How to Write a Scientific Essay

How to write a scientific essay

When writing any essay it’s important to always keep the end goal in mind. You want to produce a document that is detailed, factual, about the subject matter and most importantly to the point.

Writing scientific essays will always be slightly different to when you write an essay for say English Literature . You need to be more analytical and precise when answering your questions. To help achieve this, you need to keep three golden rules in mind.

  • Analysing the question, so that you know exactly what you have to do

Planning your answer

  • Writing the essay

Now, let’s look at these steps in more detail to help you fully understand how to apply the three golden rules.

Analysing the question

  • Start by looking at the instruction. Essays need to be written out in continuous prose. You shouldn’t be using bullet points or writing in note form.
  • If it helps to make a particular point, however, you can use a diagram providing it is relevant and adequately explained.
  • Look at the topic you are required to write about. The wording of the essay title tells you what you should confine your answer to – there is no place for interesting facts about other areas.

The next step is to plan your answer. What we are going to try to do is show you how to produce an effective plan in a very short time. You need a framework to show your knowledge otherwise it is too easy to concentrate on only a few aspects.

For example, when writing an essay on biology we can divide the topic up in a number of different ways. So, if you have to answer a question like ‘Outline the main properties of life and system reproduction’

The steps for planning are simple. Firstly, define the main terms within the question that need to be addressed. Then list the properties asked for and lastly, roughly assess how many words of your word count you are going to allocate to each term.

Writing the Essay

The final step (you’re almost there), now you have your plan in place for the essay, it’s time to get it all down in black and white. Follow your plan for answering the question, making sure you stick to the word count, check your spelling and grammar and give credit where credit’s (always reference your sources).

How Tutors Breakdown Essays

An exceptional essay

  • reflects the detail that could be expected from a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of relevant parts of the specification
  • is free from fundamental errors
  • maintains appropriate depth and accuracy throughout
  • includes two or more paragraphs of material that indicates greater depth or breadth of study

A good essay

An average essay

  • contains a significant amount of material that reflects the detail that could be expected from a knowledge and understanding of relevant parts of the specification.

In practice this will amount to about half the essay.

  • is likely to reflect limited knowledge of some areas and to be patchy in quality
  • demonstrates a good understanding of basic principles with some errors and evidence of misunderstanding

A poor essay

  • contains much material which is below the level expected of a candidate who has completed the course
  • Contains fundamental errors reflecting a poor grasp of basic principles and concepts

scientific essay form

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  • Int J Sports Phys Ther
  • v.7(5); 2012 Oct


Barbara j. hoogenboom.

1 Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI, USA

Robert C. Manske

2 University of Wichita, Wichita, KS, USA

Successful production of a written product for submission to a peer‐reviewed scientific journal requires substantial effort. Such an effort can be maximized by following a few simple suggestions when composing/creating the product for submission. By following some suggested guidelines and avoiding common errors, the process can be streamlined and success realized for even beginning/novice authors as they negotiate the publication process. The purpose of this invited commentary is to offer practical suggestions for achieving success when writing and submitting manuscripts to The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy and other professional journals.


“The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking” Albert Einstein

Conducting scientific and clinical research is only the beginning of the scholarship of discovery. In order for the results of research to be accessible to other professionals and have a potential effect on the greater scientific community, it must be written and published. Most clinical and scientific discovery is published in peer‐reviewed journals, which are those that utilize a process by which an author's peers, or experts in the content area, evaluate the manuscript. Following this review the manuscript is recommended for publication, revision or rejection. It is the rigor of this review process that makes scientific journals the primary source of new information that impacts clinical decision‐making and practice. 1 , 2

The task of writing a scientific paper and submitting it to a journal for publication is a time‐consuming and often daunting task. 3 , 4 Barriers to effective writing include lack of experience, poor writing habits, writing anxiety, unfamiliarity with the requirements of scholarly writing, lack of confidence in writing ability, fear of failure, and resistance to feedback. 5 However, the very process of writing can be a helpful tool for promoting the process of scientific thinking, 6 , 7 and effective writing skills allow professionals to participate in broader scientific conversations. Furthermore, peer review manuscript publication systems requiring these technical writing skills can be developed and improved with practice. 8 Having an understanding of the process and structure used to produce a peer‐reviewed publication will surely improve the likelihood that a submitted manuscript will result in a successful publication.

Clear communication of the findings of research is essential to the growth and development of science 3 and professional practice. The culmination of the publication process provides not only satisfaction for the researcher and protection of intellectual property, but also the important function of dissemination of research results, new ideas, and alternate thought; which ultimately facilitates scholarly discourse. In short, publication of scientific papers is one way to advance evidence‐based practice in many disciplines, including sports physical therapy. Failure to publish important findings significantly diminishes the potential impact that those findings may have on clinical practice. 9


To begin it might be interesting to learn why reviewers accept manuscripts! Reviewers consider the following five criteria to be the most important in decisions about whether to accept manuscripts for publication: 1) the importance, timeliness, relevance, and prevalence of the problem addressed; 2) the quality of the writing style (i.e., that it is well‐written, clear, straightforward, easy to follow, and logical); 3) the study design applied (i.e., that the design was appropriate, rigorous, and comprehensive); 4) the degree to which the literature review was thoughtful, focused, and up‐to‐date; and 5) the use of a sufficiently large sample. 10 For these statements to be true there are also reasons that reviewers reject manuscripts. The following are the top five reasons for rejecting papers: 1) inappropriate, incomplete, or insufficiently described statistics; 2) over‐interpretation of results; 3) use of inappropriate, suboptimal, or insufficiently described populations or instruments; 4) small or biased samples; and 5) text that is poorly written or difficult to follow. 10 , 11 With these reasons for acceptance or rejection in mind, it is time to review basics and general writing tips to be used when performing manuscript preparation.

“Begin with the end in mind” . When you begin writing about your research, begin with a specific target journal in mind. 12 Every scientific journal should have specific lists of manuscript categories that are preferred for their readership. The IJSPT seeks to provide readership with current information to enhance the practice of sports physical therapy. Therefore the manuscript categories accepted by IJSPT include: Original research; Systematic reviews of literature; Clinical commentary and Current concept reviews; Case reports; Clinical suggestions and unique practice techniques; and Technical notes. Once a decision has been made to write a manuscript, compose an outline that complies with the requirements of the target submission journal and has each of the suggested sections. This means carefully checking the submission criteria and preparing your paper in the exact format of the journal to which you intend to submit. Be thoughtful about the distinction between content (what you are reporting) and structure (where it goes in the manuscript). Poor placement of content confuses the reader (reviewer) and may cause misinterpretation of content. 3 , 5

It may be helpful to follow the IMRaD format for writing scientific manuscripts. This acronym stands for the sections contained within the article: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Each of these areas of the manuscript will be addressed in this commentary.

Many accomplished authors write their results first, followed by an introduction and discussion, in an attempt to “stay true” to their results and not stray into additional areas. Typically the last two portions to be written are the conclusion and the abstract.

The ability to accurately describe ideas, protocols/procedures, and outcomes are the pillars of scientific writing . Accurate and clear expression of your thoughts and research information should be the primary goal of scientific writing. 12 Remember that accuracy and clarity are even more important when trying to get complicated ideas across. Contain your literature review, ideas, and discussions to your topic, theme, model, review, commentary, or case. Avoid vague terminology and too much prose. Use short rather than long sentences. If jargon has to be utilized keep it to a minimum and explain the terms you do use clearly. 13

Write with a measure of formality, using scientific language and avoiding conjunctions, slang, and discipline or regionally specific nomenclature or terms (e.g. exercise nicknames). For example, replace the term “Monster walks” with “closed‐chain hip abduction with elastic resistance around the thighs”. You may later refer to the exercise as “also known as Monster walks” if you desire.

Avoid first person language and instead write using third person language. Some journals do not ascribe to this requirement, and allow first person references, however, IJSPT prefers use of third person. For example, replace “We determined that…” with “The authors determined that….”.

For novice writers, it is really helpful to seek a reading mentor that will help you pre‐read your submission. Problems such as improper use of grammar, tense, and spelling are often a cause of rejection by reviewers. Despite the content of the study these easily fixed errors suggest that the authors created the manuscript with less thought leading reviewers to think that the manuscript may also potentially have erroneous findings as well. A review from a second set of trained eyes will often catch these errors missed by the original authors. If English is not your first language, the editorial staff at IJSPT suggests that you consult with someone with the relevant expertise to give you guidance on English writing conventions, verb tense, and grammar. Excellent writing in English is hard, even for those of us for whom it is our first language!

Use figures and graphics to your advantage . ‐ Consider the use of graphic/figure representation of data and important procedures or exercises. Tables should be able to stand alone and be completely understandable at a quick glance. Understanding a table should not require careful review of the manuscript! Figures dramatically enhance the graphic appeal of a scientific paper. Many formats for graphic presentation are acceptable, including graphs, charts, tables, and pictures or videos. Photographs should be clear, free of clutter or extraneous background distractions and be taken with models wearing simple clothing. Color photographs are preferred. Digital figures (Scans or existing files as well as new photographs) must be at least 300dpi. All photographs should be provided as separate files (jpeg or tif preferred) and not be embedded in the paper. Quality and clarity of figures are essential for reproduction purposes and should be considered before taking images for the manuscript.

A video of an exercise or procedure speaks a thousand words. Please consider using short video clips as descriptive additions to your paper. They will be placed on the IJSPT website and accompany your paper. The video clips must be submitted in MPEG‐1, MPEG‐2, Quicktime (.mov), or Audio/Video Interface (.avi) formats. Maximum cumulative length of videos is 5 minutes. Each video segment may not exceed 50 MB, and each video clip must be saved as a separate file and clearly identified. Formulate descriptive figure/video and Table/chart/graph titles and place them on a figure legend document. Carefully consider placement of, naming of, and location of figures. It makes the job of the editors much easier!

Avoid Plagiarism and inadvertent lack of citations. Finally, use citations to your benefit. Cite frequently in order to avoid any plagiarism. The bottom line: If it is not your original idea, give credit where credit is due . When using direct quotations, provide not only the number of the citation, but the page where the quote was found. All citations should appear in text as a superscripted number followed by punctuation. It is the authors' responsibility to fully ensure all references are cited in completed form, in an accurate location. Please carefully follow the instructions for citations and check that all references in your reference list are cited in the paper and that all citations in the paper appear correctly in the reference list. Please go to IJSPT submission guidelines for full information on the format for citations.

Sometimes written as an afterthought, the abstract is of extreme importance as in many instances this section is what is initially previewed by readership to determine if the remainder of the article is worth reading. This is the authors opportunity to draw the reader into the study and entice them to read the rest of the article. The abstract is a summary of the article or study written in 3 rd person allowing the readers to get a quick glance of what the contents of the article include. Writing an abstract is rather challenging as being brief, accurate and concise are requisite. The headings and structure for an abstract are usually provided in the instructions for authors. In some instances, the abstract may change slightly pending content revisions required during the peer review process. Therefore it often works well to complete this portion of the manuscript last. Remember the abstract should be able to stand alone and should be as succinct as possible. 14

Introduction and Review of Literature

The introduction is one of the more difficult portions of the manuscript to write. Past studies are used to set the stage or provide the reader with information regarding the necessity of the represented project. For an introduction to work properly, the reader must feel that the research question is clear, concise, and worthy of study.

A competent introduction should include at least four key concepts: 1) significance of the topic, 2) the information gap in the available literature associated with the topic, 3) a literature review in support of the key questions, 4) subsequently developed purposes/objectives and hypotheses. 9

When constructing a review of the literature, be attentive to “sticking” or “staying true” to your topic at hand. Don't reach or include too broad of a literature review. For example, do not include extraneous information about performance or prevention if your research does not actually address those things. The literature review of a scientific paper is not an exhaustive review of all available knowledge in a given field of study. That type of thorough review should be left to review articles or textbook chapters. Throughout the introduction (and later in the discussion!) remind yourself that a paper, existing evidence, or results of a paper cannot draw conclusions, demonstrate, describe, or make judgments, only PEOPLE (authors) can. “The evidence demonstrates that” should be stated, “Smith and Jones, demonstrated that….”

Conclude your introduction with a solid statement of your purpose(s) and your hypothesis(es), as appropriate. The purpose and objectives should clearly relate to the information gap associated with the given manuscript topic discussed earlier in the introduction section. This may seem repetitive, but it actually is helpful to ensure the reader clearly sees the evolution, importance, and critical aspects of the study at hand See Table 1 for examples of well‐stated purposes.

Examples of well-stated purposes by submission type.

The methods section should clearly describe the specific design of the study and provide clear and concise description of the procedures that were performed. The purpose of sufficient detail in the methods section is so that an appropriately trained person would be able to replicate your experiments. 15 There should be complete transparency when describing the study. To assist in writing and manuscript preparation there are several checklists or guidelines that are available on the IJSPT website. The CONSORT guidelines can be used when developing and reporting a randomized controlled trial. 16 The STARD checklist was developed for designing a diagnostic accuracy study. 17 The PRISMA checklist was developed for use when performing a meta‐analyses or systematic review. 18 A clear methods section should contain the following information: 1) the population and equipment used in the study, 2) how the population and equipment were prepared and what was done during the study, 3) the protocol used, 4) the outcomes and how they were measured, 5) the methods used for data analysis. Initially a brief paragraph should explain the overall procedures and study design. Within this first paragraph there is generally a description of inclusion and exclusion criteria which help the reader understand the population used. Paragraphs that follow should describe in more detail the procedures followed for the study. A clear description of how data was gathered is also helpful. For example were data gathered prospectively or retrospectively? Who if anyone was blinded, and where and when was the actual data collected?

Although it is a good idea for the authors to have justification and a rationale for their procedures, these should be saved for inclusion into the discussion section, not to be discussed in the methods section. However, occasionally studies supporting components of the methods section such as reliability of tests, or validation of outcome measures may be included in the methods section.

The final portion of the methods section will include the statistical methods used to analyze the data. 19 This does not mean that the actual results should be discussed in the methods section, as they have an entire section of their own!

Most scientific journals support the need for all projects involving humans or animals to have up‐to‐date documentation of ethical approval. 20 The methods section should include a clear statement that the researchers have obtained approval from an appropriate institutional review board.

Results, Discussion, and Conclusions

In most journals the results section is separate from the discussion section. It is important that you clearly distinguish your results from your discussion. The results section should describe the results only. The discussion section should put those results into a broader context. Report your results neutrally, as you “found them”. Again, be thoughtful about content and structure. Think carefully about where content is placed in the overall structure of your paper. It is not appropriate to bring up additional results, not discussed in the results section, in the discussion. All results must first be described/presented and then discussed. Thus, the discussion should not simply be a repeat of the results section. Carefully discuss where your information is similar or different from other published evidence and why this might be so. What was different in methods or analysis, what was similar?

As previously stated, stick to your topic at hand, and do not overstretch your discussion! One of the major pitfalls in writing the discussion section is overstating the significance of your findings 4 or making very strong statements. For example, it is better to say: “Findings of the current study support….” or “these findings suggest…” than, “Findings of the current study prove that…” or “this means that….”. Maintain a sense of humbleness, as nothing is without question in the outcomes of any type of research, in any discipline! Use words like “possibly”, “likely” or “suggests” to soften findings. 12

Do not discuss extraneous ideas, concepts, or information not covered by your topic/paper/commentary. Be sure to carefully address all relevant results, not just the statistically significant ones or the ones that support your hypotheses. When you must resort to speculation or opinion, be certain to state that up front using phrases such as “we therefore speculate” or “in the authors' opinion”.

Remember, just as in the introduction and literature review, evidence or results cannot draw conclusions, just as previously stated, only people, scientists, researchers, and authors can!

Finish with a concise, 3‐5 sentence conclusion paragraph. This is not just a restatement of your results, rather is comprised of some final, summative statements that reflect the flow and outcomes of the entire paper. Do not include speculative statements or additional material; however, based upon your findings a statement about potential changes in clinical practice or future research opportunities can be provided here.


Writing for publication can be a challenging yet satisfying endeavor. The ability to examine, relate, and interlink evidence, as well as to provide a peer‐reviewed, disseminated product of your research labors can be rewarding. A few suggestions have been offered in this commentary that may assist the novice or the developing writer to attempt, polish, and perfect their approach to scholarly writing.

scientific essay form

Writing the Scientific Paper

When you write about scientific topics to specialists in a particular scientific field, we call that scientific writing. (When you write to non-specialists about scientific topics, we call that science writing.)

The scientific paper has developed over the past three centuries into a tool to communicate the results of scientific inquiry. The main audience for scientific papers is extremely specialized. The purpose of these papers is twofold: to present information so that it is easy to retrieve, and to present enough information that the reader can duplicate the scientific study. A standard format with six main part helps readers to find expected information and analysis:

  • Title--subject and what aspect of the subject was studied.
  • Abstract--summary of paper: The main reason for the study, the primary results, the main conclusions
  • Introduction-- why the study was undertaken
  • Methods and Materials-- how the study was undertaken
  • Results-- what was found
  • Discussion-- why these results could be significant (what the reasons might be for the patterns found or not found)

There are many ways to approach the writing of a scientific paper, and no one way is right. Many people, however, find that drafting chunks in this order works best: Results, Discussion, Introduction, Materials & Methods, Abstract, and, finally, Title.

The title should be very limited and specific. Really, it should be a pithy summary of the article's main focus.

  • "Renal disease susceptibility and hypertension are under independent genetic control in the fawn hooded rat"
  • "Territory size in Lincoln's Sparrows ( Melospiza lincolnii )"
  • "Replacement of deciduous first premolars and dental eruption in archaeocete whales"
  • "The Radio-Frequency Single-Electron Transistor (RF-SET): A Fast and Ultrasensitive Electrometer"

This is a summary of your article. Generally between 50-100 words, it should state the goals, results, and the main conclusions of your study. You should list the parameters of your study (when and where was it conducted, if applicable; your sample size; the specific species, proteins, genes, etc., studied). Think of the process of writing the abstract as taking one or two sentences from each of your sections (an introductory sentence, a sentence stating the specific question addressed, a sentence listing your main techniques or procedures, two or three sentences describing your results, and one sentence describing your main conclusion).

Example One

Hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia are risk factors for life-threatening complications such as end-stage renal disease, coronary artery disease and stroke. Why some patients develop complications is unclear, but only susceptibility genes may be involved. To test this notion, we studied crosses involving the fawn-hooded rat, an animal model of hypertension that develops chronic renal failure. Here, we report the localization of two genes, Rf-1 and Rf-2 , responsible for about half of the genetic variation in key indices of renal impairment. In addition, we localize a gene, Bpfh-1 , responsible for about 26% of the genetic variation in blood pressure. Rf-1 strongly affects the risk of renal impairment, but has no significant effect on blood pressure. Our results show that susceptibility to a complication of hypertension is under at least partially independent genetic control from susceptibility to hypertension itself.

Brown, Donna M, A.P. Provoost, M.J. Daly, E.S. Lander, & H.J. Jacob. 1996. "Renal disease susceptibility and hypertension are under indpendent genetic control in the faun-hooded rat." Nature Genetics , 12(1):44-51.

Example Two

We studied survival of 220 calves of radiocollared moose ( Alces alces ) from parturition to the end of July in southcentral Alaska from 1994 to 1997. Prior studies established that predation by brown bears ( Ursus arctos ) was the primary cause of mortality of moose calves in the region. Our objectives were to characterize vulnerability of moose calves to predation as influenced by age, date, snow depths, and previous reproductive success of the mother. We also tested the hypothesis that survival of twin moose calves was independent and identical to that of single calves. Survival of moose calves from parturition through July was 0.27 ± 0.03 SE, and their daily rate of mortality declined at a near constant rate with age in that period. Mean annual survival was 0.22 ± 0.03 SE. Previous winter's snow depths or survival of the mother's previous calf was not related to neonatal survival. Selection for early parturition was evidenced in the 4 years of study by a 6.3% increase in the hazard of death with each daily increase in parturition date. Although there was no significant difference in survival of twin and single moose calves, most twins that died disappeared together during the first 15 days after birth and independently thereafter, suggesting that predators usually killed both when encountered up to that age.

Key words: Alaska, Alces alces , calf survival, moose, Nelchina, parturition synchrony, predation

Testa, J.W., E.F. Becker, & G.R. Lee. 2000. "Temporal patterns in the survival of twin and single moose ( alces alces ) calves in southcentral Alaska." Journal of Mammalogy , 81(1):162-168.

Example Three

We monitored breeding phenology and population levels of Rana yavapaiensis by use of repeated egg mass censuses and visual encounter surveys at Agua Caliente Canyon near Tucson, Arizona, from 1994 to 1996. Adult counts fluctuated erratically within each year of the study but annual means remained similar. Juvenile counts peaked during the fall recruitment season and fell to near zero by early spring. Rana yavapaiensis deposited eggs in two distinct annual episodes, one in spring (March-May) and a much smaller one in fall (September-October). Larvae from the spring deposition period completed metamorphosis in earlv summer. Over the two years of study, 96.6% of egg masses successfully produced larvae. Egg masses were deposited during periods of predictable, moderate stream flow, but not during seasonal periods when flash flooding or drought were likely to affect eggs or larvae. Breeding phenology of Rana yavapaiensis is particularly well suited for life in desert streams with natural flow regimes which include frequent flash flooding and drought at predictable times. The exotic predators of R. yavapaiensis are less able to cope with fluctuating conditions. Unaltered stream flow regimes that allow natural fluctuations in stream discharge may provide refugia for this declining ranid frog from exotic predators by excluding those exotic species that are unable to cope with brief flash flooding and habitat drying.

Sartorius, Shawn S., and Philip C. Rosen. 2000. "Breeding phenology of the lowland leopard frog ( Rana yavepaiensis )." Southwestern Naturalist , 45(3): 267-273.


The introduction is where you sketch out the background of your study, including why you have investigated the question that you have and how it relates to earlier research that has been done in the field. It may help to think of an introduction as a telescoping focus, where you begin with the broader context and gradually narrow to the specific problem addressed by the report. A typical (and very useful) construction of an introduction proceeds as follows:

"Echimyid rodents of the genus Proechimys (spiny rats) often are the most abundant and widespread lowland forest rodents throughout much of their range in the Neotropics (Eisenberg 1989). Recent studies suggested that these rodents play an important role in forest dynamics through their activities as seed predators and dispersers of seeds (Adler and Kestrell 1998; Asquith et al 1997; Forget 1991; Hoch and Adler 1997)." (Lambert and Adler, p. 70)

"Our laboratory has been involved in the analysis of the HLA class II genes and their association with autoimmune disorders such as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. As part of this work, the laboratory handles a large number of blood samples. In an effort to minimize the expense and urgency of transportation of frozen or liquid blood samples, we have designed a protocol that will preserve the integrity of lymphocyte DNA and enable the transport and storage of samples at ambient temperatures." (Torrance, MacLeod & Hache, p. 64)

"Despite the ubiquity and abundance of P. semispinosus , only two previous studies have assessed habitat use, with both showing a generalized habitat use. [brief summary of these studies]." (Lambert and Adler, p. 70)

"Although very good results have been obtained using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of DNA extracted from dried blood spots on filter paper (1,4,5,8,9), this preservation method yields limited amounts of DNA and is susceptible to contamination." (Torrance, MacLeod & Hache, p. 64)

"No attempt has been made to quantitatively describe microhabitat characteristics with which this species may be associated. Thus, specific structural features of secondary forests that may promote abundance of spiny rats remains unknown. Such information is essential to understand the role of spiny rats in Neotropical forests, particularly with regard to forest regeneration via interactions with seeds." (Lambert and Adler, p. 71)

"As an alternative, we have been investigating the use of lyophilization ("freeze-drying") of whole blood as a method to preserve sufficient amounts of genomic DNA to perform PCR and Southern Blot analysis." (Torrance, MacLeod & Hache, p. 64)

"We present an analysis of microhabitat use by P. semispinosus in tropical moist forests in central Panama." (Lambert and Adler, p. 71)

"In this report, we summarize our analysis of genomic DNA extracted from lyophilized whole blood." (Torrance, MacLeod & Hache, p. 64)

Methods and Materials

In this section you describe how you performed your study. You need to provide enough information here for the reader to duplicate your experiment. However, be reasonable about who the reader is. Assume that he or she is someone familiar with the basic practices of your field.

It's helpful to both writer and reader to organize this section chronologically: that is, describe each procedure in the order it was performed. For example, DNA-extraction, purification, amplification, assay, detection. Or, study area, study population, sampling technique, variables studied, analysis method.

Include in this section:

  • study design: procedures should be listed and described, or the reader should be referred to papers that have already described the used procedure
  • particular techniques used and why, if relevant
  • modifications of any techniques; be sure to describe the modification
  • specialized equipment, including brand-names
  • temporal, spatial, and historical description of study area and studied population
  • assumptions underlying the study
  • statistical methods, including software programs

Example description of activity

Chromosomal DNA was denatured for the first cycle by incubating the slides in 70% deionized formamide; 2x standard saline citrate (SSC) at 70ºC for 2 min, followed by 70% ethanol at -20ºC and then 90% and 100% ethanol at room temperature, followed by air drying. (Rouwendal et al ., p. 79)

Example description of assumptions

We considered seeds left in the petri dish to be unharvested and those scattered singly on the surface of a tile to be scattered and also unharvested. We considered seeds in cheek pouches to be harvested but not cached, those stored in the nestbox to be larderhoarded, and those buried in caching sites within the arena to be scatterhoarded. (Krupa and Geluso, p. 99)

Examples of use of specialized equipment

  • Oligonucleotide primers were prepared using the Applied Biosystems Model 318A (Foster City, CA) DNA Synthesizer according to the manufacturers' instructions. (Rouwendal et al ., p.78)
  • We first visually reviewed the complete song sample of an individual using spectrograms produced on a Princeton Applied Research Real Time Spectrum Analyzer (model 4512). (Peters et al ., p. 937)

Example of use of a certain technique

Frogs were monitored using visual encounter transects (Crump and Scott, 1994). (Sartorius and Rosen, p. 269)

Example description of statistical analysis

We used Wilcox rank-sum tests for all comparisons of pre-experimental scores and for all comparisons of hue, saturation, and brightness scores between various groups of birds ... All P -values are two-tailed unless otherwise noted. (Brawner et al ., p. 955)

This section presents the facts--what was found in the course of this investigation. Detailed data--measurements, counts, percentages, patterns--usually appear in tables, figures, and graphs, and the text of the section draws attention to the key data and relationships among data. Three rules of thumb will help you with this section:

  • present results clearly and logically
  • avoid excess verbiage
  • consider providing a one-sentence summary at the beginning of each paragraph if you think it will help your reader understand your data

Remember to use table and figures effectively. But don't expect these to stand alone.

Some examples of well-organized and easy-to-follow results:

  • Size of the aquatic habitat at Agua Caliente Canyon varied dramatically throughout the year. The site contained three rockbound tinajas (bedrock pools) that did not dry during this study. During periods of high stream discharge seven more seasonal pools and intermittent stretches of riffle became available. Perennial and seasonal pool levels remained stable from late February through early May. Between mid-May and mid-July seasonal pools dried until they disappeared. Perennial pools shrank in surface area from a range of 30-60 m² to 3-5- M². (Sartorius and Rosen, Sept. 2000: 269)

Notice how the second sample points out what is important in the accompanying figure. It makes us aware of relationships that we may not have noticed quickly otherwise and that will be important to the discussion.

A similar test result is obtained with a primer derived from the human ß-satellite... This primer (AGTGCAGAGATATGTCACAATG-CCCC: Oligo 435) labels 6 sites in the PRINS reaction: the chromosomes 1, one pair of acrocentrics and, more weakly, the chromosomes 9 (Fig. 2a). After 10 cycles of PCR-IS, the number of sites labeled has doubled (Fig. 2b); after 20 cycles, the number of sites labeled is the same but the signals are stronger (Fig. 2c) (Rouwendal et al ., July 93:80).

Related Information: Use Tables and Figures Effectively

Do not repeat all of the information in the text that appears in a table, but do summarize it. For example, if you present a table of temperature measurements taken at various times, describe the general pattern of temperature change and refer to the table.

"The temperature of the solution increased rapidly at first, going from 50º to 80º in the first three minutes (Table 1)."

You don't want to list every single measurement in the text ("After one minute, the temperature had risen to 55º. After two minutes, it had risen to 58º," etc.). There is no hard and fast rule about when to report all measurements in the text and when to put the measurements in a table and refer to them, but use your common sense. Remember that readers have all that data in the accompanying tables and figures, so your task in this section is to highlight key data, changes, or relationships.

In this section you discuss your results. What aspect you choose to focus on depends on your results and on the main questions addressed by them. For example, if you were testing a new technique, you will want to discuss how useful this technique is: how well did it work, what are the benefits and drawbacks, etc. If you are presenting data that appear to refute or support earlier research, you will want to analyze both your own data and the earlier data--what conditions are different? how much difference is due to a change in the study design, and how much to a new property in the study subject? You may discuss the implication of your research--particularly if it has a direct bearing on a practical issue, such as conservation or public health.

This section centers on speculation . However, this does not free you to present wild and haphazard guesses. Focus your discussion around a particular question or hypothesis. Use subheadings to organize your thoughts, if necessary.

This section depends on a logical organization so readers can see the connection between your study question and your results. One typical approach is to make a list of all the ideas that you will discuss and to work out the logical relationships between them--what idea is most important? or, what point is most clearly made by your data? what ideas are subordinate to the main idea? what are the connections between ideas?

Achieving the Scientific Voice

Eight tips will help you match your style for most scientific publications.

  • Develop a precise vocabulary: read the literature to become fluent, or at least familiar with, the sort of language that is standard to describe what you're trying to describe.
  • Once you've labeled an activity, a condition, or a period of time, use that label consistently throughout the paper. Consistency is more important than creativity.
  • Define your terms and your assumptions.
  • Include all the information the reader needs to interpret your data.
  • Remember, the key to all scientific discourse is that it be reproducible . Have you presented enough information clearly enough that the reader could reproduce your experiment, your research, or your investigation?
  • When describing an activity, break it down into elements that can be described and labeled, and then present them in the order they occurred.
  • When you use numbers, use them effectively. Don't present them so that they cause more work for the reader.
  • Include details before conclusions, but only include those details you have been able to observe by the methods you have described. Do not include your feelings, attitudes, impressions, or opinions.
  • Research your format and citations: do these match what have been used in current relevant journals?
  • Run a spellcheck and proofread carefully. Read your paper out loud, and/ or have a friend look over it for misspelled words, missing words, etc.

Applying the Principles, Example 1

The following example needs more precise information. Look at the original and revised paragraphs to see how revising with these guidelines in mind can make the text clearer and more informative:

Before: Each male sang a definite number of songs while singing. They start with a whistle and then go from there. Each new song is always different, but made up an overall repertoire that was completed before starting over again. In 16 cases (84%), no new songs were sung after the first 20, even though we counted about 44 songs for each bird.
After: Each male used a discrete number of song types in his singing. Each song began with an introductory whistle, followed by a distinctive, complex series of fluty warbles (Fig. 1). Successive songs were always different, and five of the 19 males presented their entire song repertoire before repeating any of their song types (i.e., the first IO recorded songs revealed the entire repertoire of 10 song types). Each song type recurred in long sequences of singing, so that we could be confident that we had recorded the entire repertoire of commonly used songs by each male. For 16 of the 19 males, no new song types were encountered after the first 20 songs, even though we analyzed and average of 44 songs/male (range 30-59).

Applying the Principles, Example 2

In this set of examples, even a few changes in wording result in a more precise second version. Look at the original and revised paragraphs to see how revising with these guidelines in mind can make the text clearer and more informative:

Before: The study area was on Mt. Cain and Maquilla Peak in British Columbia, Canada. The study area is about 12,000 ha of coastal montane forest. The area is both managed and unmanaged and ranges from 600-1650m. The most common trees present are mountain hemlock ( Tsuga mertensiana ), western hemlock ( Tsuga heterophylla ), yellow cedar ( Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ), and amabilis fir ( Abies amabilis ).
After: The study took place on Mt. Cain and Maquilla Peak (50'1 3'N, 126'1 8'W), Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The study area encompassed 11,800 ha of coastal montane forest. The landscape consisted of managed and unmanaged stands of coastal montane forest, 600-1650 m in elevation. The dominant tree species included mountain hemlock ( Tsuga mertensiana ), western hemlock ( Tsuga heterophylla ), yellow cedar ( Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ), and amabilis fir ( Abies amabilis ).

Two Tips for Sentence Clarity

Although you will want to consider more detailed stylistic revisions as you become more comfortable with scientific writing, two tips can get you started:

First, the verb should follow the subject as soon as possible.

Really Hard to Read : "The smallest of the URF's (URFA6L), a 207-nucleotide (nt) reading frame overlapping out of phase the NH2- terminal portion of the adenosinetriphosphatase (ATPase) subunit 6 gene has been identified as the animal equivalent of the recently discovered yeast H+-ATPase subunit gene."

Less Hard to Read : "The smallest of the UR-F's is URFA6L, a 207-nucleotide (nt) reading frame overlapping out of phase the NH2-terminal portion of the adenosinetriphosphatase (ATPase) subunit 6 gene; it has been identified as the animal equivalent of the recently discovered yeast H+-ATPase subunit 8 gene."

Second, place familiar information first in a clause, a sentence, or a paragraph, and put the new and unfamiliar information later.

More confusing : The epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous layer are the three layers of the skin. A layer of dead skin cells makes up the epidermis, which forms the body's shield against the world. Blood vessels, carrying nourishment, and nerve endings, which relay information about the outside world, are found in the dermis. Sweat glands and fat cells make up the third layer, the subcutaneous layer.

Less confusing : The skin consists of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous layer. The epidermis is made up of dead skin cells, and forms a protective shield between the body and the world. The dermis contains the blood vessels and nerve endings that nourish the skin and make it receptive to outside stimuli. The subcutaneous layer contains the sweat glands and fat cells which perform other functions of the skin.


  • Scientific Writing for Graduate Students . F. P. Woodford. Bethesda, MD: Council of Biology Editors, 1968. [A manual on the teaching of writing to graduate students--very clear and direct.]
  • Scientific Style and Format . Council of Biology Editors. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
  • "The science of scientific writing." George Gopen and Judith Swann. The American Scientist , Vol. 78, Nov.-Dec. 1990. Pp 550-558.
  • "What's right about scientific writing." Alan Gross and Joseph Harmon. The Scientist , Dec. 6 1999. Pp. 20-21.
  • "A Quick Fix for Figure Legends and Table Headings." Donald Kroodsma. The Auk , 117 (4): 1081-1083, 2000.

Wortman-Wunder, Emily, & Kate Kiefer. (1998). Writing the Scientific Paper. Writing@CSU . Colorado State University.

Science Essay

Betty P.

Learn How to Write an A+ Science Essay

11 min read

Published on: Jan 5, 2023

Last updated on: Sep 28, 2023

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Did you ever imagine that essay writing was just for students in the Humanities? Well, think again! 

For science students, tackling a science essay might seem challenging, as it not only demands a deep understanding of the subject but also strong writing skills. 

However, fret not because we've got your back!

With the right steps and tips, you can write an engaging and informative science essay easily!

This blog will take you through all the important steps of writing a science essay, from choosing a topic to presenting the final work.

So, let's get into it!

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What Is a Science Essay?

A science essay is an academic paper focusing on a scientific topic from physics, chemistry, biology, or any other scientific field.

Science essays are mostly expository. That is, they require you to explain your chosen topic in detail. However, they can also be descriptive and exploratory.

A descriptive science essay aims to describe a certain scientific phenomenon according to established knowledge.

On the other hand, the exploratory science essay requires you to go beyond the current theories and explore new interpretations.

So before you set out to write your essay, always check out the instructions given by your instructor. Whether a science essay is expository or exploratory must be clear from the start. Or, if you face any difficulty, you can take help from a science essay writer as well. 

Moreover, check out this video to understand scientific writing in detail.

Now that you know what it is, let's look at the steps you need to take to write a science essay. 

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How To Write a Science Essay?

Writing a science essay is not as complex as it may seem. All you need to do is follow the right steps to create an impressive piece of work that meets the assigned criteria.

Here's what you need to do:

Choose Your Topic

A good topic forms the foundation for an engaging and well-written essay. Therefore, you should ensure that you pick something interesting or relevant to your field of study. 

To choose a good topic, you can brainstorm ideas relating to the subject matter. You may also find inspiration from other science essays or articles about the same topic.

Conduct Research

Once you have chosen your topic, start researching it thoroughly to develop a strong argument or discussion in your essay. 

Make sure you use reliable sources and cite them properly . You should also make notes while conducting your research so that you can reference them easily when writing the essay. Or, you can get expert assistance from an essay writing service to manage your citations. 

Create an Outline

A good essay outline helps to organize the ideas in your paper. It serves as a guide throughout the writing process and ensures you don’t miss out on important points.

An outline makes it easier to write a well-structured paper that flows logically. It should be detailed enough to guide you through the entire writing process.

However, your outline should be flexible, and it's sometimes better to change it along the way to improve your structure.

Start Writing

Once you have a good outline, start writing the essay by following your plan.

The first step in writing any essay is to draft it. This means putting your thoughts down on paper in a rough form without worrying about grammar or spelling mistakes.

So begin your essay by introducing the topic, then carefully explain it using evidence and examples to support your argument.

Don't worry if your first draft isn't perfect - it's just the starting point!

Proofread & Edit

After finishing your first draft, take time to proofread and edit it for grammar and spelling mistakes.

Proofreading is the process of checking for grammatical mistakes. It should be done after you have finished writing your essay.

Editing, on the other hand, involves reviewing the structure and organization of your essay and its content. It should be done before you submit your final work.

Both proofreading and editing are essential for producing a high-quality essay. Make sure to give yourself enough time to do them properly!

After revising the essay, you should format it according to the guidelines given by your instructor. This could involve using a specific font size, page margins, or citation style.

Most science essays are written in Times New Roman font with 12-point size and double spacing. The margins should be 1 inch on all sides, and the text should be justified.

In addition, you must cite your sources properly using a recognized citation style such as APA , Chicago , or Harvard . Make sure to follow the guidelines closely so that your essay looks professional.

Following these steps will help you create an informative and well-structured science essay that meets the given criteria.

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How to Structure a Science Essay?

A basic science essay structure includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. 

Let's look at each of these briefly.

  • Introduction

Your essay introduction should introduce your topic and provide a brief overview of what you will discuss in the essay. It should also state your thesis or main argument.

For instance, a thesis statement for a science essay could be, 

"The human body is capable of incredible feats, as evidenced by the many athletes who have competed in the Olympic games."

The body of your essay will contain the bulk of your argument or discussion. It should be divided into paragraphs, each discussing a different point.

For instance, imagine you were writing about sports and the human body. 

Your first paragraph can discuss the physical capabilities of the human body. 

The second paragraph may be about the physical benefits of competing in sports. 

Similarly, in the third paragraph, you can present one or two case studies of specific athletes to support your point. 

Once you have explained all your points in the body, it’s time to conclude the essay.

Your essay conclusion should summarize the main points of your essay and leave the reader with a sense of closure.

In the conclusion, you reiterate your thesis and sum up your arguments. You can also suggest implications or potential applications of the ideas discussed in the essay. 

By following this structure, you will create a well-organized essay.

Check out a few example essays to see this structure in practice.

Science Essay Examples

A great way to get inspired when writing a science essay is to look at other examples of successful essays written by others. 

Here are some examples that will give you an idea of how to write your essay.

Science Essay About Genetics - Science Essay Example

Environmental Science Essay Example | PDF Sample

The Science of Nanotechnology

Science, Non-Science, and Pseudo-Science

The Science Of Science Education

Science in our Daily Lives

Short Science Essay Example

Let’s take a look at a short science essay: 

Want to read more essay examples? Here, you can find more science essay examples to learn from.

How to Choose the Right Science Essay Topic

Choosing the right science essay topic is a critical first step in crafting a compelling and engaging essay. Here's a concise guide on how to make this decision wisely:

  • Consider Your Interests: Start by reflecting on your personal interests within the realm of science. Selecting a topic that genuinely fascinates you will make the research and writing process more enjoyable and motivated.
  • Relevance to the Course: Ensure that your chosen topic aligns with your course or assignment requirements. Read the assignment guidelines carefully to understand the scope and focus expected by your instructor.
  • Current Trends and Issues: Stay updated with the latest scientific developments and trends. Opting for a topic that addresses contemporary issues not only makes your essay relevant but also demonstrates your awareness of current events in the field.
  • Narrow Down the Scope: Science is vast, so narrow your topic to a manageable scope. Instead of a broad subject like "Climate Change," consider a more specific angle like "The Impact of Melting Arctic Ice on Global Sea Levels."
  • Available Resources: Ensure that there are sufficient credible sources and research materials available for your chosen topic. A lack of resources can hinder your research efforts.
  • Discuss with Your Instructor: If you're uncertain about your topic choice, don't hesitate to consult your instructor or professor. They can provide valuable guidance and may even suggest specific topics based on your academic goals.

Science Essay Topics

Choosing an appropriate topic for a science essay is one of the first steps in writing a successful paper.

Here are a few science essay topics to get you started:

  • How space exploration affects our daily lives?
  • How has technology changed our understanding of medicine?
  • Are there ethical considerations to consider when conducting scientific research?
  • How does climate change affect the biodiversity of different parts of the world?
  • How can artificial intelligence be used in medicine?
  • What impact have vaccines had on global health?
  • What is the future of renewable energy?
  • How do we ensure that genetically modified organisms are safe for humans and the environment?
  • The influence of social media on human behavior: A social science perspective
  • What are the potential risks and benefits of stem cell therapy?

Important science topics can cover anything from space exploration to chemistry and biology. So you can choose any topic according to your interests!

Need more topics? We have gathered 100+ science essay topics to help you find a great topic!

Continue reading to find some tips to help you write a successful science essay. 

Science Essay Writing Tips

Once you have chosen a topic and looked at examples, it's time to start writing the science essay.

Here are some key tips for a successful essay:

  • Research thoroughly

Make sure you do extensive research before you begin writing your paper. This will ensure that the facts and figures you include are accurate and supported by reliable sources.

  • Use clear language

Avoid using jargon or overly technical language when writing your essay. Plain language is easier to understand and more engaging for readers.

  • Referencing

Always provide references for any information you include in your essay. This will demonstrate that you acknowledge other people's work and show that the evidence you use is credible.

Make sure to follow the basic structure of an essay and organize your thoughts into clear sections. This will improve the flow and make your essay easier to read.

  • Ask someone to proofread

It’s also a good idea to get someone else to proofread your work as they may spot mistakes that you have missed.

These few tips will help ensure that your science essay is well-written and informative!

You've learned the steps to writing a successful science essay and looked at some examples and topics to get you started. 

Make sure you thoroughly research, use clear language, structure your thoughts, and proofread your essay. With these tips, you’re sure to write a great science essay! 

Do you still need expert help writing a science essay? Our science essay writing service is here to help. With our team of professional writers, you can rest assured that your essay will be written to the highest standards.

Contact our online writing service now to get started!

Also, do not forget to try our essay typer tool for quick and cost-free aid with your essays!

Betty P. (Natural Sciences, Life Sciences)

Betty is a freelance writer and researcher. She has a Masters in literature and enjoys providing writing services to her clients. Betty is an avid reader and loves learning new things. She has provided writing services to clients from all academic levels and related academic fields.

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How to successfully write a scientific essay.

Posted by Cody Rhodes

If you are undertaking a course which relates to science, you are more or less apt to write an essay on science. You need to know how to write a science essay irrespective of whether your professor gives you a topic or you come up with one. Additionally, you need to have an end objective in mind. Writing a science essay necessitates that you produce an article which has all the details and facts about the subject matter and it ought to be to the point. Also, you need to know and understand that science essays are more or less different from other types of essays. They require you to be analytical and precise when answering questions. Hence, this can be quite challenging and tiresome. However, that should not deter you from learning how to write your paper. You can always inquire for pre-written research papers for sale from writing services like EssayZoo.

Also, you can read other people’s articles and find out how they produce and develop unique and high-quality papers. Moreover, this will help you understand how to approach your essays in different ways. Nonetheless, if you want to learn how to write a scientific paper in a successful manner, consider the following tips.

How to successfully write a scientific essay

Select a topic for your article Like any other type of essay, you need to have a topic before you start the actual writing process. Your professor or instructor may give you a science essay topic to write about or ask you to come up with yours. When selecting a topic for your paper, ensure that you choose one you can write about. Do not pick a complex topic which can make the writing process boring and infuriating for you. Instead, choose one that you are familiar with. Select a topic you will not struggle gathering information about. Also, you need to have an interest in it. If you are unable to come up with a good topic, trying reading other people’s articles. This will help you develop a topic with ease.

Draft a plan After selecting a topic, the next step is drafting a plan or an outline. An outline is fundamental in writing a scientific essay as it is the foundation on which your paper is built. Additionally, it acts as a road map for your article. Hence, you need to incorporate all the thoughts and ideas you will include in your essay in the outline. You need to know what you will include in the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Drafting a plan helps you save a lot of time when writing your paper. Also, it helps you to keep track of the primary objective of your article.

Start writing the article After drafting a plan, you can begin the writing process. Writing your paper will be smooth and easier as you have an outline which helps simplify the writing process. When writing your article, begin with a strong hook for your introduction. Dictate the direction your paper will take. Provide some background information and state the issue you will discuss as well as the solutions you have come up with. Arrange the body of your article according to the essay structure you will use to guide you. Also, ensure that you use transitory sentences to show the relationship between the paragraphs of your article. Conclude your essay by summarizing all the key points. Also, highlight the practical potential of our findings and their impacts.

Proofread and check for errors in the paper Before submitting or forwarding your article, it is fundamental that you proofread and correct all the errors that you come across. Delivering a paper that is full of mistakes can affect your overall performance in a negative manner. Thus, it is essential you revise your paper and check for errors. Correct all of them. Ask a friend to proofread your paper. He or she may spot some of the mistakes you did not come across.

In conclusion, writing a scientific essay differs from writing other types of papers. A scientific essay requires you to produce an article which has all the information and facts about the subject matter and it ought to be to the point. Nonetheless, the scientific essay formats similar to the format of any other essay: introduction, body, and conclusion. You need to use your outline to guide you through the writing process. To learn how to write a scientific essay in a successful manner, consider the tips above.

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How to Write a Scientific Essay

Complete Guide: How to Write a Scientific Essay

Are you dealing with a science course in high school or college? Your professor will require you to write a paper that showcases the knowledge you’ve obtained, as well as your potential for research and logical conclusions.

The scientific essay format seems easy to maintain. However, you can’t simply follow an outline and come up with a unique paper. It takes a lot of work to complete a brilliant essay.

We have a few clear guidelines for you.

Tips on Writing Scientific Papers

  • Understand What a Scientific Essay Is

When you get this type of assignment for the first time, you have to understand it. Professors rarely spend enough time guiding you through the requirements. You should check if they published some instructions online. If not, you can follow this tutorial on how to write essays for science subjects, published by the University of Oxford.

In essence, a scientific essay sets up a problem and suggests potential solution. The solution has to be based on facts and scientific data. This is not the type of paper that requires your personal opinion.

For example, your professor may ask you to write a scientific essay about COVID-19. You will have to go through factual information and develop a pragmatic solution based on facts.

  • Choose a Topic

You can’t start writing on the general theme that your professor assigns. As an example, COVID-19 is a too broad team to be discussed in a five-paragraph paper. You’ll have to narrow it down to a specific problem, which you’ll try to solve.

Brainstorming is a good technique that helps you with the selection. Write down all scientific problems linked to the general issue. Then, use Google to see if you can find actual solutions for some of them. Choose a topic that gives you enough information to deal with. You don’t want to get stuck because you can’t find enough facts, so you’ll end up speculating.

  • Always Make an Outline

The scientific paper outline will guide you through an effortless process of writing. It’s a map for all facts and arguments that you plan to include. It’s pretty standard:

  • Introduction

Most professors don’t require you to follow the traditional five-paragraph format for scientific essays. However, you still need those three main elements in the paper, so you’ll maintain its logical flow. You still need a thesis statement supported with clear arguments.

Write notes on what you plan to include in each section of the paper. That’s your outline.

How to Write a Scientific Essay

  • Find Scientific Articles to Reference

Research is an important part of a scientific essay. Use Google Scholar to find research studies related to your topic. You won’t find one discussing your exact topic. That would mean that your topic isn’t unique enough. Find studies that are related, and combine them to come down to your own conclusions.

Make sure to reference the sources you use. APA (American Psychological Association) is the preferred citation style for scientific papers. Analyze its guidelines and use them to format the references.

  • Go with the Flow

When you’re looking for writing tips, you’ll see a common recommendation: start writing early on .

That’s a good tip to follow. As soon as you get the instructions, you should start working on the paper.

But what if you don’t feel inspired? Don’t worry about it! You can’t sit in front of the computer and force yourself to write. Take it easy. Start with a light online search and take notes. That’s work, too. You’ll come to the outline in no time. Once you’re done with that part, it will be easy to carry on with the writing process.

  • Don’t Skip the Editing

It’s the easiest stage to skip, yet it’s the most important one. You may be pressured by time, but you can find half an hour to edit the paper, right?

Start with an evaluation of the logical flow. Read it from a beginner’s point of view. Are there some background details that you could add? Is there any wordiness or unnecessary argumentation? Don’t worry; you won’t butcher your work. You’ll only make it better.

You’re not done yet! Proofreading is the final stage. You have to check your spelling and grammar before you get to the final version of your paper. All that effort could go to waste for a silly mistake. You don’t want that.

You Can Do This

A scientific essay is not an easy challenge to undertake. You don’t know much about the topic, but you have to act like you’re an expert on it. To get to that level, you’ll need to read tons of research studies.

That’s why it’s important to give yourself enough time. When you do a good research, you’ll inevitably get inspired. You can find an interesting angle on any topic, no matter how boring it seems.

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How to Write a Scientific Essay to Meet Academic Standards

Students compose a great variety of academic assignments. Some of them are pretty complicated. Nonetheless, they are pretty interesting and develop our skills and improve knowledge. One of the stumbling stones in essay writing is the academic discipline. They all are different, and each has its own difficulties. Thus, many students wish to learn how to write a scientific essay.

This discipline requires great dedication. You ought to be really scientific, make in-depth research on every detail because even the slightest thing may change the course of events. It’s important to be familiar with other works related to your study, find the latest news and similar things. The scientific essay meaning is crucial as it explains complex events, things or terms from the scientific viewpoint. It’s not a simple essay about how you feel today. That is a very important, durable and complex labor.

Therefore, this assignment cannot be referred to as the easiest research projects. Nonetheless, it is undoubtedly one of the most exciting and challenging. Try to accomplish it with our assistance.

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Writing a Scientific Essay: Smart Tips

There are specific recommendations you should know about this paper. There is nothing really new about the process of writing a scientific essay. The things you should fulfill are similar to other research papers. Nevertheless, they are helpful, and you should not skip a single stage.

Firstly, you should choose your topic. It is expected to be interesting. Try to pick a universal theme. It should be interesting for you and your readers. In the meanwhile, it ought to discover some issue and propose some solutions.

Once you identify your topic, search for the appropriate information. Undoubtedly, you should take some notes. It’s not possible to memorize all facts and statistics. Therefore, note all the things related to your project. Afterward, throw out insignificant data and keep the most effective evidence.

Depending on the topic and found data, craft an outline. It should include all stages of your writing – the introduction, thesis, main body, conclusion, and references.

A good beginning makes the half of your success. Therefore, pay particular attention to this matter. It should be intriguing. Use the strong first line to captivate your audience. After you grab attention, introduce a thesis statement. It should clearly explain your primary purpose.

The main body continues your story from the thesis. Use relevant facts, figures, statistics, etc., to support your claim. You cannot simply say that this or that phenomenon is possible. That is scientific research. It demands the approved facts and proofs.

Your conclusion is the summarization of the entire paper. Mention your central question once again and remind of its importance. Afterward, mention the results of your study and their value.

Scientific Essay Format: Essential Points to Know

It goes beyond all doubts that the format of an assignment is crucial as well. You should know all the details concerning your scientific essay format. There are such writing formats as MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, Vancouver, etc. Learn everything about the proper citing and preparation of the reference list. Every part of your writing ought to be fulfilled correctly. Your paper should contain:

  • Materials and Methods
  • Acknowledgments

Your title tells the reader your name, the title of the research, the course number, and similar points. The abstract reveals your purpose, contains the introduction, main plot, and the conclusion.

It’s required to mention the information and methods you used to prove your opinion. Shed more light on the outcomes of your research. Afterward, you should discuss them. Explain their meaning to the readers and why they are so important.

References contain the data you used in your paper. Prepare them following the assigned format. Your acknowledgments contain information about all people who somehow contributed to the development of your project.

Scientific Essay Topics: Engaging and Interesting Variants

Under the condition, you cannot create scientific essay topics on your own use our help. At times, people need only a few examples to understand how to complete different tasks. Make allowances for the following suggestions:

  • What are a scientific revolution and its consequences for the humanity?
  • Can molecular biology find the keys to correct gene failure?
  • What are the measures to linger the process of aging?
  • Reveal the importance of scientific attitude for the current society.
  • Is it true that life existed on Mars? What are the main theories?
  • What methodologies can prevent the occurrence of schizophrenia?
  • Is stem cell therapy effective against autism?
  • The consequences of scientific revolution and enlightenment in the second part of the 20th century.
  • Is Biocomputing the future of the humankind?
  • Which alternatives are able to save polluted areas and their flora and fauna?

Memorize these suggestions. They highlight important issues, which are relevant for all times. Craft your own concepts using our list.

Scientific Essay | How To Write It, Parts And Characteristics

We explain what a scientific essay is, its characteristics and the parts that make it up. Also, how to write a scientific essay?

What is a scientific essay?

A scientific essay is  a type of prose writing in  which the author gives his opinion or position on a particular topic based on certain objective information that comes from laws or scientifically reliable evidence.

The scientific essay  uses formal language  , although not necessarily elaborate or sophisticated, to convey an idea or present a thought of the author. It is made up of two fundamental parts: an objective part, in which the thesis or scientific theory is exposed, and another subjective part in which the writer of the essay presents conclusions or hypotheses on the issue raised.

The type of content that a scientific essay addresses is varied, but always  revolves around science-related topics  . In addition, the essays vary among themselves in length, objective and audience to which they are directed.

Characteristics of a scientific essay

Characteristics of a scientific essay

Some of the main characteristics of a scientific essay are:

  • It must be original and unpublished  . An essay must present an opinion or point of view drawn up by the author himself, so subjective information from other authors cannot be copied or replicated.
  • You can use a free theme  . There is no specific area or topic for the development of a scientific essay, but the author can choose the subject that is of interest to him.
  • It should only address one topic  . A scientific essay does not address multiple topics at once, but rather focuses on expressing a single, central idea. Then you can address related or secondary topics, but always in relation to the main topic.
  • Use a scientific theory or law as a basis . The starting point of any scientific essay is to investigate a topic and then develop the conclusions or hypotheses.
  • It must be synthetic  . All scientific essays must be brief but must always include relevant data. In general terms, although it depends on the topic addressed, scientific essays do not usually exceed four or five A4 pages.
  • It has stages  . A scientific essay is carried out by following certain steps that guide the author and allow him to do a good job.
  • It is written in simple and formal language  . For the writing of a scientific essay, a formal and objective language must be used, although it does not have to be strictly scientific.
  • It must have order and coherence  . For the organization of an essay, it is advisable to follow certain guidelines or order when organizing and capturing the information.
  • Bibliography must be included  . Any scientific essay must include the sources from which the scientific data is obtained. This is extremely important to give seriousness and confidence in the essay and to give credit to the authors of the scientific theories or laws.

How to do a scientific essay?

How to do a scientific essay?

There are certain steps or stages that can be carried out when doing a scientific essay. These are:

  • Selection of the research area  . The author of the essay chooses the field or discipline on which he wants to investigate.
  • Research  . We proceed to the reading of different topics of interest that allow reducing the field of action and result in the topic on which it will be investigated.
  • Delimitation of the subject  . After defining the theme, the author recognizes something that he does not understand or is interesting about a theory and discovers the axis of his essay.
  • Information search  . The author investigates everything that is published on that particular topic and collects the data and information he needs to later refute or affirm his own hypotheses or conclusions.
  • Organization and selection of information  . The author uses all the information previously collected and chooses which is the essential information, which will be discarded and which will be complementary data.
  • Elaboration of an outline  . From the information collected, the most important concepts are extracted and the primary and secondary ideas are recognized. The data of interest and the conclusions drawn from the research are turned over on a sheet.
  • Preparation of a draft  . The order that the information will have within the essay is defined and the writing begins.
  • Writing the essay  . The final version of the essay is written and contents of the draft can be added or deleted. In this instance, attention must be paid to the correction and editing of the writing, since it is important that the essay does not have errors in style or in spelling and grammar.

Parts of a scientific essay

Parts of a scientific essay

A scientific essay consists of the following elements:

  • Title  . It is the name that the scientific essay will bear. It is important that it is original and refers to the content of the writing.
  • Introduction  . The topic that the essay will address is raised and the hypotheses or what explains the reason for the choice of that topic are formulated.
  • Development  . The ideas or data that support the author's position are presented and developed and the bases on which the author starts for the investigation are raised and made known . Information and data from certified sources are used in the development of the essay and opinions and points of view of the author may be included (although always duly justified). The essay must be a personal and original analysis and, in the event that extracts or content from other authors are cited, the source must be specified.
  • Conclusions  . The conclusions reached by the author after the investigation and analysis of information are detailed.
  • Bibliography.  The sources of information used throughout the research and writing process are listed.


Kalum Talbot

MA student of the TransAtlantic Masters program at UNC-Chapel Hill. Political Science with a focus on European Studies. Expressed ideas are open to revision. He not only covers Technical articles but also has skills in the fields of SEO, graphics, web development and coding. .

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Science Essay Examples

Caleb S.

Best Science Essay Examples to Learn From

Published on: May 3, 2023

Last updated on: Sep 1, 2023

Science Essay Examples

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Are you struggling to write a science essay that stands out? 

Are you tired of feeling overwhelmed by scientific jargon and complicated concepts? 

You're not alone. 

Science essays can be a challenge for even the most dedicated students. It's no wonder that so many students struggle to produce top-notch papers.

But fear not! 

In this blog post, we'll provide you with some science essay examples and tips. We will help you write a top-notch paper that impresses your professor and earns you a high grade. 

So buckle up and get ready to tackle science essays like a pro!

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Science Essay Examples for Students

Writing a science essay can be a daunting task for students. However, with the right guidance and examples, it can also be a rewarding and enlightening experience.

Here, we'll provide you with examples so you can elevate your own writing.

Science Essay Example SPM

Scientific Essay Example Pdf (Insert

Science Paper Example

Science Project Essay Example

Science Essay Examples for Different Subjects

Science is a vast field that encompasses many different subjects, from biology to physics to chemistry. As a student, you may find yourself tasked with writing a science essay on a subject that you're not particularly familiar with. 

We have provided you with science essay examples for different subjects to help you get started.

Social Science Essay Example

Political Science Essay Example

Environmental Science Essay Example

Health Science Essay Example

Computer Science Essay Example

University Science Essay Examples

Science essays are important part of university-level education. However, different universities may have different requirements and expectations when it comes to writing these essays. 

That's why we've compiled some science essay examples for different universities. You can see what works and what doesn't, and tailor your own writing accordingly.

Scientific Essay Example University

Mcmaster Health Science Essay Example

Cornell Arts And Science Essay Example

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Structure of a Science Essay

Science essays are a crucial part of many subjects, and learning to structure them effectively is essential for achieving academic success. 

Let’s explore scientific essay structure.


The introduction of a science essay should introduce the topic and provide some context for the reader. 

You should explain the purpose of the essay and provide a thesis statement that outlines the main argument you will make in the essay. A good introduction should also capture the reader's interest and motivate them to read on.

Check out these how to start a science essay examples for better understanding:

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of a science essay should provide evidence to support the thesis statement. You should use scientific evidence, research, and data to support your argument. 

Each paragraph should focus on one key point, and the points should be organized logically to create a coherent argument. It is essential to provide citations for all sources you use in your essay.

Here is an example for you:

The conclusion of a science essay should summarize the main points of the essay and restate the thesis statement in a compelling manner. 

You should also provide some final thoughts or recommendations based on the evidence presented in the essay. 

The conclusion should be concise and leave a lasting impression on the reader.

Natural Science Essay Topics

There are countless interesting, thought-provoking and problem solving essay topics in science.

Explore some compelling natural science essay topics to inspire your writing.

Science Essay Topics for 5th Graders

  • The importance of recycling for our environment
  • The different types of clouds and how they form
  • How animals hibernate during the winter months
  • The different types of rocks and how they are formed
  • The role of bees in pollination and food production
  • How light travels and how we see objects
  • The properties of magnets and how they work
  • The different stages of stem cell research 
  • The human digestive system and how it works
  • The effects of pollution on our environment and health

Science Essay Topics for 6th Graders

  • The impact of climate change on the planet
  • The different types of energy and how they are produced
  • The importance of water conservation and management
  • The role of artificial intelligence in human life
  • The structure and function of the human respiratory system
  • The properties and uses of acids and bases
  • The effect of light on plant growth and development
  • The differences between renewable and non-renewable energy sources
  • The process of photosynthesis and its importance for life on Earth
  • The impact of technology on the environment and society

Science Essay Topics for 7th Graders

  • The structure and function of the human circulatory system
  • The different types of fossils and how they are formed
  • The impact of natural disasters on the environment and human life
  • The pros and cons of bacteria in our bodies and in the environment
  • The physics of sound and how it travels
  • The effects of air pollution in United States
  • The properties and uses of different types of waves (sound, light, etc.)
  • The process of cell division and its role in growth and repair
  • The structure and function of the human nervous system
  • The different types of ecosystems and their unique characteristics

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Tips for Writing a Science Essay

Writing a science essay can be challenging, especially if you don't have much experience in writing academic papers. 

However, with the right approach and strategies, you can produce a high-quality science essays. 

Here are some tips to help you write a successful science essay:

Understand the assignment requirements: Before you start writing your essay, make sure you understand the assignment requirements. Read the prompt carefully and make note of any specific guidelines or formatting requirements.

Choose a topic that interests you: Writing about a topic that you find interesting and engaging can make the process enjoyable and rewarding. Consider topics that you have studied in class or that you have a personal interest in.

Conduct thorough research: To write a successful science essay, you need to have a deep understanding of the topic you are writing about. Conduct thorough research using reliable sources such as academic journals, textbooks, and reputable websites.

Develop a clear and concise thesis statement: Your thesis statement should clearly state your argument or position on the topic you are writing about. It should be concise and specific, and should be supported by evidence throughout your essay.

Use evidence to support your claims: When writing a science essay, it's important to use evidence to support your claims and arguments. This can include scientific data, research findings, and expert opinions.

Edit and proofread your essay: Before submitting your essay, make sure to edit and proofread it carefully. Check for spelling and grammatical errors. Ensure that your essay is formatted correctly according to the assignment requirements.

In conclusion, this blog has provided a comprehensive guide to writing a successful science essay. 

By following the tips, students can produce high-quality essays that showcase their understanding of science.

If you're struggling to write a science essay or need additional assistance, our professional writing service is here to help. 

Our team of expert writers has extensive experience in writing science essays for students of all levels. 

So why wait? Contact or science essay writing service today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a science essay.

Some common mistakes to avoid include:

  • Plagiarizing content
  • Using incorrect or unreliable sources
  • Failing to clearly state your thesis
  • Using overly complex language 

How can I make my science essay stand out?

To make your science essay stand out, consider choosing a unique or controversial topic. Using relevant and up-to-date sources, and present your information in a clear and concise manner. You can also consider using visuals such as graphs or charts to enhance your essay.

What should I do if I'm struggling to come up with a topic for my science essay?

If you're struggling to come up with a topic for your science essay, consider discussing potential topics with your instructor or classmates. You can also conduct research online or in academic journals to find inspiration.

How important is research when writing a science essay?

Research is an essential component of writing a science essay. Your essay should be grounded in accurate and reliable scientific information. That is why it's important to conduct thorough research using reputable sources.

Can I use personal anecdotes or experiences in my science essay?

While personal anecdotes or experiences can be engaging, they may not always be relevant to a science essay. It's important to focus on presenting factual information and scientific evidence to support your argument or position.

Caleb S. (Law, Literature)

Caleb S. has extensive experience in writing and holds a Masters from Oxford University. He takes great satisfaction in helping students exceed their academic goals. Caleb always puts the needs of his clients first and is dedicated to providing quality service.

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How To Write Scientific Essays

  • Author Sandra W.

scientific essay form

What Is The Guide To Writing A Scientific Essay?

The format of writing a scientific essay is just similar to the steps used in writing any other type of essay. Good and effective writing requires proper structuring, preparation and organization. Important steps needed to write a good scientific essay include research, planning, outlining of ideas, writing, and finally evaluation the content of your essay. Upon completion, it is advisable that the writer checks the paper for any grammar mistakes and spelling. After proofreading, the writer can confirm the instructions of the essay in order to produce a correct paper. Below is a guide prepared by on how to write a sciences essay

  • Science essays should make an argument, your essay should have a point and reach a conclusion, even if tentative, and you should try to convince the reader that your point is correct. This is the most important single point in writing a good essay. It will help you make it well organized, and well written.
  • Clarity of thought and argument provide the necessary basis for a clear writing style. Thus, just like making a legal case in the courtroom, you follow a logical progression, using data or evidence to support each step of your argument, until you reach a logical conclusion.
  • Do not just cite the study, also briefly describe its key result(s) in a sentence or two, and explain, explicitly, why this supports your point.

Proof : Note that the logic of scientific discovery is that of generating a list of possibilities (postulating hypotheses) and performing experiments on these possibilities. We proceed by rejecting false hypotheses, rather than proving true ones

Be critical:  To be critical is to examine the factual basis for a statement. Just criticizing a study (e.g. for only looking at one species, using a particular methodology, or having two few data points) does not demonstrate a critical attitude. Part of science is separating the crucial from the incidental factors, and criticizing incidentals is worse than saying nothing at all. Being overcritical about irrelevant issues is as bad as (maybe worse) than being uncritical.

Be concise . Avoid such tropes as "it is believed that" or "scientists believe". Or (perhaps worse) "the general consensus seems to be…" (Science is not a popularity contest!) Say instead, "Herman (1996) claimed

Do not use technical terms not known to a general psychologist without definition and explication

Latin names of species are italicized . The genus is always in capital and the species never is (Home sapiens,  Canis familiaris ). These rules are the same for all living things

References : You must cite all work that you rely on to in making your argument. All references should be in full at the end of the essay (as in the example reference list at the end of this section). 

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Scientific Essay Format: Definition and Features

A scientific essay is common writing among science students or anyone undertaking a science-related course. 

Writing a well-curated and clear science essayservice is necessary if you’re aspiring to get good grades. This can only be achieved if one has a concise knowledge of how to write a good essay that contains all the necessary facts, details, and subject, although there are online essay writing services that can help you ace out the writing process with the help of their expert writers.

What is a scientific essay?

A scientific essay is an article, essay, or journal written to ascertain a particular problem, whereby you have analyzed and proffered a possible solution to the stated problem based on an experiment carried out by you or by utilizing available theories and experiments. This form of writing may involve reporting scientific observations, theories, and hypotheses in a manner that even a non-scientist can understand.

Characteristic of a scientific essay:

1.Well conventional and structured format: this simply explains the need to follow the scientific writing structural pattern, which includes:

  • Aim : This highlights the main purpose and reason why an experiment was carried out.
  • Abstract : This is a short and concise summary of everything contained in the report/writing.
  • Method : This involves the description of all the activities, the processes, and all events that were carried out to achieve the total end result.
  • Result : This is a clear explanation of all observations and interpretations of the project.
  • Discussion : This section discusses and critically analyzes, evaluates, and discusses your result’s significance. Also, it compares previous studies, discusses and also suggests solutions to weaknesses.
  • References : This depends on the type of scientific writing you’re engaging in. It follows a reference format, the citation is a must, and Harvard style is widely used in most scientific writing.

2. Contains a figure, charts, and images: A scientific essay contains a record of all data taken from the experiment, these can be illustrated in the writing with tables, charts, images, graphs e.t.c. Each illustration gives a quick description of the detailed report.

3.Comprehensive and conveys the idea discussed: prior to a different form of the report and essay writing, one thing that sets out a scientific essay is the complexity and compact writing is its ability to convey sequentially a particular idea. Each sentence focuses on the subject and the concept of the discussion.

4.Language use in scientific writing is different: Unlike other types of essay writing where slang and emotional phrases can be incorporated, scientific writing uses scientific terms and wordings. Examples include; use of “offsprings” instead of “babies” in genetic terms.

5.Conclusion: A good scientific writing contains a conclusion page. This page contains a validation or disagreement, interpretation, and outcome of the research. A good scientific essay interprets results and also states whether the report agrees or disagrees with existing work or the topic of other authors in the field.

Qualities of a good scientific essay

Unlike the other type of essay writings, scientific essays possess special qualities that make them more unique and different from other forms of essays, which include;

  • It is clear and concise
  • Use formal languages rather than informal
  • Avoids use of direct quotes
  • Uses up-to-date illustrations, data, and findings.
  • Arrives at a conclusion.

With the above-mentioned qualities of a good scientific essay, you might be interested in learning how to write a scientific essay, here is a guideline. 

How to successfully write a good scientific essay

Topic selection.

Most universities give out topics of discussion to students or ask them to select a topic of choice and discuss. 

Topic selection is the foundation of any scientific writing. It serves as a guide to what type of information you will be providing, what type of information you will be gathering, thereby allowing you to narrow your search. 

When selecting a topic, you shouldn’t select a complex task. Selecting a complex task or topic, makes the whole process of writing, crafting, and research boring and time-consuming.

  • Draft your work plan : Drafting a work plan will help save you from unorganized writing. Create an outline, an outline acts as a road map for everything you plan on including in the essay.
  • Start : After concluding on your topic, drafting, the next step is to start writing. With an already established outline, writing your essay will be easier. Make sure to write in a formal tone, arrange your essay in such a way it follows the standard scientific essay writing guideline. Also, conclude your scientific essay by summing up all the points you have earlier highlighted in your essay body.
  • Conclude your essay : This is the final part of your scientific essay. This section summarizes the whole content of the essay, it includes all theories, relevant and irrelevant hypotheses, and implications of the result.
  • Proofread : This is also an important aspect of writing, it is the act of carefully checking out errors and mistakes in an essay before it is finally published. Proofreading allows you to identify errors you have probably overlooked in first writing. This is because submitting an essay filled with errors can affect your grade and overall performance, you can employ the help of a friend or Check out , they offer professional essay writing services.

With all carefully highlighted above, we have explained ways on how to successfully write a scientific essay. Writing a scientific essay involves you getting your facts, figures, and data right.

Also, it involves understanding the subject of which you are trying to address. A scientific essay is far different from any other form of writing, and formatting it the right way is the best option.

Thinking of giving the task out to a writing agency? is your best option to try out. They have over a thousand professionals, with reliable customer service.

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A collage of headlines and magazine articles.

Opinion David Brooks

The Sidney Awards

Credit... Brea Souders for The New York Times

Supported by

David Brooks

By David Brooks

Opinion Columnist

  • Dec. 28, 2023

If you want to help people, there are many fine causes you can donate to. If you want to change the world, support a small magazine. It’s hard to imagine the Progressive era or the New Deal without a small magazine, The New Republic. There probably would have been no Reagan revolution without another small magazine, National Review. The Partisan Review had a circulation of roughly 5,000 to 7,000 at its peak but set the tone for America’s postwar intellectual life.

Small magazines cohere a community of thinkers. They develop a body of ideas. They plant flags and inspire social movements. They create a persona that serves as an aspirational ideal for people, a way to live their lives. Small magazines can alter history in a way big media outlets just can’t. So with the 20th annual Sidney Awards, which I named for the philosopher, public intellectual and expert polemicist Sidney Hook and are dedicated to celebrating some of the best long-form essays, this year we’ll pay special attention to these vanguard publications.

I generally don’t agree with the arguments of those on the populist right, but I have to admit there’s a lot of intellectual energy there these days. (The Sidneys go to essays that challenge readers, as well as to those that affirm.) With that, the first Sidney goes to Christopher Caldwell for his essay “ The Fateful Nineties ” in First Things. Most people see the 1990s as a golden moment for America — we’d won the Cold War, we enjoyed solid economic growth, the federal government sometimes ran surpluses, crime rates fell, tech took off.

Caldwell, on the other hand, describes the decade as one in which sensible people fell for a series of self-destructive illusions: Globalization means nation-states don’t matter. Cyberspace means the material world is less important. Capitalism can run on its own without a countervailing system of moral values. Elite technocrats can manage the world better than regular people. The world will be a better place if we cancel people for their linguistic infractions.

As Caldwell sums it up: “America’s discovery of world dominance might turn out in the 21st century to be what Spain’s discovery of gold had been in the 16th — a source of destabilization and decline disguised as a windfall.”

Some of this year’s Sidney Award winners are kind of cerebral, but John Jeremiah Sullivan’s essay “ Man Called Fran, ” from Harper’s, is pure candy. Once you start reading it, you will not be able to stop. It starts when the author was bothered by a vague, unpleasant smell spreading through part of his house. He called plumber after plumber, but nobody could figure it out. Then one plumber said that while his firm had “good plumbers,” sometimes you need a crew with “crackhead power.” He added, “A crackhead will just throw himself at a wall, even if it’s totally pointless.” Sullivan found two plumbers with this kind of power, one named Fran, and what happened next is remarkable, touching and deep.

The New Atlantis is a fantastic magazine that helps us understand the burdens and blessings of modern science and technology — the social effects of everything from Covid to artificial intelligence and lab-grown meat. In “ Rational Magic ,” Tara Isabella Burton profiles a group of tech-adjacent thinkers who have become disillusioned with the alienating emptiness of the world Silicon Valley is creating: its dry rationalism, its emphasis on the technological over the humanistic. Many such people, she writes, are searching for some sort of spirituality. She follows them into the world of occultism, mushrooms and ecstatic dance classes. Burton is picking up on a broader trend I’ve also been noticing recently. New forms of religion and spirituality are popping up where you least expect them — among the techies, among those on the hard, progressive left.

The Hedgehog Review is another favorite magazine of mine. Each issue offers deep and substantive takes on our culture. In “ The Great Malformation ,” Talbot Brewer observes that parenthood comes with “an ironclad obligation to raise one’s children as best one can.” But these days, parents have surrendered child rearing to the platforms that dominate the attention industry — TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and so on: “The work of cultural transmission is increasingly being conducted in such a way as to maximize the earnings of those who oversee it.”

He continues: “We would be astonished to discover a human community that did not attempt to pass along to its children a form of life that had won the affirmation of its elders. We would be utterly flabbergasted to discover a community that went to great lengths to pass along a form of life that its elders regarded as seriously deficient or mistaken. Yet we have slipped unawares into precisely this bizarre arrangement.” In most societies, the economy takes place in a historically rooted cultural setting. But in our world, he argues, the corporations own and determine the culture, shaping our preferences and forming, or not forming, our conception of the good.

I confess that until this year, I was unfamiliar with Places Journal, which offers scholarly but accessible articles on architecture, the landscape and the built environment. This year Shannon Mattern contributed “ Fountain Society ,” a fascinating history of water fountains. I had not known that Aaron Burr started a water company in the 18th century, nominally to provide New Yorkers with clean water but really so he could raise money to go into banking, creating what would become Chase Bank.

Societies reveal their values by how they treat water. Mattern writes: “Clearly the drinking fountain and the water bottle are more than two different options for quenching thirst. They’re embodiments of two different systems, two different sociopolitical narratives, about the provision of water. The fountain is an exemplar of public infrastructure and collective responsibility. The ubiquitous bottle of branded water is an accouterment of consumer culture — a small but telling instance of the triumphant market mentality that has in the past half-century remade so many aspects of our lives.”

It’s rare that an essay jolts my convictions on some major topic. But that happened with one by Subrena E. Smith and David Livingstone Smith, called “ The Trouble With Race and Its Many Shades of Deceit ,” in New Lines magazine. The Smiths are, as they put it, a so-called mixed-race couple. She has brown skin; his is beige. They support the aims of diversity, equity and inclusion programs but argue that there is a fatal contradiction in many antiracism programs. “Although the purpose of anti-racist training is to vanquish racism, most of these initiatives are simultaneously committed to upholding and celebrating race,” they write. “In the real world, can we have race without racism coming along for the ride? Trying to extinguish racism while shoring up race is like trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it.”

I’ve heard this argument — that we should seek to get rid of the whole concept of race — before and dismissed it. I did so because too many people I know have formed their identity around racial solidarity; it’s a source of meaning and strength in their lives. The Smiths argue that this is a mistake because race is a myth: “The scientific study of human variation shows that race is not meaningfully understood as a biological grouping, and there are no such things as racial essences. There is now near consensus among scholars that race is an ideological construction rather than a biological fact. Race was fashioned for nothing that was good. History has shown us how groups of people ‘racialize’ other groups of people to justify their exploitation, oppression and annihilation.”

One of the joys of small magazines is that they discover writers. Comment is a magazine that brings theological thinking to bear on public issues (and you should know that my wife is the editor in chief). This year, Comment published a powerful essay by Skyler Adleta, who was homeless in high school and is now a construction project manager in Ohio. His voice has power and depth. In “ The Providence of Poverty ” he writes about his father’s alcoholism: “I’ve only really known a shade of my dad, like glimpsing at dead, fallen leaves to study the intricacies of a large, old tree. My dad is an addict. Addiction is like rot, a slow decay imperceptible at first, that works its way from the inside out. When you at last survey the great damage, it may no longer be the person you are surveying, but the remnants of the attack itself. I despise addiction beyond any other ailment because of this.”

The essay traces his relationship with his dad and his decision not to forsake him. He concludes: “So I will continue to climb this mountain with my dad. Whether he likes it, or even realizes it, or not. And when his knees buckle and he falls to his face, he will at the very least not be alone. The question will be whether he allows his son, reinforced by our Lord, to carry him the rest of the way. If he does accept it, it will be a glorious occasion. The great old tree will be restored. The orphan will, at last, be face to face with his father.” Reading the essay, I felt myself in the presence of a bright new talent.

This year I’ve organized the Sidneys around small magazines. But I should conclude by adding that the big magazines, like The New Yorker and The Atlantic (where I also write), also had fantastic years and remain essential reading for any cultivated person. For example, if some year I’m feeling lazy when it comes time to compile the Sidneys, I could save a lot of effort if I just wrote down a single sentence: “Read what Caitlin Flanagan and Jennifer Senior wrote over the past 12 months.” These two writers, who work at The Atlantic, consistently produce masterpieces, as they did this year. Flanagan had a marvelously entertaining piece on the timeshare industry, “ The Timeshare Comes for Us All .” Senior had a moving and powerful piece called “ The Ones We Sent Away, ” on all those people who have been institutionalized and in some cases forgotten because they suffered from brain damage, extreme autism or some other mental disability.

As always, I’m grateful to two phenomenal aggregators who help me find Sidney nominees: Robert Cottrell, who founded The Browser, which gathers the best essays in English from around the world, and Conor Friedersdorf, who publishes the Best of Journalism newsletter, which lands in my inbox every Sunday morning and who catches me up on all the stuff I should have read the previous week.

This year’s nominees convince me once again that we’re living in a golden age of nonfiction.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , X and Threads .

David Brooks has been a columnist with The Times since 2003. He is the author, most recently,  of “How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen.” @ nytdavidbrooks


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Kalina Duncheva

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Hey all! My name is Kalina, and I'm a '27 from Sofia, Bulgaria. I'm interested in literature, the natural sciences, and foreign languages, so I'm considering majoring/minoring in CS, Environmental Studies, and Comparative Lit. I love writing and reading fantasy (i.e. I'm an expert on Middle Earth and Hogwarts studies). I also love hiking, bird-watching, and learning random words in Portuguese from my Brazilian friends. I'm so excited to share with you my Dartmouth journey!

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If I could rewrite my Why Dartmouth essay

Kalina's trippees on the path to Mount Cube

Two things happened this week that inspired this post. Number one, I attended an alumni event at my high-school, where I was told that because I was talking so much about my love for Dartmouth, I was a "college nationalist" (that was a funny remark, gotta give it to him). And number two, after it became clear that I was so adept at practicing "college nationalism," I decided to re-read my Dartmouth essays from a year ago to see whether I was so helplessly in love with that college even then.

I happily re-read two of my Dartmouth essays—the ones in which I talked about reading and writing. I couldn't quite make myself re-read my "Why Dartmouth" essay, though.

The "college nationalist" doesn't want to re-read her "Why Dartmouth" essay? Why?

I was never quite happy with my "Why Dartmouth" essay. I don't think it shows why I was SO excited about Dartmouth a year ago, nor is it anywhere close to showing why I am STILL excited about it now. 

If I could rewrite my "Why Dartmouth" essay, I would talk much more about the DOC ( the Dartmouth Outing Club). I'd talk about the many trips it runs EVERY week (which are all absolutely free for students). I'd talk about the many charming cabins Dartmouth owns across the New Hampshire woods (which are also free to rent for Dartmouth students). And most importantly, I'd talk about the amazing people you find in the DOC—from those who walk around carrying suitcases full of rocks and fluorescent fossils to those who decide to go surfing and birdwatching at the same time.

THIS was the part I found really tricky to write in my "Why Dartmouth" essay a year ago. How do you talk about the people you still haven't met, but are absolutely certain that they exist and that they're amazing without sounding corny or delusional?

As a senior in high school, you can't really KNOW that the community at your dream college is in fact the amazing community you think it is. After all, you still haven't become a part of that community to cite it as your main reason for applying to that school. Besides, how do you convincingly explain that hunch of yours, that gut feeling that these are YOUR PEOPLE, when you still haven't met these people?

I don't know how you do all that—you often just write something you aren't quite proud of, like I did. In my original "Why Dartmouth" essay, I focused on real things I could easily put in writing—from the Organic Farm to the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship. But in my revised "Why Dartmouth" essay, I would write about the people; I'd write about the brilliant, hilarious, and fascinating hikers, climbers, archers, birdwatchers, surfers, and skiers that make me grateful every day that I'm at no other school but Dartmouth :)

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True Detective: Night Country review: 'Fierce and richly imagined'

True Detective: Night Country

In the opening credits of True Detective: Night Country, a small stuffed-toy polar bear, a graveyard full of crosses and a clothed body falling into the sea emerge under a chilly midnight-blue sky, as the soundtrack plays Billie Eilish's haunting Bury a Friend ("Bury a friend, try to wake up... I want to end"). Liz Danvers – Jodie Foster, in a bracing performance – is the brittle, acerbic police chief in the small town of Ennis, Alaska, north of the Arctic Circle. During a winter period when the sun never rises, and night lasts for weeks, she investigates after the eight scientists living at a research centre suddenly vanish, all at once. With eerie suspense, vibrant characters and a layer of the supernatural, the series' creator and director, Issa López, gives Night Country a singular feeling, and those opening credits suggest how: this show gets really creepy, in a good way. The original season of True Detective (2014), with Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, set high expectations. After two much weaker follow-ups , this fourth season finally lives up to the exhilarating promise of the first.

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Liz is utterly rational, with a sardonic wit that leavens the series' darkness. Foster's talent for making stern characters sympathetic and likable – or at least understandable – shapes her. The film teases out her backstory, including why she was transferred to Ennis as some kind of professional punishment, forced to move there with her belligerent adolescent stepdaughter.

In True Detective fashion, there is a second, equally important heroine who partners with Liz on the case. Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) – almost always called by her last name – a State Trooper of Native Inupiaq heritage, grew up partly in Ennis, and is as instinctive as Liz is rational. She has her own tragic history. Reis, a champion boxer before she became an actor, has made only two small films, but her relative inexperience never shows as she matches Foster in intensity.

The women's relationship is fraught and mysterious, teased out as effectively as their individual backstories. Basically, they hate each other. Something went very wrong between them in the past, and an old case they worked on together casts an inescapable shadow over the new one.

López meticulously plots and paces the series' trajectory. The missing scientists' whereabouts are discovered at the end of episode one, but that is just the beginning of the investigation. The more the police unravel, the more tangled the mystery becomes. How might it be related to the unsolved murder of a Native woman years before, a case that has obsessed Navarro – and that Liz is eager to leave behind? Why was that long-dead victim's severed tongue found at the empty research centre? And how might her murder be related to her protests at the local mining company, which is still polluting the local water supply? Or maybe none of that applies.

The supporting cast is as sharp as the stars. Finn Bennett is vivid and convincing as Peter Prior, a smart and good-hearted young policeman who idolises Liz, jumping when she calls so much that it jeopardises his marriage. Peter's father, Hank (John Hawkes) is also a member of the force, disgruntled that Liz is his boss. Evidently, he is not the source of Peter's good nature. "We want him alive," Liz tells Hank when they go after a suspect, and Hank says, "Do we?" It's a line that resonates, not necessarily where you expect it to.

Night Country has the DNA of the original, with Liz and Navarro echoing the fraught-but-tight relationship between the detectives who Harrelson and McConaughey played

López, who has worked mostly in Mexican film and television, is new to the show and has said that she first proposed Night Country as a series without having the True Detective framework in mind until HBO suggested it. She did a brilliant job of retrofitting the idea. Night Country has the DNA of the original, with Liz and Navarro echoing the fraught-but-tight relationship between the detectives who Harrelson and McConaughey played, and with the first season's supernatural tinge.

But cultish ideas in season one were held by murder suspects. In Night Country the entire town and culture is imbued with spirituality and the belief that inexplicable things can have otherworldly causes, beliefs often but not only held by the Native people in Ennis. The series is filled with symbols and images. A dead man, either imagined or an actual apparition, points toward the location of corpses. A spiral symbol is tattooed on some people's heads and on a rock. In the first episode, before the men vanish, one of them says cryptically, frightened, "She's awake."

As the darkness drags on, the characters become more and more out of control. Episode five ends with a real shocker, and the sixth and final episode includes a claustrophobic crawl through an ice tunnel under the frozen surface of the land, all effectively sending shivers. The final episode also includes a blunt call back to True Detective season one that will tickle anyone with even a vague memory of the original.

In that last episode, it may be hard to buy what caused the men's vanishing act, an explanation that leaves you thinking, Really? Despite that, Lopez has taken inspiration from True Detective, and created a fierce, absorbing, richly imagined new show of her own.

True Detective: Night Country is released on Max in the US on 14 January and on Sky Atlantic/NOW in the UK on 15 January .

If you liked this story,  sign up for The Essential List newsletter  – a handpicked selection of features, videos and can't-miss news delivered to your inbox every Friday.

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