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Sharing your research story

When I first started writing papers for chemistry I had a slight problem. You see, I wanted to tell the story of my research – that was obviously the important thing – and in my head the research had a story.

I knew that I had turned up in the lab on day one knowing nothing, that I had learned a lot, that I had tried a lot of experiments that didn’t work, and through completing experiments that didn’t work and eventually experiments that did I had got to the place where my supervisors said that I had something worth publishing.

That is all good, but I thought that all my readers would want to know that story too. 

I wanted to tell the story of my research in chronological order, in the order that it happened.

But the readers of your research don’t want to know the story in chronological order. Other researchers are reading your work to find out how what you did can help them with what they are doing now. They want to know what works, and why.

So, when you are planning the Results and Discussion section of your paper, start with the big news first. Tell us what worked. 

After that you might want to explain why and how you got to that, or what didn’t work on the way through. 

The main thing is to keep in mind what the readers want from the paper. They don’t actually care what blood, sweat, and tears happened on the way through. They just want to know the outcome and the research that you have to back up your amazing result.


If you want to report your amazing results in wonderfully clear English, submit your paper to Fix My English and we will work with you to present your excellent work so that it is easily read and perfectly understood.

Ruth Amos1 Comment