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The Scientific Paper: A Template with Tips for Working with LaTeX

The Scientific Paper: A Template with Tips for Working with LaTeX

This paper contains a general outline of the information that should
be included in a scientific paper. It provides a good template within
which you can easily write a paper. When you start out writing
papers, you will likely include most of these sections and utilize
this fairly standard format. As you gain experience, you may choose a
different ordering or different sections as you find appropriate.
Remember this is just a template to help you get started. You will
have your own style of writing. Your audience and the content of your
paper should be the most important guiding influence when writing any
paper. The writing process will go much more smoothly if you take
some time to answer a few questions before you begin writing. For
example, before you begin writing, ask yourself, “Who is my
audience?”, “What do I want them to get out of this paper?”, and
“What are the most important ideas to convey with this paper?”
There are lots of other questions you could ask, but these three will
help you generate a document that is pitched at the right level and
contains information that is useful to your audience.

A Template with Tips for Working with LaTeX: You should keep in mind that a good scientific paper always introduces the reader to the subject material and provides the appropriate
background information that the author thinks the reader will need. A
good scientific paper will always make the experimental,
computational, or theoretical methods clear enough so that a competent
reader should be able to reproduce the work. A clear description of
how any data was collected should be included as well as a description
of the raw data, generally in graphical format. Any analysis performed
on the data should be outlined clearly. Analysis and conclusions drawn
from the analysis should generally be described separately from raw
data. A paper should end with a set of conclusions based on the
analysis.

It is the responsibility of the author to carefully lead the reader
from the experimental design through the conclusions tying each piece
together. For example, it should be clear to the reader explicitly
how your analysis leads from your raw data to your conclusions. If
you do not make this clear, no matter whether or not you are right,
you have not done your job as an author and will find that you have a
hard time convincing anyone that what you have done is valid.
Finally, every paper should end with a references section. A
scientific paper without any references, indicates that the author
believes that every thought conveyed in the paper is original. Any
information that you obtain from another source should be cited. The
only exception is for material that is considered common knowledge.
As a student, your common knowledge will often be somewhat more
limited than the average author in a scientific journal. As such, you
will often reference information from class notes or textbooks that
other authors may not. When in doubt, make a reference. This
eliminates any possibility that you will be accused of plagiarism, a
very serious transgression indeed.

An introduction generally contains a brief introduction to the
material that will be presented. Relevant information includes a clear
enunciation of the questions that will be addressed in the paper,
background information relevant for understanding the paper, basic
theory needed to understand the contents of the paper, etc.

A Template with Tips for Working with LaTeX: It is important to take into account your audience when writing the introduction. The purpose of an introduction is most often to give
your audience enough information so that they will be able to

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understand the rest of your paper and put it into a larger context.
Depending on your audience, this context may vary. For example, if
you are preparing a paper with other physics students in mind as the
audience, you will write the introduction so they see how their
previous physics knowledge will be useful in understanding this paper.
If on the other hand, you are writing this paper for a narrow
selection of researchers, you will not need to include as much
information. Rather, you will present them with enough information so
that they can see how this paper fits in with relevant research.

Because you may not be familiar with \LaTeX, you will undoubtedly have
many questions about how to do certain things. This document will
serve as a template for producing professional looking papers in
\LaTeX. Before you begin to modify this document, make sure you have
a copy of it saved somewhere so that you can refer back to it if
needed. In addition, there are lots of places to get help with
\LaTeX\ (including asking professors in physics and math), but a
useful place to begin is to visit http://www.giss.nasa.gov/latex/.
All the computers in the physics labs are equipped with a program
called TeXshop that runs the \LaTeX\ engine.

If you have any questions about the appropriate style for a scientific
paper, you should refer to the American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Style Manual at http://www.aip.org/pubservs/style/4thed/toc.html.

\section{Theory}
\label{sec:theory}

The Scientific Paper: A Template with Tips for Working with LaTeX

Often, if the theory needed to understand a paper is somewhat
extensive, a separate section containing a description of the theory
will be presented. This section should contain enough theoretical
detail to make it possible for a member of your target audience to be
able to reproduce any results you come up with. Obviously, the amount
of detail that you include will depend on space constraints and the
expected level of expertise of your audience.

In the context of a paper written by an undergraduate for a class, you
should include all non-obvious steps and be sure to reference material
that is not “common knowledge.” If you just learned the material in
a class, you should include references to where the basic derivation
comes from. If you start with a non-trivial expression that you had
to look up somewhere, either in a book, a paper, or your notes, you
should definitely include a reference.

All equations should be incorporated into the text using a program
designed to properly format equations. \LaTeX\ is designed to handle
equations, equation numbering, and cross referencing to sections,
equations, and figures with ease. In fact, you do not need to worry
about numbering any sections or equations, that will be done for you
automatically. You may want to refer back to an equation, figure, or
section. To do so, you simply label the appropriate item and then
refer back to it when needed. For example, to refer back to the
introduction, I can type something like “this is discussed in
Sections $\backslash$ref\{sec:intro\} and
$\backslash$ref\{sec:theory\}” to get “this is discussed in
Sections~\ref{sec:intro} and \ref{sec:theory}.” Notice that I didn’t
have to worry about the sections numbers. This is a life saver when
you are writing a paper with lots of equations and figures. Equation
numbering is automatic only in “displayed math” mode, which is
illustrated here,
\begin{equation}
\textbf{E}=\textbf{E}_0\cos (\textbf{k}\cdot\textbf{r}-\omega t+\phi),
\label{eq:E}
\end{equation}
and here,
\begin{equation}
\textbf{B}=\textbf{B}_0\cos (\textbf{k}\cdot\textbf{r}-\omega t+\phi).
\label{eq:B}
\end{equation}
Of course, I can easily refer back to Eqs.~\ref{eq:E} and \ref{eq:B}
without having to remember the numbers.

\section{Experimental Methods}
\label{sec:experiment} A Template with Tips for Working with LaTeX

This section is often called experimental design or methods. It
contains information about how you went about your experiment. The
purpose of this section is to convince your reader that your
experimental methods were sound and thorough. That said, if you have
made experimental errors that you did not correct, or if you made
errors along the way it is your responsibility to report them here.
If you do not clearly report your experimental methods, you run the
risk of having someone else try your experiment and get other results.
This then brings into question the validity of your conclusions and
your reputation as a scientist. In addition, if you made errors along
the way that you corrected before collecting your final data, it may
be worth presenting them here so that others can benefit from your
mistakes.

Often you will include a diagram of the experiemtal setup. This is
shown in Fig.~\ref{fig:geometry} (note that I didn’t have to worry
about the figure number). Of course, \LaTeX\ is a typesetting program
and is not a graphics program, so you will have to make your graphics
in a different program, say, Adobe Illustrator or Xfig. Fortunately,
including the figures into a \LaTeX document is a pretty simple

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