PRINCIPLES AND TACTICS OF WRITING PAPERS
Writing papers helps develop your ideas. Nearly everyone feels greater understanding after having written a paper. In writing a Discussion section, you have to think out implications of your results, showing how they relate to your own theory, to other results, and to other interpretations. Such systematic thinking leads to fuller appreciation of the problem you are studying.
A second function of writing is to communicate. We put a lot of heart and soul into our research. We believe it makes a worthwhile contribution, one that deserves attention. Accordingly, we expect others to read our published papers.
Most published papers, however, are read by few people. One reason is time pressure. When you write a paper, you are competing for the reader's time. Poorly written papers repel readers; well-written papers attract readers. Five principles and a handful of tactics in the next two sections can make a big difference to your status in the field. a
The following five principles are basic to effective writing. They can be found, in one or another form, in every discussion of how to write scientific articles.
The most important principle is to begin with the Main Point. The Main Point sets up a schema with which the reader can organize the argument and details that follow. This schema focuses attention on what is central and facilitates dealing with what is auxiliary.