Scientific Writing

Scientific Writing:

  • follows a distinct structure
  • should be well substantiated with sources
  • should show that you know how to find information in a  complex information flow
  • What is scientific research?
  • Information retrieval
  • Structure
  • Reference list
  • Some tips!



What is scientific research?

All scientific research is based on previous knowledge and rest on an idea of transparency and openness.

- Sir Isaac Newton

There are certain formalities about how to write and how to cite and refer to ones sources. 

There are certain formalities about how to write and how to cite and refer to ones sources. 



and refering to...


grammar and tempus

Bad science and plagiarism

Not referring to sources


 Not having enough data to draw accurate conclusions 


To pick and choose among results


Research that lacks relevance


Research that cannot be repeated

Click here to read more about plagiarism (in Swedish)

An example of "bad science"




Dr. Ancel Keyes published a study that showed that the risk of heart attack and stroke correlated directly with blood cholesterol levels. He based his conclusions on a study of people from seven countries. But later reviews showed that Dr. Keyes had ignored results from countries (like Sweden) that did not support his theses, that fat is bad for you. Since then the "truth" about fat and cholesterol has changed many times in accordance to the latest medical research.

Information Retrieval

Managing your sources starts right at the beginning,

keep a source journal and document your search process!


Don't surf the web aimlessly

- search the web purposefully!


Be imaginative, open and disciplined


Learn how to check your sources and 

where to find credible sources
(Källkritik och källtillit)

How to search with purpose

Weigh and value your search terms

What words would you use in everyday language?

What words would a scientist use?
A journalist?

An expert?


Are your serach words modern or old fashioned?
Are they formal or informal?
Is there any kind of bias in the term (positive or negative)?

Example: What is it like to be old?


  • Synonyms: old, matured, elderly, senior citizen, retired, ancient, crone, hag, matron, geezer, boomer, gentleman
  • Homonyms: old = old age, old = old fashioned
  • Euphemisms: The golden age, well-seasoned, advanced in years, one foot in the grave
  • Definitions: Gerontology (science of aging), Geriatric (medical term)
  • Associated words: Retirement, pension, medicare, wellfare, caregiver, caretaker, dementia, veterans

How to find

credible sources


(Use the link on your computer desk)


(Contact your school librarian for assistance)




(Have you found an expert on your study subject? Try e-mailing them or give them a call)

Remeber to use source critisism

Academical writing follows a specific structure depending on the type of text you are producing. However, there are some general guidelines;


  • The text should be correct, matter of fact and devoid of the author.
  • There should be no errors in grammar or spelling and remember to use the correct punctuation. 


Do not use emotive words:

“This is super exciting to write about”

“Finding credible sources was horribly hard”


Do not use vague terms:

“One would think that there might be a correlation between the results”,


“There could be a correlation between the results” or “A correlation between the results is possible”.  


Use academic terminology

instead of slang or spoken language. 


To make it easy for the reader to follow along in your text, abide to the principle of changing paragraph when you introduce a new line of thought.


Otherwise, follow the structure that is appropriate for your type of text. Academic texts usually look like this: Frame, Body, Sources and Appendices

New line of thought - new paragraph



Titel Page


Table of Contents



Purpose and thesis







This can vary.

Sources and appendices

Bibliography or Works Cited

Everything you use to base your knowledge on

is a source and should be referenced to in your research.

Cite your sources continually when you write and list all your sources at the end of your text in alphabetical order.


Depending on your chosen system of reference, your references will look different in your text. 

Source referencing

Harvard vs. Oxford

Exemple of Harvard:

Frans de Waal (2009, s. 86) tar som exempel ylande vargflockar och schimpanshannar som skränar tillsammans som liknelse för den samhörighet vi känner när vi spelar musik tillsammans.


Vargflockar som ylar i kör kan jämställas med den samhörighet vi känner när vi spelar musik tillsammans. (Frans de Waal, 2009, s. 86)

Exempel of Oxford:

Frans de Waal tar som exempel ylande vargflockar och schimpanshannar som skränar tillsammans som liknelse för den samhörighet vi känner när vi spelar musik tillsammans. ¹


¹  Frans de Waal, 2009, s. 86

Printed Sources (or Primary sources):

de Waal, Frans. (2009). Empatins tidsålder, hur naturen lär oss skapa ett humanare samhälle. Stockholm. Karneval.

Internet Sources:

Rydell, Malena. Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run.

Datum 1: 2016-09-28
Datum 2: 2016-09-27

Bibliography or Works Cited

Here's a tip!

When in doubt - ask a librarian!


Check out our website for more information. 



Scientific writing

By Bessemerbiblioteket

Scientific writing

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