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Writing A Scientific Paper

Determine What Publication Style To Use

Decide which Journal(s) you will wish to submit to and download their manuscript composition guidelines from their websites.  Determine which publication style is appropriate for the Journal and consistently follow that style throughout the entire manuscript.  As an example, Soundings uses APA style (American Psychological Association). Some of the more commonly used style manuals include:

Sections of the Paper

Almost all research papers are composed of seven separate sections including an abstract, introduction, hypothesis, materials & methods, results, discussion, and reference section.  


An abstract is a concise single paragraph summary of the completed work whereby the reader can learn the rationale behind the study, general approach to the problem, pertinent results, and important conclusions.  The abstract is the only text in a research paper to be written without using paragraphs in order to separate major points.  Summarize the study succinctly, using the past tense, complete sentences and correct grammar.  Include the following elements:

  • Purpose of the study - hypothesis, overall question, objective (try to define in one sentence)
  • Model organism or system and brief description of the experiment (try to define in one sentence)
  • Results, including specific quantitative data and results of statistical analyses
  • Important conclusions or questions that follow from the experiment(s)


The purpose of an introduction is to acquaint the reader with the rationale behind the work. Provide a complete literary review of the information known about the topic (that both supports and contrasts your hypothesis) placing your work in a theoretical context which enables the reader to understand and appreciate your objectives.  Describe the importance (significance) of the study and why it has value.  Defend the model and provide a rationale.  Explain why you selected this particular organism or system? What are its advantages/disadvantages?  You might comment on its suitability from a theoretical point of view as well as indicate practical reasons for using it.

Hypothesis (es)

A hypothesis is an educated guess about how things work.  Your hypothesis should be constructed in a way that helps you answer your original research question and be stated in a way that can be easily measured.  Your research should have addressed whether your hypothesis is true or false. Describe the reasoning and references that led you to make each hypothesis.  

Materials and Methods

Materials and methods may be reported under separate subheadings within this section or can be incorporated together. The objective is to document all specialized materials and general procedures so that another individual may use some or all of the methods in another study or judge the scientific merit of your work. It is not to be a step by step description of everything you did, nor is a methods section a set of instructions.  Omit all explanatory information and background, saving this for the discussion.  Also avoid including information that is irrelevant to a third party, such as what color ice bucket you used, or which individual logged in the data.  Typically, the third person passive voice is used to write this section.


The purpose of a results section is to provide and illustrate your findings using figures and tables which will portray the results most effectively.  This section should be a completely objective report of the results and any interpretation of what these results indicate should be reserved for the for the discussion section.  Describe each of your results, pointing the reader to observations that are most relevant, however, the text should complement figures and/or tables, not repeat the same information.  If applicable, describe results of control experiments and include observations that are not presented in a formal figure or table.  Never include raw data or intermediate calculations in a research paper.  Do not present the same data more than once.  Use the past tense when you refer to your results and put everything in a logical order.


The discussion section is used to provide an interpretation of your results and support your conclusions using evidence from your experiment and, if appropriate, from other published literature.   As you describe your data be sure to identify mechanisms that may account for the results.  If your results differ from your expectations, explain why that may have happened.  If your results agree, then describe the theory that the evidence supported.  It is never appropriate to simply state that the data agreed with expectations, and let it drop.  Decide if the experimental design was properly controlled an if it adequately addressed the hypothesis(es).  Describe if each hypothesis was supported, rejected, or if a decision could not be made with confidence, and expand upon the mechanisms that deemed it so.  Compare and contrast your research findings with literature review findings and try to offer alternative explanations if possible.  One experiment will not answer an overall question, so keeping the big picture in mind, identify what questions remain and suggest areas that need further study.

Literature Cited

List all literature cited in your paper, in alphabetical order, by first author.  Only use primary literature (original research articles authored by the original investigators).


Need More Help?

Whether you want to develop a proposal, apply for a grant, write a paper for submission to a peer reviewed journal, or create a PowerPoint presentation for a conference, IMATA’s Research and Conservation Committee has individuals available to assist you every step of the way.  Contact IMATA's Research and Conservation Committee Chair, at if you have questions and she will put you in touch with one of the committee members for assistance.  Please be sure to provide ample time for assistance as all committee members are volunteers and already have busy schedules.



Essay/Term paper: Athletic training

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Athletic Training

Definition of an Athletic Trainer

An Athletic trainer can work for high schools, colleges, universities, and also for professional sports teams. Athletic Trainers prevent, examine, and treat injuries of athletes. Before and after games and practices they also treat minor injuries such as wrapping bandages around sprang ankles or wrists or spray an antiseptic on an knee that has an abrasion. Trainers do not work alone, they work with the team coaches, physicians, and the equipment manager.


Athletic trainers work along with the team coaches, physicians, and equipment manager to see that the players are receiving the best care possible. The team coaches and the athletic trainer work together to develop programs that will help the athletes meet the optimal level of physical condition. When players are in the best shape possible then they are less susceptible to major injuries that might occur. Athletic trainers also work with the equipment manager to make sure the playing and training areas are in working order (Field.1999). When working with the equipment manager their main priority is to make sure that the conditions of the playing and practice fields meet the changes of "local, state, and federal standards for safety and sanitation (Sigi Plus ,2000). The athletic trainer also works with the equipment manager to request equipment she may need to do her job such as braces, bandages, antiseptic, or cold packs. She is also responsible for recommending types of supplies she needs and making sure they are available. The trainer is also to work with the team physician in designing an rehabilitation program for an injured athlete. The trainer is also responsible for implementing a program that will help the injured player heal properly and maintain is endurance and strength. The athletic trainer is also responsible for keeping records of each athletes progression throughout the rehabilitation process. The records must show when an athlete was injured, what the injury was, the prognosis, prescribed rehabilitation, and progress (Morais,1999). The athletic trainer holds the responsibility of releasing the athletes from rehabilitation also. Many coaches will try and force the trainers to release the athletes before they are completely healed and the trainers must tell the coaches no for the safety of the player.

Facilities and Working Conditions

Athletic trainers work in the indoors and outdoors. They work in Athletic training rooms, gyms, playing fields, aquatic areas, track fields, sports medicine clinics, classrooms, fitness rooms, and health clubs (NATA, 2000). They must also be in the dugout or on the sidelines while the team is playing. They may also work in hot, cold, or rainy weather. The job also consist of working nights and weekends along with traveling with the team. Athletic trainers also work with a variety of athletes so they mus be able to get along well with many different typed of people. They should be able to recognize an injured player when they see one. Another condition is that the trainer must also enjoy sports so that they receive satisfaction by helping athletes perform better.

Salary Range

The salary in the field of athletic training vary depending on where and who you work for. The salary can range from $23,000 to over $115,000. While working in the school system the range will be from $23,00 to

$60,000 depending on the type and size of school, the importance that the administration puts on the athletic programs, the prestige, and location of the schools. Athletic trainers working for professional teams earn from $25,000 to $115,000 plus (E.M. Guild, Inc. 1995). The salary for the professional teams also depend on the type of team, its prestige, and the responsibilities and experience of the trainer.

Personal Characteristics and Skills

The personality traits that the trainer must have is the ability to get along well with people. Athletic trainers will be interacting with many athletes, coaches, physicians, and parents. Trainers should also feel comfortable working with injured athletes. They should be able to deal with blood, and stress. Athletic trainers should also understand the psychology of both team athletes and coaches. Some athletes who want to get back to a game say that their injuries are not serious or have healed when they really have not (Frank, 1986). Trainers should have good communication skills because they deal with a variety of people. Trainers should have an understanding and enjoyment of the sports because of the fact that they will have to attend many games .

Degrees and Basic Training Needed

Athletic trainers should have a degree from a four year college and must also be certified by the National Athletic Association (USM, 2000). To become a certified trainer, you must complete an approved college program in athletic training, have 2 years of experience working under the supervision of an NATA - approved trainer. NATA will also certify people who have a college degree in any subject plus 1,800 hours of on the job training under an NATA member (NATA, 2000).

Certification, Lisensure, Continuing Education, and Professional Affiliations

Athletic trainers must be certified by the NATA . They should also be certified in First Aid and CPR. Athletic Trainers should belong to the National Athletic Trainers Association . The NATA offers education, training, certification programs, and career guidance (NATA , 2000). The NATA brings people in the Athletic Training Profession together to maintain high standards.

Future Outlook for Employment

Employment in the Athletic Training field are excellent. Trainers can find a job throughout the country in a variety of different settings. Trainers are hired in public and private high schools, junior colleges, four- year colleges and universities, and professional sports teams. Advancement prospects for Athletic Trainers are also excellent. A trainer might go from high school to college to minor leagues and then to professional league teams. Each level of advancement becomes more difficult.


E.M. Guild, Inc. (1995). The Guide to Careers in Sports.

New York, NY: Len Karlin.

Field, Shelly. (1999). Career Opportunities in the Sports Industry. New York, NY: Checkmark Books.

Frank I. Katch Ed. D. (1986). Clinics in Sports Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa: W.B. Saunders Company.

Morais, Jacqueline, Pirret, Joseph B., & Vaidvanathan, Meera. (1999).

Career Information System: Hospitality and Recreation. New York, NY: Macmillan Reference USA.

National Athletic Trainers Association. Clinical Experiences are Not Predictive of Outcomes on the NATABOC Examination. Journal of Athletic Training, 35, 17, 70-75.

Sigi Plus [Computer Software]. (2000). Ruston, La: Louisiana Tech University Counseling Center.

USM. (2000). Core Curriculum. Hattiesburg, Mississippi: University of Southern Mississippi, Exercise and Science.  

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