Scientific Text – Concept, types, structure and characteristics

We explain what a scientific text is, its types, structure and other characteristics. Also, some examples.

What is a scientific text?

A scientific text or scientific publication is written from and addressed to a specialized scientific community. That is, they are those texts written in a specialized language, in which scientific information is provided to the reader, following a set of academic standards of presentation, exposition and reference.

Scientific texts are disseminated to share with the rest of the community that studies the same topic, the advances or discoveries or the hypotheses that are handled regarding an object of study. In this sense, they can be found in books, specialized magazines and other types of academic publications, such as papers, conferences, papers, etc.

Since peer validation is essential for the advancement of science, the publication is an indispensable part of the process of accumulation and legitimization of scientific knowledge.

That is why scientific institutions not only require a certain number of annual publications from their researchers, but they also carry out various periodical publications arbitrated to do so.

Characteristics of a scientific text

Scientific texts are characterized by:

  • To be exhibitions and objectives, In other words, there is no place in them for subjectivity, or for anything other than clearly and succinctly exposing the results obtained and what they could mean in their field of study.
  • Must be clear, precise, universal and verifiable.
  • Its brevity or extension depends on the type of text: an article, a thesis, a presentation or a book.
  • They generally possess a main author and several collaborating authors, involved in the investigation.
  • They expose the results of a set of investigations experimental, field or of any other kind, emphasizing the formal, the methodology followed and the results.
  • They have a technical language, which generally requires a prior level of knowledge on the part of the reader.

Types of scientific texts

Scientific texts can be of different types, depending on their scope and their formal characteristics:

  • Articles. Generally published in scientific magazines and weekly papers, they are limited in length and are often accompanied by graphs, images, or charts, as they provide the reader with a summary or an approximation to a broader experience, result, or research topic.
  • Reports and monographs. Of particularly academic use, they are usually long, dense and complete research papers, with annexes, bibliographic references and different chapters, in which a research topic is approached from a specific perspective.
  • Conferences and presentations. Generally oral, but also publishable in writing, these types of texts are usually short, without much-supporting material (although slides, images, etc. may be used in their reading) and presented to an audience or audience in person.
  • Disclosure texts. These are simplified scientific texts designed for the consumption of the general public, for pedagogical or informative purposes, that is, to spread scientific knowledge to those who are not academically trained in the sciences.

Structure of a scientific text

The structure of scientific texts varies enormously, depending on the text. It is not the same to structure a monograph with three chapters, introduction and conclusions than to do it with an article destined for a magazine or a conference to read before an audience.

However, many scientific texts are usually guided by the following structure:

  • Title and list of authors. How the text is called and who made it, distinguishing between the main authors and the collaborators or secondary authors.
  • Summary or abstract. It is a short and introductory text that quickly details what the text is about and what your main ideas are so that a researcher can know from the outset if you are interested or not. These summaries usually end with a series of keywords or thematic descriptors.
  • Introduction. A section, formally defined or not, in which the reader is given the general perspective of the topic from which the research exposition will start.
  • Content. The bulk of the text, divided or not by chapters, presented in a logical, objective, orderly manner, without digressions or digressions. This section usually ends with conclusions or results, formally defined or not, which summarize the above and highlight its main findings.
  • Thanks. If there are, they usually refer to those individuals and institutions that made the research work possible.
  • Annexes. All relevant supporting material: tables, charts, images, etc.
  • Bibliography. All the books and archival materials consulted in order to prepare the research and the text that exposes it.
  • Express authorization of data use. In many cases, scientific texts require authorizations for the disclosure of information, especially regarding patients, companies or third parties.

Examples of scientific texts

Some examples of scientific texts are the following:

  • “Evaluation of the impact of a control program for taeniasis-cysticercosis (Taenia solium)” By Aline S de Aluja, Raúl Suárez-Marín, Edda Sciuto-Conde, et. al., in Public health of Mexico (May-June 2014).
  • “Variation of the brightness of the sky background at the zenith with the phase and height of the Moon” by Sánchez de Miguel, Alejandro, at Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
  • Buffer gas cooling of a trapped ion to the quantum regime” By T. Feldker, H. Fürst, H. Hirzler, N. V. Ewald, M. Mazzanti, D. Wiater, M. Tomza and R. Gerritsma, in Nature (February 2020).