Writing An Astronomy Dissertation A Step-By-Step Guide

Your astronomy dissertation will count very heavily towards your final grade, so every effort that goes into it will be worth it. Here is your step-by-step guide to writing an astronomy paper:

  • Title
  • The title needs to be brief, but it must capture the substance of the paper. Some of the people who read the title will not read the paper itself, so make sure to write a title that reflects the results of the research.

  • Author’s names
  • List the names of the authors leading with the name of the author who contributed the most towards the paper.

    All names must be written with their correct spelling.

  • Abstract
  • Even more than the title, the abstract is perhaps the most important part of the essay. The abstract will contain all the important information contained within the dissertation. The vast majority of people who read your paper will read the abstract only.

    The abstract tells the reader exactly what you did in your research, what hypothesis or research question was investigated, what data was measured and how the results of the research are significant.

    Write the abstract after you have already written every other section.

  • Introductions
  • When working on your introduction, you can look up the NASA ADS to see other papers that are similar to yours. Reflect what has already been discovered and build on it. Basic information like the asteroid, the cluster’s age, basic information about your variable star, and the extrasolar planet you are studying.

    State your research problem succinctly.

  • Observations
  • IN this section, you record your observations. Record all the data you collect and detail exactly how that data was collected. The data should be presented in a systematic manner. For example, you can use a table to show data for each target and the filters utilized in observing them. Never forget to discuss the margins of error.

  • Reductions
  • Show exactly how your calibrations were put to use for instance in creating the ‘super flat.’ An image of your chosen target, a photometry table, and a spectrum will all help in presenting data in a more succinct and objective manner.

  • Analysis
  • In the analysis section, you draw something meaningful from your data. Things like a color-magnitude diagram can be extracted from the data you have.

  • Discussion
  • Relate the information garnered from the data to your thesis or research question. This part of your paper will answer the ‘so what’ question.

  • Conclusions
  • Summarize your findings in this section. Write the conclusion just before writing the abstract.

After all this, it is good to close with an acknowledgment and then finish off with your list of references.

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