How to Structure a Scientific Article: OCAR – Resolution

Crafting an effective resolution is a key component of structuring your scientific article. The resolution serves as the climax of your paper, offering a summary of your key findings and their implications. This article provides insights into the elements of a good resolution and common pitfalls to avoid.

Elements of a Good Scientific Article Resolution

A well-written resolution should fulfil three main functions:

  1. Summarize Key Results: Begin by summarizing your study’s most significant findings. Be concise and clear, avoiding excessive detail.
  2. Synthesize Results to Answer Your Research Question: Next, articulate how your findings answer your research question or hypothesis. This synthesis should provide a clear, comprehensive answer to the challenge you initially presented.
  3. Show How Your Study Contributes to Solving the Larger Problem: Finally, demonstrate how your study contributes to the broader field of study. Highlight your research’s impact and its potential applications.

A compelling resolution could also pose a thought-provoking question, leading readers to consider your work’s future implications.

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Here are some pitfalls to avoid when writing your resolution:

  1. Weak or Unclear Framing: A resolution should not simply restate information. It should emphasize the significance of your research in the context of the larger field of study.
  2. Inclusion of Distracting Information: Avoid discussing data, introducing new concepts, or repeating material from the introduction. The resolution should focus on summarizing your findings and their implications.
  3. Undermining Your Conclusion: Phrases like “more research is needed” can undermine the strength of your work. Instead, frame the need for further research as an opportunity to build upon your findings.

Let’s compare two resolutions:

Weak resolution: “To conclude, 3-methyl-ambrosia offers a new approach for thyroid carcinoma therapy. Our data provide evidence on the safety and in vivo activity of this compound in patients with this condition, although the proof for clinical benefit remains to be established in future clinical trials.”

Strong resolution: “While further clinical trials will be necessary to establish the full benefits of 3-methyl-ambrosia as a therapeutic agent, our data provide evidence that it is safe and shows in vivo activity against thyroid tumors. 3-Methyl-ambrosia therefore may offer a new approach for treating patients with thyroid carcinoma.”

What makes the strong resolution better than the weak one? Both resolutions say the same thing, but the strong resolution emphasizes the results and future potential, maintaining a positive tone by putting the “exciting” information at the end. In contrast, the weak one ends with the limitation of the study, which leaves the reader with the impression of “oh, well a lot of work still needs to be done”.

Practise: Identify what the following resolution does wrong

“A proteomic evaluation of hummingbirds under simulated migratory conditions revealed evidence of several stress-associated processes: protein degradation in wing muscle tissues, depletion of metabolic cofactors, and enhancement of stress-response proteins. These results suggest that changes in the hummingbird proteome may provide new insights into the complex physiology of avian systems biology.”

What is wrong here? It starts with a good summary but does not show any new knowledge. In fact, in short, it just says “The research is important and has implications” without saying what these actually are. As a result, it overreaches and underachieves as a resolution. The result is that when a scientist reads this, they usually find it unconvincing and obvious. This is a weak resolution that needs to be strengthened. Why is this important? What are the implications? Answering those questions will help a lot.


The resolution of your scientific article is your final opportunity to emphasize your study’s importance and leave a lasting impression on your readers. A well-crafted resolution can help ensure your research has the impact it deserves while a weak one can ruin the entire study.

Click here to read more about structuring articles.

Interested in learning more about Scientific English? You can read a brief post on the History and Use of Scientific English here. More posts on Scientific English are available on the Scientific English page.

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