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Writing an Original Research Article

Authors:
  • Armed Forces Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine

Abstract and Figures

This presentation will discuss the important component of an original research article ( IMRaD) and guidelines on how to write different sections. This is fourth of the six presentations I deliver as part of the workshop titled ”Medical Writing Made Easy: a step by step guide” I have been conducting these workshops since March 2014 and so have have conducted and facilitated 40 workshops on different aspects of medical writing all across Pakistan. Many of these workshops were supported by grant from AuthorAID (authoraid.info)
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Components of an
original research article
Farooq Rathore
How to write?
One can write the sections of a scientific paper in any order.
A convenient order
Methods
Results
Discussion
Introduction,
Abstract, Title
The IMRAD Format for Scientific Papers
Introduction: What was the question?
Methods: How did you try to answer it?
Results: What did you find?
And
Discussion: What does it mean?
A More Complete View
(Title page with authors details)
(Abstract)
(Keywords)
Introduction
Methods
Methods
Results
Discussion
(Acknowledgments)
(References)
Title
First thing which everybody reads!!!
Important in literature searching
Should be specific
Generally should not include abbreviations
Running title: short version of title
Authors
Often listed largely from greatest contributions to least
Head of research group often is listed last
same way on every paper
General supervision of research group , participating solely in
acquisition of funding, collection of data does not justify authorship
Order of the author should be a joint decision of the authors
Introduction
How to write?
Background information
What have others done in the past?
Provide evidence: supported by limited number of relevant references.
Purpose of study
Why are you doing this research?
What is so different or special about your research?
Should stimulate the readers interest
Common mistakes *
Overlong and rambling introduction section
Extensive listing of references
Important previous work missing
Objectives are not clearly stated
Inclusion of data or conclusions from the work being reported
*Peh WC, Ng KH. Writing the introduction. Singapore Med J. 2008 ;49:756-7
Methods
Purpose of the methods section
To allow others to replicate what you did
In order to test it
In order to do further research
To allow others to evaluate what you did
To determine whether the conclusions seem valid
To determine whether the findings seem applicable to other situations
What to include in methods ?
Approval of the research by an appropriate committee (ERC/IRB)
Overview of study design
Details of the following (if applicable)
Settings , Time duration
Equipment, organisms, reagents, etc. used (and sources )
Subjects/Population characteristics (Demographics)
Permission to use the scale, questionnaire etc.
Statistical methods
How to write?
One can write the sections of a scientific paper in any order.
A convenient order
Methods
Results
Discussion
Introduction,
Abstract, Title
Results
How to write?
The core of the paper
Often includes tables, figures, or both
Should summarize findings rather than providing data in great
detail
Should present results but not comment on them
Common mistakes *
Illogical sequence of data presentation
Repetition of data
Misplaced information between the materials and methods and
results sections
Overuse and abuse of tables and figures
Attempts to draw conclusions
*Peh WC, Ng KH. Writing the results. Singapore Med J. 2008 ;49:067-9
Tables and Figures
In citing tables and figures, emphasize the finding, not the table or
figure.
Not so good: Table 3 shows that researchers who attended the
workshop on medical writing published twice as many papers per
year.
Better: Researchers who attended the workshop on medical writing
published twice as many papers per year (Table 3).
Tables : few tips !
Use tables only if text will not suffice.
Design tables to be understandable without the text.
In a Series of tables, use the same format for each.
Avoid including too much information
Confusing graph !
A thirteen year audit of manuscripts related to medical education published
in Pakistani medical journals
Better graph
60
42
12
4
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
JPMA JCPSP JAMC PJMS
Med Ed articles in each journal
The 13 years trend in publishing
14
3
6546
12
8
5
86
13
22
0
5
10
15
20
25
200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012 2013
Discussion
How to write
Most difficult part of a paper to write
Often should begin with a brief summary of the main findings
Do not repeat all data of the study
Write in short paragraphs
Should not exceed half the length of the whole article
Should answer the question(s)/ hypothesis stated in the introduction
How to write?
Relationship to findings of other research for example:
Similarities & Differences to previous findings
Possible reasons for similarities and differences
Applications and implications for example:
Possible uses of the findings in
Health care
Public policy
Industry
Strengths and limitations
Strengths of the study
For example, superior methods, extensive data
Limitations of the study
For example: small sample size, short follow-up, incomplete data,
possible sources of bias, problems with experimental procedures
Better to mention limitations than for peer reviewers and readers
Common mistakes *
Repetition of data presented in the results section.
Incorrect interpretation of the findings.
Irrelevant and faulty discussion points.
Failure to identify any weakness.
Omission of key and relevant references.
Explanations are too long or verbose.
Conclusions not supported by findings.
*Peh WC, Ng KH. Discussion. Singapore Med J. 2008 ;49:756-7
Introduction ---- Background
Introduction --- Question(s), Hypothesis
Discussion How does it relate
to other studies?
Methods , Materials and Results
Discussion What are your findings?
Acknowledgements
Often optional
A place to thank people who helped with the work but did not
make contributions deserving authorship
Permission should be obtained from people you wish to list
Sources of financial support are stated
Goupil et al. Rotational Splittings with CoRoT, Expected Number of Detections and Measurement
Accuracy. "Proceedings of "The CoRoT Mission Pre-Launch Status - Stellar Seismology and Planet
Finding" ISBN 92-9092-465-9., p.453"
Why abstract writing is a serious
MATTER?
Importance of abstract
The abstract should be the best part of the paper!
It is the most frequently read part of an article after the title.
Used for indexation in Medline
Read by the reviewers to accept or decline the invitation to
review
Stand Alone
Complete and internally consistent
No references
No tables or figures
No or few abbreviations (must be defined)
Conclusions should be based on data/info presented within the
abstract
What abstracts are NOT !
Not a substitutes for the article and should not be cited as
references
Not a summary of the entire article; should present main
findings
Do not contain enough information for a critical evaluation of
the research
Types of abstract
Structured
Unstructured
s
Un-Structured abstract
Reminder !
Make the abstract the best part of the article
Make sure it is concise, factual and stand-alone.
Double check every piece of data
Select the keywords carefully
Keywords
Words that can be used to link your work to specific areas of
research or a topic
Should not be words that are included in your title
Some journals or research organizations have you choose from a list
MeSH terms: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/meshhome.html
Identify and list 3-5 keys words for your proposal
Example
Title:
Nestle yogurt in the Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux
Disease: A Complementary Therapy
Key words:
GERD, Yogurt , complementary therapy, randomized trial
acid reflux disease
Example
Title
Safety and efficacy of prolonged Vincristine therapy in Breast
cancer patients: a randomized controlled trial
Key words
quality of life, neoplasm, antineoplastic therapy, clinical trial
Medical Writing A suggestion
Read some papers in your target journal.
Notice items such as the following:
Length
Types of content
Organization
Phrases commonly used
Citation of references
Use these papers as models.
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.