How to write a scientific article Zaman MM [email protected]
Why you need to publish? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Do you believe in “publish or perish” Professional development? Promotion? Contribute to the world of knowledge? Anything else? All of the above?
First scientific journal appeared in 1665
• Journal des Scavans in France • The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London
IMRAD Format: original research Introduction: Methods: Results: And: Discussion:
why this research? what did I do? what did I find?
what might it mean?
Other formats: IMRADC, IRDAM, IMRMRMRD, ILMRAD This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND
How do you start?
Pre-writing: Organize your story • Stack copies of published papers; Take a few classical articles • Make an outline • List points you want to make in each section • Sort and re-sort them • Have a monologue • Convince yourself first
Salient points or features of your article.1
Salient points or features of your article.2
Are you ready now with your story?
Get the guidance now on writing research papers A. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals http://www.icmje.org/
B. Reporting guidelines for research, at the EQUATOR network resource centre http://www.equator-network.org/
Using a checklist to make your article foolproof • Randomized Control Trail: • Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials
• Meta-analysis of RCTs • Quality of Reporting Meta-analysis:
• Diagnostic Studies: • Standards for Reporting Diagnostic Accuracy:
• Observational Studies in Epidemiology • Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epi.
• Meta-analysis of observational studies • Meta-analysis of observational studies in Epidemiology:
TITLE • The most read part of the article • Fewest possible words but adequately describe the content of the paper • No need to be witty • Association between diuretic use and cardiovascular mortality: Dying to Pee
• No misleading wording
• “Correlation obesity with MI”
• No waste words
• A real example “On the addition to the methods of microscopic research by a new way of producing colour-contrast between its object and its background or between definite parts of the object itself”
• No waste words • An opening A, AN, The, Studies on.., Investigations on..
TITLE.2 • Can a question be a title?? • Usually NO but sometime YES
• Can the main result be given in t he title?? • Usually NO but sometime YES
Where to start?
Hook the reader but make it easy! • what you were studying and why it was important; • what we knew about it and what the current gaps are; • what your brilliant idea of solving the problem was. Organize this section so that it narrows from the more general aspects towards the more specific topical information that provides context. • Research question? • Objective? • Hypothesis?
METHODS: Be clear so that others can repeat the study 1. Clearly state the eligibility and exclusion criteria of participants and a description of the source population; 2. Identify the methods, apparatus (give the manufacturer’s name and address in parentheses), and procedures; 3. Include methods used for locating, selecting, extracting, and synthesizing data; 4. State how the data were summarized and analyzed, indicating what types of descriptive statistics and statistical analysis were used to determine significance;
A flowchart always helps describing the methods employed
Zaman MM et al. Pedatric & Perinatal Epidemiol 1997;11:322-332
RESULTS.1 • Never describe everything: that would lead you to rejection box; • Describe distribution of data. This is important than hypothesis testing. • Never forget the denominator of the study sample. • Standardize categorical findings for comparison with other studies.
• Consider magnitude of difference rather than sole reliance on P values. • Consider confidence intervals rather than sole reliance on P values.
• Consider biological plausibility. Association does not necessary indicate causation.
RESULTS.2 • • • •
This is the most important part It should be short and sweet, without verbiage It constitutes the new knowledge that you are contributing to the world Most common fault: repetition of words what is apparent in tables and graphs
• Verbosity • “It is clearly shown in Table 1 that nocillin inhibited the growth of N. gonorrhoeae” • “Table 1 describes that nocillin inhibited the growth of N. gonorrhoeae” • Nocillin inhibited the growth of N. gonorrhoeae (Table 1).
Source: Moreira A, Haahtela T. Rev Port Pneumol. 2011;17:146—149
Preparation of good tables A tabular presentation of data is often the heart or, better, the brain, of a scientific paper. --Peter Morgan
As a rule, • All tables should be self explanatory • Do not construct a table unless repetitive data must be presented • Do not use a table if you can present the data in text • Never use a meaningless table • Details
How to prepare effective graphs • Requirements for graphs remain same for tables; • Basically graphs are pictorial tables; When to choose a graph? • However, data that needs visual impression such as comparisons, trends etc can be presented in graphs • Do not repeat data in tables and graphs • Meaningless graphs to be avoided • Axes to be clarified • Legends to be given with clarity • Acronyms and symbols described • Not only the truth but the full truth
MISLEADING GRAPHS •Suppressing the zero on axes •Inflating or deflating the scale •Extrapolation (extending the line beyond the actual results)
DISCUSSION.1 • Hardest part to write • It should be an inverted “funnel” • Provide highlight of your study; what is your selling point; • Emphasize new and important findings. • Avoid statements not supported by the data. “When the legs of a flea are remove, the flea can no longer hear.” • You discus—you do not recapitulate—the results;
DISCUSSION.2 • Put out any exceptions or any lack of correlation and define unsettled points • Try to present principles, relationships, and generalizations shown by the results • Show how your results and interpretations agree (or contrast) with previously published works. Compare data within- and between-population findings • Discuss theoretical implications of your work, as well as any practical implications;
DISCUSSION.3 • Never forget the limitation (and strength of the study) • Conclude in the line of the objective/goal of the study. • Conclusion must be supported by the data. Never assume beyond!
ABSTRACT • Treat the abstract as a mini-paper! • Smallest abstract: E=mc2
• Common problems: • Omission of something important • Inclusion of extraneous details
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS • It is never done alone in the current world; • Anyone for significant technical help; • Many people have done the work but do not suffice to be authors; • Any outside financial assistance: grants, contracts, fellowships. • Never say we “wish” to….
• List only significant published references
How to cite the REFERENCES
• Ensure that all parts of every reference are accurate • Don't forget to have a final check to ensure that all references cited in the text are intended …. • Use citation management software—EndNote, Reference manager, RefWorks • Style; Depends on the journal but prepare it using Vancouver style;
Never mis out gurus!
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND
Revise the draft • Yourself first: How many times? • Then get comments from others: • Someone not conversant on research • Someone conversant on research • Keep the final draft closed sealed for at least a week to revise again.
KIS: the final word • One paper, one message • Do not put too much data in one article • Decide what your key message is and build up a story around it • Match the Opening with Closing