Publication and the Peer Review Process:
Having a scientific discovery doesn’t mean much unless you are able to communicate it. This is the only way the world at large can put your discovery to good use and/or build upon it.
Publishing in the scientific world happens through a long and thorough process called peer review. When you submit your research to a scientific journal, a panel of readers with degrees and expertise in your field (peers) will read (review) the paper and ask you to edit or add elements that you may have not considered. This ensures that every published paper is as powerful, thoughtful, and well-argued as it can possibly be. Many great experiments have been rejected because the peer review process found the paper to be lacking, so it’s important to get practice as early as possible communicating your discoveries in logical and compelling ways.
A typical peer reviewed scientific paper has the following elements. To make this process as authentic as possible, all of these must be included in the paper you submit to Cuyamaca Physics Review.
1. Introduction – This is a short explanation of the background and purpose of the project. A typical introduction will include:
● the subject of the report
● background information and history of the topic
● a brief description of the physics topics to be studied in the experiment
● a short discussion of the theory, equations, and definitions
of terms and symbols.
● DO NOT include any results here.
2. Materials and Methods – This section should describe how the experiments were designed to test the hypothesis, and detail how the experimental results were obtained. Provide enough information to allow the experiment to be conducted by someone else in the future. Good scientific work means that others will be able to reproduce your experiment and get the same results. This section should contain the outline of procedure, specific measurement details, possible sources of experimental error and how to avoid them, and diagrams of the experimental equipment.
3. Results and Discussion – This is where the experimental results are presented. The results should be connected back to the original hypothesis and should be presented in the form of figures or tables or graphics that help the reader visually understand the results. Spend a paragraph discussing each figure or table and remember to number and provide a caption for each. Each paper should have some visual representation of the data.
4. Conclusion – Must support or refute the original objectives or hypothesis and provide closure to the report. The conclusion should restate why the work was done, how it was done, and why the results are significant. In this lab, your conclusion should end either with an assertion that your myth was affirmed or busted!.
5. References – included as necessary.
6. Appendix – The appendix should contain raw experimental data and sample calculations