Research Paper Guidelines
The neuroscience research paper should be in journal article format and should include each of the sections below. There is no page limit. Your paper should be grammatically correct, concise, and properly referenced. If you do not see it yourself, say it yourself, think it yourself, or do it yourself, reference it!
Your lab supervisor needs to sign the front of the paper indicating that he/she has read the paper; no grade assignment is necessary.
Title: The title should be a concise description of the project.
Abstract: The abstract is a brief summary of the project that you are working on—an overview.
Introduction: This section includes the questions that the project(s) addresses—the hypothesis. It should also include a background, with references, that informs the reader about why the hypothetical questions are being asked. Everyone should be able to write this section. You need to ask questions and get papers the lab has previously published. You should understand the project that you are working on, even if your job is only one aspect of the project. This section should be well referenced.
Methods: What techniques are being used to answer the questions? Why are these techniques being used? What protocols are being used? What experimental subjects and groups? Again, you need to understand this component even if you are not actually using the techniques. You can also reference other papers that have used these methods so you do not need to write out the methods.
Results: What data have you collected? If none, what are the results you might see?
Discussion: What do the results, either obtained or speculated, mean to the questions that you set out to answer? How will this advance the field?
Reference List: List your references that you have used.
Think of your paper as a work in progress. Talk to people in your lab about the project. When you are just starting out in a lab, the most you may be able to complete is the introduction. You should, however, be able to speculate on what the expected results are and then write how these results, if obtained, would address the questions the project addresses. Each semester that you work on the project, you should be able to add to the paper you are writing.