Writing Guides, practical help for writing scientific papers

EDIT: This series of webpages was created in Jan 2018 to support a writing week I was teaching. Since then many students have told me that they would like a general guide book for new scientists. I have now created that book. You can check it out here, or scroll down to access the original content.

Scroll down for writing guides for each part of your paper

This page hosts links to a series of writing guides for preparing scientific papers, journal articles, manuscript-style project reports and for PhD theses / dissertations.

These pages were generated to help undergraduate, MRes and PhD students passing through our lab but I thought the content might be useful to others so have provided them below. If they are any use to you, please feel free to share with friends, colleagues etc. Any comments or suggestions are appreciated (form below).

In a white box = link


“insert text here” template (downloadable .doc file)

Template for manuscript / journal article / scientific paper or MRes / undergraduate report writing.

Good place to start if you have an idea of what you are doing and just want to get started. It should also useful for postdoc level writers as a quick way to go from blank page to getting into the meat of your writing. I have included a few quick notes in each subsection to help you.

Specific Subsection guides

Each of these links will take you to pages devoted to each subsection.

Writing effective titles for research papers

Writing abstracts for research papers

Introductions mostly for research paper writing)

Materials and Methods sections

Results figure preparation

Figure legends aka captions

Results subsections


Quick tips

Materials and Methods 10 quick tips 

Quick tips for writing up your results subsections


Seriously! We now even have a grammar quiz based around science phrases. Don’t worry, although it is quite tricky it makes up for it by having cartoons! Reach it here:

Grammar Quiz (science phrases!).

Coming soon…

Specific type of figures, thesis introductions/literature reviews, and probably some general writing tips.

Experimental Design

Check out our new experimental design series – step by step guide

Other useful blogs/websites with guides etc

Any comments on what other guides would be useful next? Other comments on the content? or suggestions of sites to add to the list – contact us via the form below

About the author

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Dr Kevin Hamill is a Senior Lecturer in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Liverpool, in the Department of Eye and Vision Science, Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease. His lab focuses on cell-matrix interactions; you can read about ongoing work elsewhere on this blog, on the lab webpages, or in his published work. As well as supervising PhD, Masters in Research and Undergraduate research projects in his lab, Kevin is also the academic lead for the Lab skills Module of MRes Clinical Sciences program where he teaches fundamental skills for life scientists.

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