It can be a pretty task daunting to start writing a paper, thesis, or even a report. where do I start? Some people say start with the results, then methods and discussion, then the introduction and the abstract. Others say follow the Powerpoint presentation logic by writing the introduction first so that you can start general and get to a specific question. Then you write the methods to show the reader how you want to solve the question or prove the hypothesis. Then show the reader your proof (results). Discuss it in light of previously published work and then summarize the take home messages.

Sounds familiar?

I went back and forth between these options for a long time and this made me delay the writing process because of the uncertainty and reluctance about where to start. This went on until I got the tip about starting with the hypothesis or question.

To do that, first start with ‘thinking on paper‘ to formulate your general question. Then, give an assumed or even informed general answer to that question. Next, try to break down the general question in to small specific ones, then fill the gap between the general question and general answer with the specific answers to the specific questions developed. you may even answer one specific question with several specific answers, but give each answer a paragraph of its own. in every answer (result) paragraph, start with the main finding, then support it with the data. Then finish by concluding that same idea and link to the next specific answer. Finally, the general answer is given in the beginning of the discussion.

Now you have the backbone of your paper ready, with the hypothesis/question and the specific findings that take you to the general answer, or take home message.

Whichever section you do next will not change the core of your story. Just make sure to keep the logic flowing.

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