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GUIDELINES FOR WRITING

A SCIENTIFIC PAPER
Maisuri T. Chalid

POWER WRITING
Key questions
Why did you perform the study? (introduction)
What is the research question? (introduction)
What did you do? (Methods)
What did you find? (results)
What do your results mean? (discussion)

TITLE
Give your article a snappy title
Common faults:
Too short
Too long
Not specific
Ambiguous
The syntax is poor
Contains abbreviation or jargon

Elements of a good title

Easy to understand
Accurate promise the papers content
Specific concerning the scope of the study
Simple, short, concise
10-12 words long
Interisting
States the subject of the article, but not the
conclusions
Nondeclarative

Indicates the study design


Eye catching, a reader grabber
Begins with a key word
Gramatically correct
Worded appropriately for the target journal
audience

Authors
Deciding who should be listed.
Only those who actively contributed to the
design and execution of the
experiments=> public responsibility.
Is the list of contributors reasonable-20
authors for a small study?
Confilct of interest.

ABSTRACT

A miniature version of the paper.


A traditional => does not exceed 250 words
Should be written in the past tense.
It should not contain abbreviations or acronyms,
unless absolutely necessary
It should not contain anything that is not in the
paper.
Self contained
The language should be simple & clear

Writing Abstract
Take the time to polish the abstract.
Keep it short.
Dont shorten the abstract by excluding
key information
Briefly state your findings
Key words at the end. Use appropriate key
words among the MeSH (Medical Subject
Headings)

INTRODUCTION
The first section should:
Give the reader some background information
(context) on the study (the rationale).
State the purpose of the study.

Dont include any results or conclusions.

Providing adequate background


information
Begin with thunder
Start with a general, yet concise, description
of the problem that your paper will address.
In the next few sentences, reference previous
supports your assessment of the problem.
Early define the primary subject, define any new,
unsual or vague terms used in the title or
introduction. high risk, poor nutritional

Write a concise, focused introduction


Avoid too long, too much history, too many
references, verbose.
It is not necessary to give an extensive
literature review of the subject.
Articulate the purpose of your study clearly
The aim is to enable the reader to
understand what question you have
attempted to answer, and why and to
appreciate the significance of your findings

MATERIAL & METHODS


What you did, how you did.
The key: Should include sufficient detail to
enable to reproduce
Pay attention=> credibility of your results
depends to a large extent on the credibility
of your method.

Materials:
Give exact technical specification
Dont use commercial names

Methods:
The study design
Eligibility
Randomization & Blinding
Intervention & Compliance
Assessment of end points
Statistical analysis

Statistical analysis:
Be precise, drugs => dosages, routes,
temperature
Be concise

RESULTS
The more important and is likely to be of
most interest to readers.
Organizing the results
Present your results enthusiastically
Dont overstate the results or repeat in the
tables
Present your data in a natural order
Start your results section with the major
positive findings; report the negative
association at the end

Include unequivocal statements; if


applicable, give some estimate of the
accuracy and precision of the results.
Avoid vague statements like there was a
general trend to or the tendency was
for
Dont include results not relevan to the
arguments

Presenting statistical information

Report the RR & CI 95%


Use statistical terms skillfully
Present p values professionally
Interpret P values intelligently

TABLES

Simple and self-explanatory


Format for the target journal followed
Not a repetition of the text
Double spaced
Units provided for each variable
+ values identified as either SD or SEM
Exact p values included
Values rounded appropriately
Format consistent with the others tables
No vertical lines

Figures

Thick lines
Large text
Exact p values
Clear, detail legend
Information that is not included in the text
Numbers displayed for each subgroup
Easy to understand axis labels
Meaningful use of shading and cross hatching
Self explanatory

DISCUSSION
Focusing the discussion
Start with your most important point
Confine to your results and comparison
between other publications

Anticipating pitfalls
Practical information,
Keep focused
Describe the new information
Keep short

Discussing implications
Discuss the interrelations of the key
variables
Explain your rationale for research
judgments
Consider alternative explanations for your
results.

Discussing limitations
Recognize & discuss selection bias
Discuss the implication of analyzing only
respondents
Discuss prediction
Be modest; We are aware of no published
reports describe
Describe the strenghts & limitations
Identify a control group in the literature

Discuss any suprising findings


Discuss the problems associated with
small sample size.

CONCLUSIONS

Begins with thunder, end with lightning.


Strong, clear.
Unsupported conclusions
Practical considerations and future
implications
Limit to the boundaries of the study
Describe precisely what further research is
needed

Ackonowledgements
Should mention the contributions of
people who were involved. Include:
technical, financial, material support

References
Over 400 medical journals=> Vancouver
guidelines.