“I can’t write a research paper”, this is one of the most commonly stated arguments of a novice researcher. In fact, I know so many experienced scientists who believe they can’t write a research article either. Different people will tell you different causes of not being able to write a research article, that can range from the lack of training on research writing to the lack of confidence. Some people just say it’s not for me, and this is a great excuse for them to not write.
In this blog, I will share an idea with you that will make research writing an unbelievably easy task for you. After reading this blog, you will realize that research writing is not an impossible task and anyone irrespective of age, gender, experience, cast, creed, and nationality can do it. You should read this blog carefully and share with your friends and colleagues, I promise after carefully reading and absorbing the message written in this blog into your subconscious mind, research writing will become extremely easy for you; you will consider it as a doable task.
Lets’ first analyze the most common reason of not writing a paper? Different people have different answer to this question, but I would like to be clear about it, that it is not the matter of training, or confidence, neither it is because of the lack of experience. I believe the reason is “the mindset”. Most researchers consider research article as work, or assignment, or homework that they must do whether they like it or not. I want you to switch your mindset and don’t consider your research article as a job or an assignment. Because your research article is not an assignment or work…… really. Then what is it?
RESEARCH ARTICLE IS A MOVIE
Everyone knows what are movies. You have watched different movies in your life time. Now how does a research article relate to a movie? What does a movie have? Lets have a look at what does a movie have?
• A Director
• A Producer
• A Positive character
• A Villain
• A Story
Your research paper is not too different. You are the director and the producer. Your hero of the movie is the main point you are discussing, around whom the story revolves. And the villain is the problem or challenge that the hero has, this problem needs a solution, otherwise the hero may die or the villain may destroy the world. Last of all, the hero and the villain cannot fight if there is no story, so what you will write, will be your story. Now, lets look at each section of a research article and compare it with a movie.
Every movie has a title, and the title is an attractive line that ensures the audience is attentive to the movie. Similarly, your movie which is your research paper; it needs to have an intriguing title. Therefore, come up with a title of your story. You know what you are writing, now you shouldn’t have difficulty coming up with a title. If you still have problem, then write the title in the end, when your movie (I mean article) is completed; writing in the end will give you more clarity.
Every movie has a trailer that you watch on TV, YouTube, or Facebook. That trailer is the summary of the movie (usually without showing you the end). Similarly, your research paper abstract is your trailer of your movie. You need to give a quick glimpse of your movie to the readers so they are attracted to your movie.
The introduction is the opening of the movie; the first 20 minutes of the movie. If it is a Hollywood movie then its 15-20 minutes. However, if it is a movie other than Hollywood (God Forbid if it is a Bollywood Movie then the movie would be long and never ending, therefore, your beginning will be of 30-45 minutes. (I mentioned Bollywood as a funny gesture to bring smile on the faces of our Bollywood fan students reading this blog)
Jokes apart, now lets come to the serious business. In these 20 minutes you know who is the hero, what is theme of the movie, who is the villain and in which direction the movie is going.
Similarly, your research article should explain the reader what to expect, what is the main issue, who is the hero (means what is the topic of study?). What are you trying to discuss and study? What is the main problem? That problem is the villain, and your movie will revolve around how to solve the problem? How get rid of the stress and negativity created by the villain or the problems that he could cause? The virus, bacteria or any issue or problem that your research paper is discussing is the villain. Your solution and topic of interest in the hero or your patient is the hero who has to fight the illness or bacteria. If its a disease you are studying then the disease is the hero and the problem the society has because of the disease is the villain. So the hero is not always the positive character, the same in the real movies too, the hero is someone around whom the story revolves.
The discussion section is the story of your movie. After the first 20 minutes of a Hollywood movie (and the first 5-10 centuries of a Bollywood movie) the story begins. Similarly, in your research article your story begins in the discussion after the beginning. Now its your opportunity to create the whole story here, write whatever you want now and create your story from the data that you have.
The movie director’s data is the written script, while your data is the literature review that you collected or the data you collected in the field, lab, or a hospital. Write the story of your data, try to make sense out of it like a story. Make it interesting that people like it and enjoy it.
The conclusion is the last scene of your movie. You now know if the villain died or not. Did the hero win or not? Did Simba kill his uncle and claimed the kingdom? And what is the lesson learned from the movie? Like for example, from The Lion King we learned that greed is a curse, thats why Scar perished, another lesson we learned is that if you are good, good things will happen to you, just like Simba got the kingdom back.
Similarly, what is the last scene of your paper? What is the lesson learned? Bring it here. Write is down clearly and concisely.
This section is the cast and crew names you see at the end, that no one actually reads but they are always there.
Treat your research article like a movie and you will start to enjoy the process of writing. The introduction section is the beginning, the discussion section is the story, and the conclusion is the last scene. The method and results sections of your article are those interviews of the directors where they talk about their movie that how they made the movie; what was the budget; what were the difficulties and challenges they faced while making the movie. What are the main findings of the movie is “the results”, which is also discussed in the director’s interview.
Now the question is, do you always need Method and Results section? No you don’t need method and results section in your papers if they are traditional reviews; these sections are optional for traditional reviews.
Just like you don’t bring the directors and producers comments between the movie.
However, some movies come with the commentary of the director, with a background voice that no one likes- that is a true original article. Now don’t waste time reading this useless blog, and start working on your movie, I mean your research article.
Dr. Hassaan Tohid