6. Writing Your Manuscript


Sections of an Article

Article formats vary by type and across scientific disciplines, but, regardless of field, a well-structured original-research article will be easy for editors and reviewers to peer review effectively.  It will tell the story of your research and its implications, and will help readers to follow your methodologies and arguments. Although the concept of your study may be clear in your mind, you may be introducing new ideas to your readers, so it is important to make the purpose and implications of your work clear.

There are some standard sections that you should generally include in an original research paper:

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion

While this outline guides a reader through the stages of your work, it may not be the best order in which to write your manuscript.  For example, you might consider writing your Materials and Methods and Results sections while you are performing your experiments and analyzing your results so that you don’t forget important details.  You may want to next write your Conclusions after you have had a chance to analyze your results and consider their impact.  Although the Title and Abstract appear first in an article, it can be best to write them last because they sum up all the other sections.

This section will provide an overview of standard manuscript sections along with tips for writing each to maximize its impact.

Optica Publishing Group offers helpful article templates and style guides to assist you in preparing your work for submission.