Scientific writing 2014


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Scientific writing 2014

  1. 1. MANUSCRIPT WRITING Khaled Albazli Manal Alotaibi MBBS, Internal Medicine demonstrators
  2. 2. Outlines  Introduction to scientific writing  IMARD Format  Manuscript writing  Common editing mistakes
  3. 3. Why Scientific Writing?  When a doctor decides to conduct a study, at the same time the doctor should decide to write and publish the study result as well.  If you start to work but you will not finish it, why do you start it?  Moreover, if you finish the work but you will not publish it, why do you finish it? Michael Faraday,
  4. 4. Why Scientific Writing? Writing and publishing a study result is important either for the investigator or the reader.  For the investigator or writer, publication is evidence that he/she has conducted a clinical trial according to good clinical practice.  While for the reader, publication of a study may provide greater knowledge on research of medical/health care science which may bring advantages to enhance medical services for patients.
  5. 5.  On the other hand, publishing a manuscript of study result in medical or biomedical journal is not as easy as we imagine.
  6. 6. Plan effectively For original research:  have a clear research question  seek statistical advice  use the right study design  act ethically  keep an open mind and minimise bias  agree who will be principal investigator  agree who will be authors and contributors  agree to publish even negative results
  7. 7. WHAT DO THE READER AND EDITOR WANT?  Who will be the readers of my article?  What will make the readers interested in this article?  What will be the main concern of the readers?  Do the readers understand the situation and condition explained in this article?  What does the writer expect after the reader has done reading this article?
  8. 8. Top 10 Reasons Manuscripts Rejected 1. Poor organization throughout, writing, spelling 2. Disorganized study design 3. Defective tables, figures 4. No hypothesis or problem statement 5. Inappropriate statistical methods 6. Over interpretation of results 7. No or insufficient conclusion 8. Poorly written abstract/title 9. Article unfocused 10. Wrong journal, format, preparation Pierson DJ, Respiratory Care 49(10), 2004 Byrne DW, Publishing Medical Research Papers, Williams and Wilkins, 1998
  9. 9. Writing scientific manuscripts need not be difficult or painful. With a little bit of organization, discipline, and persistence, writing manuscripts can be learned rapidly, thus producing excellent exchange of experience, personal success, and scientific progress.
  10. 10. Clear writing  Keep it simple: use short, familiar words  Avoid jargon and acronyms  Be specific  Be concrete, not abstract  Say what you mean and mean what you say
  11. 11. Writing is an Essential Skill  The career of a researcher can depend heavily on this skill  The ability to communicate clearly and precisely through the written word is an essential skill for medical researchers
  12. 12. Try to Avoid  Long complicated sentence  Pretentious language  Repetition  Meaningless phrases  Irrelevant material  Cluttering a paragraph  Citing too many references
  13. 13. Meaningless Phrases  The results are given in Figure1, where it is shown that temperature was directly proportional to metabolic rate… OR  Temperature was directly proportional to metabolic rate (Fig.1)..  In order to determine... OR to determine… !!!!
  14. 14. Cluttering a Paragraph  Don’t have more than one main idea or theme in a paragraph? It is better in such cases to rather write two or more linked paragraphs.  Don’t overkill with too many citations. Just cite the most important, most recent.  (However, in a review paper it may be appropriate to have an extensive/complete list of references).
  15. 15. Before Starting to Write the Paper  Record your readings (results)  Make tables  Draw graphs  Keep file to record summaries of results and any observation however insignificant  Date the files  Revise your readings, you may need to repeat an experiment while you still have the materials.  Write ideas when ever they come to you
  16. 16. IMRAD Format  I = Introduction, what question (problem) was studied  M = Methods, how was the problem studied  R = Results, what are the findings  A = and  D = Discussion, what do these findings mean
  17. 17.  Introduction  Why was the study undertaken?  What was the research question, the tested hypothesis or the purpose of the research?  Methods  When, where, and how was the study done?  What materials were used or who was included in the study groups (patients, etc.)?  Results  What answer was found to the research question  what did the study find?  Was the tested hypothesis true?  Discussion  What might the answer infer and why does it matter?  How does it fit in with what other researchers have found?  What are the perspectives for future research?
  18. 18. Essential Parts of a Scientific paper  Title: Describe concisely the core contents of the paper  Abstract: Summarize the major elements of the paper  Introduction: provide context and rationale for the study  Materials: Describe the experimental design so it is reproducible  Methods: Describe the experimental procedures  Results: Summarize the findings without interpretation  Discussion: Interpret the findings of the study  Summary: Summarize the findings  Acknowledgement: Give credit to those who helped you  References: List all scientific papers, books and
  19. 19. Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication. The first step: is always to read the Guide for Authors of the journal where you intend to submit analysis (~1,000 words or less). The second step: is to describe the results (~350 words).  The methods and results are the most important parts of the paper. When possible, use figures rather than tables to show your results.  Start the manuscript preparation by describing the materials and methods, including the planned statistical.  The discussion typically starts with a short overview of the most important results, followed by an assessment why the chosen design or model is appropriate. The discussions should place the results into contact, and present the clinical impact of the findings. The discussion should also acknowledge limitations of the study. The final conclusions should be low- key rather than exaggerated. The last step: is writing the introduction (~350 words), the abstract, and the title page.
  20. 20. The Title  A good title is defined as the fewest possible words that adequately describe the contents of the paper.  The title is extremely important and must be chosen with great care as it will be read by thousands, whereas few will read the entire paper  Indexing and abstracting of the paper depends on the accuracy of the title. An improperly titled paper will get lost and will never be read.
  21. 21.  Titles should neither be too short nor too long as to be meaningless  Waste words (studies on, investigations on, a, an, the etc) should not be used.  It should contain the keywords that reflect the contents of the paper.  It should be meaningful and not general  It should be concise, specific and informative  It should capture the fundamental nature of the experiments and findings The Title
  22. 22. Examples 1. Action of Antibiotics on Bacteria  Action: should be defined  Antibiotics: should be listed  Bacteria: should be listed 2. Mechanism of Suppression of Non- transmissible Pneumonia in Mice Induced by Newcastle Disease Virus
  23. 23. How to Prepare the Title  Make a list of the most important keywords  Think of a title that contains these words  The title could state the conclusion of the paper  The title NEVER contains abbreviations, chemical formulas  Think, rethink of the title before submitting the paper  Be very careful of the grammatical errors due to faulty word order  Avoid the use of the word “using”
  24. 24. The Abstract  An abstract can be defined as a summary of the information in a document  It is of fundamental importance that the abstract be written clearly and simply, as it is the first and sometimes the only part of the manuscript read.  It should provide a brief summary of each of the main sections (IMRAD) of the paper: 1. State the principal objective and scope of the investigation 2. Describe the methods used 3. Summarize the results, and 4. State the principal conclusions  It is easier to write the abstract after completion of the paper
  25. 25. Criteria of the Abstract  It should not exceed 250 words  It should be written in one paragraph.  It should be written in the past tense as it refers to work done.  Long words should be followed by its abbreviation which would be used through out the abstract and paper.  It should not cite any references (except in rare cases)  It should never give any information or conclusion that is not stated in the paper
  26. 26. Introduction  Brief and arresting  Define nature and scope of problem, but  Do not hide inconvenient facts  Provide rationale for current study  State aim of study
  27. 27. Introduction  Adequate information to allow reader to understand and evaluate present study without referring to previous publications  Key references to support background information provided
  28. 28. Writing Rules for Introduction  Use the present tense when referring to work that has already been published, but past tense when referring to your own study.  Use the active voice as much as possible  Avoid lengthy or unfocused reviews of previous research.  Cite peer-reviewed scientific literature or scholarly reviews. Avoid general reference works such as textbooks.  Define any specialized terms or abbreviations
  29. 29. Methodology The three questions  What has been done?  What did you look for?  How was it done?
  30. 30. Methodology  • Study design (drug trial / intervention; prospective / retrospective; randomized, blinded; sensitivity of method; questionnaire; case report; guidelines; meta-analysis)  • Setting  • Who is the study about? – Participants and control subjects (in animal studies, specify genus, species)  • What did you do? – Intervention – Follow up  • What did you look for? – Outcome measure
  31. 31. Methodology  • Inclusion criteria  • Exclusion criteria  • Sample size calculation  • Circumstances under which intervention done – Lab settings – In-patient or real life  • Consent  • Ethics clearance  Timing and duration of intervention  • Equipment / kits / manufacturer (Sections and subsections help)
  32. 32. Methodology  • Define outcome  • Parameters to assess outcome  • Endpoint, cut-off values  • Adverse events, if any
  33. 33. Results: General  • What did you find?  • Should answer all points raised in Methods  • No new parameters  • No mismatch in numbers between text and tables / figures
  34. 34. Results: Participant  • How many screened?  • How many eligible?  • How many recruited / excluded?  • How many completed study?  • Reasons for lack of completeness  • Compliance with therapy / protocol
  35. 35. Results: Data presentation  Cause of incomplete data, if any (sample lost, incomplete study)  • No repetition between text and tables  • No interpretation  • No adjectives (most, some, often..)  • Provide value of p (“highly significant”, “very highly significant” meaningless)
  36. 36. Tables and figures  Tables are appropriate for large or complicated data sets that would be difficult to explain clearly in text.  Figures are appropriate for data sets that exhibit trends, patterns, or relationships that are best conveyed visually.  Any table or figure must be sufficiently described by its title and caption or legend, to be understandable without reading the main text of the results section.  Do not include both a table and a figure showing the same information
  37. 37. Discussion  • Discussion of major findings in light of available data  • Discussion of important minor findings  • Alternative explanations  • Strengths and limitations of study  • Implications of findings  • Unanswered questions and future research  • Summary / conclusion
  38. 38. Common Mistakes in Introduction  • Details of previous studies  • Abbreviations without full form  • Details of Results and Conclusions
  39. 39. Common Mistakes in Methods and Results  Mixed up  • Errors in data (e.g., mean age 25, range 17- 22)  • Mismatch of data in Methods / Results / Tables / Figures  • Misinterpretation of data
  40. 40. Common Mistakes in Discussion  • Repeating results  • Emphasizing strengths of study over its weaknesses  • Going beyond evidence and drawing unjustified conclusions
  41. 41. Journal Editors Agree  Good writing signals clear thinking and an organized approach  Clear direct English and logical, organized writing are key to acceptance  Even well-constructed study will be rejected if the writing is flawed.
  42. 42. Manuscript Reviews Receipt of manuscript by editorial asst Manuscript Editor Title & Abstract Headings References Tables/Figures Read Through Journal Decision Editor Revise-Acceptance ? Revise-Accepted Acceptance - Outright Rejection - Outright Editor Reports Summary of peer reviews Summary of editor’s review Appropriate to journal? Conform to guidelines? No-DOA Yes Peer Reviewers Masked review
  43. 43. Summary  Outline your paper  Start early as your data is being analyzed  Look at your data and decide how to organize and present your results: tables, figures, text  Patterns and clues will emerge to guide your argument  Start with results then introduction and discussion/conclusions  Write title and abstract last  Put it away, re-read, give to your colleagues to read  Revise, revise, and re-revise  Adhere to journal guidelines!  Critically evaluate your paper with an editor’s eye  Write clearly, logically, and simply!
  44. 44. Things may help you    Plagiarism checker.  Put the manuscript away for a couple of days  Let go of “academic” writing habits and don’t imitate others’ writing. Develop your own clear, direct style
  45. 45. References  Fundamentals of good medical writing by Dr.Trish Groves, Deputy editor at BMJ  How to write a scientific paper By Prof. Dr. Khadiga Gaafar, Zoology Dept., Faculty of Science, Cairo  University  Writing The Biomedical Manuscript:A Systematic Approach. Christopher Dant. Stanford Medical School.  Writing for Scienti c Medical Manuscript: a Guide for Preparing Manuscript Submitted to Biomedical Journals. Siti Setiati, Kuntjoro Harimurti Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Indonesia-dr. Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, Jakarta.  A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Scientific Manuscript, Volker Wenzel, M.D., M.Sc., Martin W. Dünser, M.D.*, Karl H. Lindner, M.D.Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Innsbruck) Medical University, Innsbruck,Austria.