It's not a secret that a good many students passionate about astronomy mostly have a technical mindset. It's a huge plus for future researchers, but, at the same time, it often gets in the way of writing. When former high school graduates become college students, they often continue to maintain their high school attitude of "I need to focus entirely on science and research and waste as little time as possible on humanities and all those creative writing stuff." As a result, even the most gifted astronomy students not only find themselves at odds with non-science teachers but also fail to become efficient writers. And make no mistake, no one can become a successful scientist if they don't possess valuable writing skills. Thesis papers, essays, scientific proposals, and coursework papers are an integral part of college life. Of course, you may find a reliable academic writing company and ask its top specialists "do my research paper for me." Still, solid writing skills are a valuable asset that will come in handy at college and beyond. So, if you're dreaming of telescope time, scholarships, and research funding awards in astronomy, take care to familiarize yourself with our simple writing tips that can go a long way towards your academic successfulness.
Know Where to Begin
The most difficult part of writing a research paper is actually to begin, especially if it's your first paper. Just before you get down to your paper, be sure to come up with tentative answers to the questions listed below.
- What is the focus of my paper?
- What am I trying to argue?
- What evidence can I cite so that my research be more meaningful and well-grounded?
- What are the qualitative and quantitative conclusions of my research paper?
- What are the implications?
We highly recommend that you jot down the answers to these questions. Don't bother to refine and edit your answers. At this stage, it's OK to have 'raw,' 'unembellished' ideas. You'll be able to revise them as you move along.
Create an Outline
Once you're done with your answers, you can proceed to write an outline. Make sure to list the sections and subsections that will appear in your paper. It's also a good idea to not only mention names of your sections, but also sketch preliminary ideas and figures that will appear in each section. It's OK to do so even if you don't have results yet.
Draft Your Research Paper
Once you're through with your outline, start working on your rough draft. Oftentimes, students prefer to start with analysis sections as they are the easiest to cover. We suggest that you also do start with describing your analysis. Furthermore, ensure that all figures go into a proper section and provide relevant description for them. Pay special attention to your introduction. It should outline your subject matter or research topic and set a context for your study.
As any piece of academic writing, your astronomy research paper needs to comply with some basic principles of good writing.
Use plain, correct English. You may want to consult a couple of online grammar references or guides to make sure your style, punctuations, and grammar are flawless. It's also a good idea to enable spell-checker and take advantage of it while writing. Keep track of all thoughts and ideas swarming in your head. Make sure to refine on each sentence that appears on paper.
Don't use long sentences. Convoluted syntax is what a vast majority of readers cannot stand. Make sure not to use long sentences, hard-to-follow sentences in your paper. It's a good rule of thumb not to use more than 35 words in a sentence to ensure that your reader can easily keep track of your ideas. Should you spot longer constructions in your writing, consider breaking them up into shorter, declarative sentences.
Maintain a logic flow. All your ideas should flow smoothly. And there should be no abrupt transitions between your sentences or paragraphs.
Stay professional. It's critical that your research paper convey professionalism. It's formal language, not spoken English, that should constitute a predominant part of your paper. Refrain from using slang, colloquialisms, and emotional words like terrific, splendid, awesome, etc. Instead, your writing should be saturated with terms, definitions, and words pertinent to the field of your study. It's also critical that you give credit to all authors and researchers whose ideas and findings you use to backup your own research. You need to reference both primary and secondary sources properly and keep your paper as unique and original as possible. And remember that AstronomyOnline.org is always there to help you in conducting your research and finding relevant information for your astronomy projects.
Include Charts, Tables, and Designations Assigned to Celestial Bodies
Another important thing you should keep in mind while working on your astronomy paper is that no new data or obtained results should remain unexplained. Be it photometry, star-formation rates, or kinetic temperatures, you need to make sure to reflect the obtained data in your tables. Keep in mind that the most important aspect of your tables is their ability to convey the quantitative results of your study. Therefore, it's crucial that you ascertain that the values included in your tables are correct. Specifying your celestial bodies (through their names and coordinates) is very important information in astronomy papers. Being mindful of how you designate your sources will increase your results' practicality and usefulness to other researchers.
We hope that our tips will help you improve your writing skills and impress your professors with immaculately written research papers. Per aspera ad astra!
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