
interpretation on top of data in figures.
Careful use of
phrases such as "We infer that ".
Don't worry if
"results" seem short.
Easier for your
reader to absorb, frequent shifts of mental mode not
Ensures that your
work will endure in spite of shifting paradigms.
Start with a few
sentences that summarize the most important results. The
discussion section should be a brief essay in itself,
answering the following questions and caveats:
What are the
major patterns in the observations? (Refer to
spatial and temporal variations.)
What are the
relationships, trends and generalizations among the
What are the
exceptions to these patterns or generalizations?
What are the
likely causes (mechanisms) underlying these patterns
agreement or disagreement with previous work?
in terms of background laid out in the introduction
- what is the relationship of the present results to
the original question?
What is the
implication of the present results for other
unanswered questions in earth sciences, ecology,
environmental policy, etc....?
hypotheses: There are usually several possible
explanations for results. Be careful to consider all
of these rather than simply pushing your favorite
one. If you can eliminate all but one, that is
great, but often that is not possible with the data
in hand. In that case you should give even treatment
to the remaining possibilities, and try to indicate
ways in which future work may lead to their
A special case of the above. Avoid jumping a
currently fashionable point of view unless your
results really do strongly support them.
What are the
things we now know or understand that we didn't know
or understand before the present work?
evidence or line of reasoning supporting each
What is the
significance of the present results: why should we
This section should
be rich in references to similar work and background
needed to interpret results. However,
interpretation/discussion section(s) are often too long
and verbose. Is there material that does not contribute
to one of the elements listed above? If so, this may be
material that you will want to consider deleting or
moving. Break up the section into logical segments by
What is the
strongest and most important statement that you can
make from your observations?
If you met the
reader at a meeting six months from now, what do you
want them to remember about your paper?
Refer back to
problem posed, and describe the conclusions that you
reached from carrying out this investigation,
summarize new observations, new interpretations, and
new insights that have resulted from the present
broader implications of your results.
Do not repeat
word for word the abstract, introduction or
appropriate (most of the time)
to solve the problem.
to fill in gaps in our understanding.
future investigations on this or related topics.
cite all ideas,
concepts, text, data that are not your own
if you make a
statement, back it up with your own data or a
cited in the text must be listed
single-author references by the surname of the
author (followed by date of the publication in
to Hays (1994)
population growth is one of the greatest
environmental concerns facing future generations
double-author references by the surnames of both
authors (followed by date of the publication in
cite more than
double-author references by the surname of the first
author followed by et al. and then the date of the
do not use
references cited in the text in alphabetical order
using the following format for different types of
(1966) Carbohydrate and amino acid composition
of the egg capsules of the whelk. Nature, 210,
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (1997)
Commonly asked questions about ozone. http://www.noaa.gov/public-affairs/grounders/ozo1.html,
M. Stute, H.J. Simpson, and J. Hays (1996)
Undergraduate research at Barnard and Columbia,
Journal of Research, 11, 213-214.
(1987) A short guide to writing about biology.
Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 194pp.
and F.M. Child (1964) Review of ciliary
structure and function. In: Biochemistry and
Physiology of Protozoa, Vol. 3 (S.H. Hutner,
editor), Academic Press, New York, 131-198.
(1997) lecture notes, Environmental Data
Analysis, Barnard College, Oct 2, 1997.
J.F. Clark, P. Schlosser, W.S. Broecker, and G.
Bonani (1995) A high altitude continental
paleotemperature record derived from noble gases
dissolved in groundwater from the San Juan
Basin, New Mexico. Quat. Res., 43, 209-220.
Times (1/15/00) PCBs in the Hudson still an
it is acceptable
to put the initials of the individual authors behind
their last names, e.g. Pfirman, S.L., Stute, M.,
Simpson, H.J., and Hays, J (1996) Undergraduate
research at ......
Include all your
data in the appendix.
data/materials not easily available (theses are used
as a resource by the department and other students).
more than 1-2 pages).
(where more than 1-2 pages).
If you consulted
a large number of references but did not cite all of
them, you might want to include a list of additional
resource material, etc.
List of equipment
used for an experiment or details of complicated
Note: Figures and
tables, including captions, should be embedded in
the text and not in an appendix, unless they are
more than 1-2 pages and are not critical to your
referencing and why is it necessary?
Referencing is a
standardized method of acknowledging the sources of
information you have consulted. Anything - words,
figures, theories, ideas, facts - originating from
another source and used in your assignment must be
referenced (i.e. acknowledged).
Referencing is done
for the following reasons:
Let's look at an
You are writing an
assignment about "Compiling a CV" and you
consulted a book of J P Rendell, called "Getting that
job: a guide to writing your own CV". In this book you
have found a quotation that you want to include in your
assignment. You do that as follows:
"Writing a CV is
similar to writing a sales letter - you are, in fact,
selling yourself - your skills and aptitudes." (Rendell,
1986: 36). The following is an example of the
bibliographic entry when using the Harvard Referencing
organizations have developed different referencing
styles. The style you have to use is prescribed by your
academic department or faculty. A specific style is
usually also prescribed by the publisher or the journal
for which you are writing, if you intend publishing.
Style manuals are published and updated by the
originating organizations. They are available in printed
format but also online on the Internet. Four examples of
referencing styles are:
Requirements style (the Vancouver style) is
based largely on an ANSI (American National
Standards Institute) standard style adapted by
the US National Library of Medicine for MEDLINE
and other databases. This style is referred to
as the Vancouver style because it originated at
a meeting of medical journal editors in
Vancouver (British Columbia) in 1978."
different about the Chicago Style? - The Chicago
style uses footnotes to provide information
about where the reference came from. Full
bibliographic details are given in a footnote
the first time a publication is referred to, and
then briefer references each subsequent time.
The most-used styles
are the Harvard Referencing Style and the APA
Referencing Style. Check with your lecturer which
style you should use. Styles are never mixed -
once you have decided on a style you follow that style
only and you follow it to the letter. In other words you
should follow it exactly.
How do I apply
this reference technique?
There are different
ways of referencing:
Paraphrasing (writing the ideas in your own
(1987:73-74) advances three arguments against
the death penalty. He contends that the death
penalty is inhuman and no society that purports
to be civilised can condone it. It has never
been proved that the death penalty acts as a
deterrent, and, furthermore, many innocent
people have died in vain for the crimes
committed by others....
(1987, p.73-74) advances three arguments...
Harvard: The sentence
starts with the surname of the author followed
by the date and page reference in round
APA: Note the
punctuation is different: the date is followed
by a comma and the pages are preceded by p. (p
full stop no space 73.)
Quoting (writing the exact words of the author)
against the death penalty are three-fold. To do
away with any human being is uncivilised and
inhuman. There is no proof that the death
penalty acts as a deterrent to heinous criminal
acts... and it's a documented fact that many
innocent men and women have been wrongly
sentenced for the crimes of others" (Anderson,
arguments...crimes of others" (Anderson, 1987,
the ellipsis (...),
indicates that you have omitted certain words in
The information copied
from the original author is given in quotation
The sentence ends with
the surname of the author, the date of the
publication and the page references in round
APA style is
different: the date is followed by a comma and
the pages are preceded by p. (p full stop space
other forms of quoting:
(1987:74) states: "The death penalty is no
deterrent to crime."
(1987:74) concludes that "the death penalty is
no deterrent to crime".
(1987, p.74) states: "The death penalty is no
deterrent to crime."
(1987, p.74) concludes that "the death penalty
is no deterrent to crime".
The above examples
are from a book with a single author. Examples of other
types of sources are given in the sections "Compiling
How to Cite
Citations may be
placed at the end of a sentence (before the concluding
punctuation) in brackets:
The theory was first
developed by Browne (Gibbs 1981).
Another way of
including a reference in your text is to integrate the
author’s surname into your sentence, followed by the
year of publication and page number, in parentheses:
Gibbs (1981, p. 89)
states that Browne was the first to develop the theory
The following extract
is an example of a paragraph using the Harvard system:
Durkheim’s work was an extraordinary contribution to the
sociology of religion, perhaps more specifically to a
greater understanding of the origins of collective
morality. Gardner (1987, p. 74) makes an extremely
important point about Durkheim when he writes “Durkheim
had a lifelong interest in morality . . . For Durkheim
morality was the centre and end of his work and society
itself was the end and source of morality” . For
Durkheim, the nature of morality was the nature of
social solidarity. In The Elementary Forms Durkheim
defined religion as the main expression of the deep
moral sentiments inspired by society in individuals. His
interest in the moral substratum of the modern social
order expressed concern with the moral consequences of
modernisation (Toles 1993).
To cite a direct
Write the text word
for word and place quotation marks at the beginning and
end of the quotation. The author, date and page number
must be included.
"Australia is a
settler society" (Hudson & Bolton 1997, p. 9).
To cite a
paraphrase or a short summary of an author’s words or
Restate the original
words/ idea in your own words. The author, date and page
number(s) must be included.
rationing was imposed through a coupon system, which
meant garments now had two costs: their value in
monetary units and in coupons (McKernan 1995, p. 152).
To reference the
overall content of a work
You do not need to
include page numbers because it is the entire work you
are referring to:
Larsen and Greene
(1989) studied the effects of pollution in three major
2: List of
The List of
References in the Harvard system is a single list of all
the books, journal articles and other sources you have
referred to throughout your assignment.
Each reference list
item requires certain bibliographic details outlined in
the tables below. For example, in in the case of a book,
'bibliographical details' refers to: author/editor, year
of publication, title, edition, place of publication and
publisher as found on the front and back of the title
page. (some of these details may vary depending on the
A list of
references should be laid out alphabetically by
information exceeds one line of text, then the
following lines should have a hanging indent.
The title of a
book should be in italics. Minimal capitalisation is
recommended (e.g. only capitalise the first word of
a title’s heading/subheading and any proper nouns).
[dissertation]. Place: Publisher. Date of publication
Van Couver: Pearce
MW, Schumann EH. The effect of land use on Gamtoos
estuary water quality [dissertation]. Pretoria: Water
Research Commission; 1997.
Use of et al.
By Grammarist On May
11, 2011 • 3 Comments • In Usage
is an abbreviation of the Latin loanphrase et alii,
meaning and others. It is similar to etc. (short for et
cetera, meaning and the rest), but whereas etc. applies
to things, et al. applies to people.
Et al. does not need
to be italicized in normal use. It does require a period
after the second word, even when it falls in the middle
of a sentence. Et al. is best reserved for citations and
other parenthetical remarks in academic or other types
of formal writing. Because et al. sounds unnatural when
read aloud, an unabbreviated English equivalent is often
better in informal contexts.
The issue of whether
to place a comma before et al. is complicated. Just
treat it as you would the words and others. So when et
al. follows a single name (e.g., Tate et al.), it
doesn’t need a comma. When it follows more than one
name, some publications set et al. apart with a comma,
and some don’t. It depends on whether the publication
uses serial commas (that is, the last comma in a
list—e.g., the one after white in the phrase red, white,
There are differing
ideas about the use of et al., however. So if you are
writing a paper for a class, you might want to ask your
teacher or professor what he or she prefers (if only for
the sake of your grade).
These writers use et
As a child I disliked
everything about Christopher Robin, from his nanny’s
beautiful blue dressing gown on the door to his
dim-witted friends Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger et
Even the recent
Gartner report from star analyst Jane Disbrow et al.
shows that 61% of their customers have been audited by
at least one software vendor. [Forbes]
Slaying the goliath
that is the Los Angeles Galaxy – David Beckham, Landon
Donovan et al. – in the 2009 MLS Cup final proved that.
[Globe and Mail]