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M.

Baskaran
Introduction
Writing a paper - WHY?

Common difficulties in getting paper accepted/


published.
Objectives
1. Prepare your research paper in the correct format
2. Construct a structured abstract
3. Select appropriate keywords
4. Write an effective introduction
5. Describe the methods so others can replicate your
study
6. Report the results precisely with appropriate use of
tables texts & figures
7. Write a relevant & interesting discussion
8. Decide who is an author &who should be
acknowledged
9. Consistently write the references in vancouver style
Format of a research paper
IMRAD format - Sir Austin Bradford Hill

I Introduction - Why did you start?


M Methods - What did you do?
R Results - What did you find?
D Discussion - What does this mean?
Structural conventions
T - Title
A - Authors
S - Summary of paper- IMRAD
C - Conclusion
A - Abstract
R - References
Steps to write a paper
Title
Dos Donts
Include the study Use abbreviations
design as part of title Use catchy phrases
Make it short and also Make it too lengthy
informative Use trade/commercial
Write a snappy title names of drugs
Use titles that pose a
question
Title
Police in an ICU: What can happen?
Will the pill make you ill?
Old wine in new bottle

Internet based early intervention to prevent PTSD in


injury patients: RCT

Efficacy & safety of nicotine chewing gum in smoking


reduction: a double blind Randomized control trial
Exercise 1

Assign a title for a retrospective study to assess the

factors associated with increased mortality of an

anesthetic agent - spinocaine


Abstract
Non structured
Structured - advisable
Features of structured abstract
1. Objective
2. Methods
3. Results
4 Conclusion
Abstract
Dos Donts
Provide sufficient Dont omit important
information in the results
abstract Do not make it too
Be accurate & long stick to the word
consistent with the full count specified by
text journals(250 300
Construct a neat words)
abstract Do not use long or
redundant phrases
Keywords
Help in easy retrieval
Can be selected from medical subheadings (MeSH
terms) given by Medline
List 3-7 keywords
Include important words/phrases used in the
article
Advisable not to use words found in the title as
the current search in indexing agencies like
pubmed by default include the title also
Introduction
Lays the foundation of the paper
Some call it background
Main purpose inform the reader why you
undertook the study
For a Dissertation 1-2 pages
For a research article 1 or 2 paragraphs
Should be short & arresting
Structure should funnel down from broad
perspective to a specific aim
Introduction
Four basic elements

1. Background What we know


2. The researchable problem What we dont know
3. Justification Why we did the study
4. Objectives & hypotheses What we want to do
Introduction
Dos Donts
Keep the introduction Do not mention
short exhaustively the work
carried out before
Clarify what your work
adds Convince the readers about
the importance of your work
Inform readers why the but do not overstate it
study was undertaken Do not use journalistic
Use topic sentences to tricks
begin the sentences Do not baffle the readers
Just mention the study
design but not the
conclusion
Methods
Describe in detail how the study was conducted
Should be written in such a way that any
researcher can replicate your study
Method section can be written first while starting
to write a research paper
Structured with subheadings
Methods - subheadings
1. Study design: describe design & its rationale
2. participants: eligibility criteria, setting, sample
size & method of determining
3. intervention: Details to allow replication
4. outcome: Primary - Parameters
& secondary - parameters
5. Statistical methods: for comparing the outcomes,
level of significance, statistical software
6. Ethics
Methods
Dos Donts
Provide complete details Use vague / inadequate
about the intervention descriptions
Mention details about the
instruments, their make & Poor grammar, syntax or
company spellings
Mention Statistical Too long & verbose
software used for analysis Inappropriate or
with their version incomplete details of
Write short paragraphs statistical tests
and avoid hyphenating Text that is difficult to
words between lines follow
Use subheadings to divide
sections
Results
State findings of the study
Provided in a logical sequence along with the
timeline of the study
Begin with baseline characteristics of participants
For each group mention no. of participants lost to
follow up/withdrawn & no. actually included in
analysis for each primary and secondary outcome
Mention result for each group, the estimated effect
with 95% CI
Results
Advisable to use tables or graphs for large volumes
of data
Write results in past tense
Do not repeat same data in text, tables and figures
Every table should have four basic elements:
1. Title
2. Column heading
3. Body
4. Footnote
Results
All tables & figures should stand alone should
provide complete/meaningful details even if read
alone without the accompanying full text
Take care to conceal the identity of participants if
any photographs are used
Take written permission for illustrations
reproduced from other sources (book, journal etc.)
Results: rules for reporting numbers
1. Numbers less than 10 are written in words
2. Two digit numbers or higher values are written as
numbers
3. Words not numbers should begin a sentence
4. Be consistent in lists of numbers
5. Do not use space between number & its
percentage
6. Always use space between number & its unit
Results: rules for reporting numbers
7. Report percentage to only one decimal place if
sample size is larger than 100.
8. Do not use decimal places in percentages if
sample size is less than 100
9. Do not use percentage if sample size is less than
20
10. Do not imply greater precision than your
instruments
11. For range use to and not -, as it can cause
confusion with a minus sign
Discussion & conclusions basic
elements
1. State the main findings
2. Relate study results to research hypothesis
3. Compare results with other studies
4. State the strengths & weaknesses of the study
5. Conclusion & implications for further research
Discussion & conclusions
Start with main findings of the study
Do not repeat the entire results of the study
Then relate results with the hypotheses & provide
explanations for the results
Speculation to some extent is always allowed to some
extent but do not extend it beyond the data
Compare results with other landmark and relevant studies
Use diplomatic approach while criticizing other studies
Then state the strengths & weaknesses of the studies
Finally state the conclusions clearly & suggest directions for
further research
Discussion & conclusions
Dos Donts
Inflate importance of
State brief summary of findings
what you found Interpretation not
Confine discussion concordant with data
only to relevant studies Erroneous or unsupported
Speculate intelligently conclusions
Inadequate link of findings
Acknowledge the to practice
studys limitations Getting carried away in the
discussion
Over presentation of the
results
Acknowledgements
Persons who have contributed intellectually to the
study but not qualifying to be authors can be
acknowledged
Contributions to a paper that need acknowledgement:
1. Financial grants from funding bodies
2. Technical help, laboratory work done out
of routine
3. Critical review of the drafts
References
Two major styles:
1. Harvard
2. Vancouver
- followed by majority of biomedical journals
References
Rules of referencing:
1. Be consistent in the style
2. References should be accurate and unambiguous,
so anyone can locate it
3. All references listed in the text should be in
reference list and vice versa
4. Do not cite references which you have not read
Full set of Vancouver reference style can be
obtained from the website of ICMJE
Thank You