Mechanical Engineering Research Paper Writing Guide
No matter how strong your technical skills are, you still need to convey your research understandably to the reader, and your communication skills play a significant role in this. Mechanical Engineering is purely an application-oriented field. As a result, mechanical engineering research papers are more inclined towards results and application of their research while overlooking the theoretical aspects. An effective research paper is one that walks the reader step by step and intrigues the reader into your research.
A strong well-directed research paper paves the way for future development in the relevant field. Although the basic structure of an engineering research paper is still the same, it varies in the way your research is presented and portrayed. In the section below we would go through a few tips to writing a balanced and coherent mechanical engineering research paper.
Area of Research
This is the first and the most significant aspect since your whole research paper revolves around the title and the area of your research. Mechanical engineering is a very vast field with research opportunities ranging from fluid and aerodynamics to control systems. So you have lots of options ranging from biomechanics, energy systems, design and manufacturing, materials, thermodynamics and vibrations systems. With so many researches areas, make sure that you have the required academic and technical skills required for the research. For instance, conducting research in Fluid or aerodynamics without the expertise of Computational fluid dynamics might not be recommended.
This decision is solely is based on your aptitude and personal preference and the research areas offered by your institute. The best way to finalize this is to determine your interest first, and then consult your supervisor, colleagues or use the internet to explore the scope of your research.
Once the title of your research is finalized the next step is to look for relevant literature to develop a sound understanding of the thesis statement. Start by identifying the keywords or your research statement, the start searching for these keywords over the internet to find any relevant source. Experts recommend that you should also consult the reference section of any relevant journal article or book to find more sources related to your research.
While you are finding and consulting these resources make sure that jot down their key findings and references which would be included in your research paper. The most commonly used;
- Google Scholar: The most commonly used online tool that can help you find the relevant research papers and academic sources by using the keywords
- ASME Digital Collection: The American Society of Mechanical Engineering collection contains a wide range of journal articles and conference proceedings from 1950 until today.
- Web of Science: With over 90 Million records, this website contains academic sources regarding engineering from 1900 till today.
Through-out your research paper, you are presenting new and existing information to your reader regarding your research topic. The frequency and uniqueness of this information is an important aspect to handle since you wouldn’t want to introduce too many ideas in a single paragraph. The best-suited approach for engineering research papers is an hourglass model.
Start from a broad perspective in the introductory section of your paper to include audience from various backgrounds, then In the methods and results section narrow down your discussion to the research title and finally towards the end extend your findings and results to broader implications by discussing the future scope and improvements in the last 2 sections of your paper.
Tools and Simulations
The key aspect of a research paper is to present your research reasonably so that it can be easily comprehended by the reader and used for further research as well. Talking in terms of mechanical engineering there is a variety of tools that might come in handy during your research. Software like Solid works or ANSYS allow you to run analysis on to determine the strength and failure of the specimen. Python and Matlab are very effective for complex scientific calculations with matrices and vectors.
Your paper must include CAD models, ANSYS analysis and simulations, and the results of tools used. This not only plays a key role in the interpretation of important findings and results but also shows the depth of your research.
Adhere to a Standard
There are several different international standards from ASME to IEEE or your university might have one. Make sure that you stick to one standard throughout your research paper. Regarding the units, if you are using SI units then the American units must be mentioned either in parenthesis or in a supplementary table. Make sure that the technical and scientific information presented inaccurate and up-to-date.
The equations, figures, and tables should be number and a list of nomenclature and appendix must be included at the end of your research paper.
Ensuring these key points and keeping your research paper inflow by using transitions would lead to strong and effective research papers.