Writing Venue: The Scientific Journal

Over the past couple of years, I’ve read through many scientific journals, defined as a periodical publication that reports new research. Scientific journals come in many volumes and aim to further the progress of science. As a neuroscience major and having worked in a biopsychology research lab, I have become very familiar with this kind of writing venue. What I find interesting about this particular venue is that the forms that appear in a scientific journal, the scientific articles, are all formatted almost identically with each other. Abstract, introduction, hypothesis, experimental overview, results, discussion, conclusion. That’s the order of almost any writing form you find in the venue of a scientific journal. What is certain, and what I find very interesting about this venue, is that every single scientific article in a scientific journal begins the same: with an abstract. This can be explained by the venue’s audience: the people who read scientific journals are usually researchers on a mission to find something very specific. These researchers are trying to find a specific research article in the midst of  thousands of other similar articles, so scientific journals must be designed for their goal-driven audience. The way to achieve this goal is by placing the abstract at the beginning of every article for the audience to read, as a means to see if this article is in fact what they are looking for.The abstract is similar to the summary of the article, but it emphasizes results and conclusions (if the experiment worked or not). In other words, the reader of a scientific journal should understand the significance of the article before reading it. Thus, a key property of the scientific journal venue is the abstract. The abstract is the deciding point for the reader, whether to continue reading or continue searching.

I have spent many hours skimming abstracts in a scientific journal before coming across the article I was looking for. The scientific journal is written for efficiency; its for researchers who need to find something very specific in a pool of articles that differ by the slightest details. So, another key property of the scientific journal venue is its search engine. Using an online search engine for any scientific journal is an art of its own. You must know where to place the quotation marks, “and”, and “or” in order to get the desired article. It can be a very tedious process. It serves as a filtration method to put the researcher in the realm of articles they are looking for. By manipulating the search engine, a researcher can sort which abstracts they should begin to read through.

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