Parts of a Scientific Manuscript

The manuscript must contain:

Click here to see a sample JEI manuscript with explanations!

For detailed descriptions of each of these elements, see below.

Title Page

The title page should include a title which succinctly describes the content of the manuscript.  This page should also have all of the authors listed in the order in which they contributed, with the teacher or college/university mentor listed last.  Please also include the school of the students and the school or place where the research was performed.  Here is a Sample Title Page

Summary (Abstract)

An abstract should be a short (under 250 words) summary of the scientific question, the hypothesis of the study, major results, and conclusions. The abstract should be on a separate page, after the title page but before the remainder of the manuscript.


The article must provide an appropriate and sufficient background on the subject matter and must include references. The introduction provides context for the manuscript. The introduction should:

  • briefly describe the overarching scientific topic of the paper
  • provide background information on that scientific question (including references) such that the audience understands the question being asked AND why this question is of interest
  • contain a clearly-stated scientific question/hypothesis
  • briefly summarize the conclusions drawn from the authors’ research.


The authors must describe in paragraph format how they test the scientific question with well-designed scientific experiments. It is important to discuss experimental controls and statistical analysis when appropriate. It is also important to draw appropriate and reasonable conclusions from their experimental data. For each experiment, the authors must:

  • describe the rationale for the experiment
  • briefly explain how the experiment was performed (additional or lengthy details should be included in only the Materials and Methods section)
  • interpret the scientific data, referencing the figures that contain the results (graphs, charts, tables, equations, etc).

Data Figures

Data must be presented in individually numbered figures that contain a descriptive caption.  Each figure should be an individual JPEG, TIFF or PNG file. To convert an Excel graph, table or chart into a JPEG, TIFF or PNG, the easiest option is to “right click” on the graph, chart, or table and click “save as picture”.  Alternatively you can “copy” the graph, chart or table and “paste” it into Preview or an Adobe application such as Photoshop.

For the purposes of submission, figure captions should appear at the end of the article, after the references. If the article is accepted by JEI for publication, editors will place the figure caption underneath the appropriate figure. If you need guidance putting together graphs, charts or tables in excel, check out this tutorial.


In the discussion section, the authors should discuss the results and their interpretation of the results. It is important that the authors draw appropriate and reasonable conclusions from their scientific data. The authors should:

  • summarize the experimental results and draw conclusions from the experimental data
  • discuss factors that could have influenced the results, such as sources of error or bias in interpretation
  • address the significance of the results
  • discuss remaining scientific questions and/or potential future experiments.

Materials and Methods

The authors should describe the methods in enough detail such that a different scientist could perform the same experiments and obtain the same results. Materials should not be listed out, but should be mentioned within the context of the respective experiment that the materials were used.  For example, when explaining a method within this section the author could state the materials used: “bacteria were grown in standard LB media (FisherSci) for 24 hours at 37C while shaking.”


Citations should be in the appropriate MLA format at the end of the manuscript.  An example of an academic journal citation is as follows:

Author name(s). “Title of Article.” Name of Journal, vol. X, no. X, Year, pp. XX-XX. doi

Citations within the manuscript should be numbered based on when they appear in the manuscript.  For example, the first citation should have a (1) at the end of the sentence; this (1) should correspond to the first citation in the reference section.


This is a section to acknowledge people who have made minor contributions to the manuscript.  For example, people who have read and commented on your manuscript before submission should be acknowledged.  This is also the section to state your funding sources (if any). Authors (such as the mentor, teacher, or professor) should not be acknowledged as outside help because they help write the manuscript.