Manuscript Writing


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Manuscript Writing

  1. 1. Organizing and Writing the Biomedical Paper UAMS Office of Grants and Scientific Publications Bill Ga bello Science Editor/ Writer October I3, 2006 GCRC Research Education Seminar
  2. 2. Today’s Objectives E| Review the basic components of scientific papers. E| Offer some tips on developing a systematic approach to the tasks involved in preparing a manuscript for submission to a journal.
  3. 3. Acknowledgments Cl Mallia M. Organizing the biomedical paper. In: Minick P, ed. Biomedical Communication: Selected AMWA Workshops. Bethesda, MD: American Medical Writers Association; 20012101-116. Cl Welch HG. Preparing manuscripts for submission to medical journals: the paper trail. Effective Clinical Practice, May/ June 1999. American College of Physicians Online.
  4. 4. Before you start. ..
  5. 5. Content Or Form? . .content transcends form in the selection of manuscripts for publication in Radiology. .. . [but] In the competition for selection among submissions of comparable scientific merit, papers prepared with greater care invariably receive a higher priority for publication. ” - Stanley 8. Siegelman, MD, Editor Radiology 1988;166:278-280
  6. 6. Content Or Form? SELECTION OF MANUSCRIPTS FOR PUBLICATION fvcomparable Scientific Merit is Form > Content Outstanding Scientific Merit Content > Form Little Scientific Merit Content > Form
  7. 7. Who Is an Author? C1 An author should have participated sufficiently to take public responsibility for the work’s content. C1 An author should have substantially contributed to the following: r~ conception and design, or analysis and interpretation of data r~ drafting of the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content r~ final approval of the version to be published. Cl All these conditions must be met.
  8. 8. The First Step C| Se| ect a journal to which you intend to submit your paper. C| Familiarize yourself with its style and format. C'Make sure your paper is suitable for the intended journal. — E| Visit the journal's Web site. I- Read the Instructions to Authors and the journal's Editorial Policies.
  9. 9. Getting Underway. ..
  10. 10. Components of a Scientific Paper: AIMRaD EIAbstract D Introduction r- Why you did what you did U Methods (and Materials) L- What you did El Results r- What you found C! Discussion r- What it might mean
  11. 11. High-Visibility Elements C'TitIe E| Abstract D Introduction C| Tables El Figures
  12. 12. Title Cl Highest of high-visibility elements > Your first chance to stimulate interest > Editors look at first > Readers are most likely to look at or read Cl Give serious thought to wording of title > Follow guidelines in Instructions to Authors > Should accurately, specifically, and completely identify the central topic > Should introduce the key terms of the research question stated in the Introduction
  13. 13. When/ W here to Start? E| Start early! C| Think about the main message Cl Write down the “key messages" or "take home points" C| Start with Methods C| Start with Introduction C| Start with Results
  14. 14. Introduction: Purpose and Language C'Motivate your readers to care to know r- Why the work was done r- Why they should care C| Write a strong first sentence E| Repeat the key terms of the paper's title and the research question
  15. 15. Introduction: Structure C'Structure it like a funnel or inverted pyramid r~ What is the general problem or current sfluafion? r~ What is the specific problem or controversy? r- How did this study help? CIKeep it short: one or two typed pages
  16. 16. Methods and Materials C| Must give a clear overview of r- What was done r- How it was done C'Shou| d be thorough enough for the study to be reproduced C| Use subheadings to guide readers ElDescribe statistical analysis employed E| Write in past tense
  17. 17. Results C| What were the findings? ElBe brief and to the point C| Use tables and figures to present data Clsigniflcance: report confidence intervals, standard deviations, and P values E| Write in past tense
  18. 18. Discussion: Overview C| What do your findings mean? E'Describe the principles, relationships, and generalizations implied by the results C'Keep as short as possible, so readers grasp take-home message — E'Shou| d be organized with a beginning, a middle, and an end
  19. 19. Discussion: Beginning C| Sentence 1: Clearly state the answer to the research question ClNext, your conclusions based on the resu| ts—strongest evidence first ClNever begin with a survey of background information — ClNever repeat background information from Introduction
  20. 20. Discussion: Middle Cllnterpret the results: how they support the answer to the research question C'Discuss topics relating to the answer in descending order of importance C| Discuss your own or others‘ studies, placing your findings in their context
  21. 21. Discussion: Middle (c0nt’d) C| Present your least impressive results C| Explain any study limitations DExp| ain any unexpected findings C| Anticipate valid criticisms ClHelp your readers gauge r~ What can be confidently learned _ r~ What is more speculative
  22. 22. Discussion: End C| End strong: what’s the take-home message? C| Restate the answer to the research quesfion E| Mention possible applications, implications, or speculations C| Consider what next? Suggest future work
  23. 23. Abstract DWrite the abstract for the first draft C| Focus on the basic components: > What question was asked? (background) > What was supposed to happen? (tested hypothesis) > How and in whom was the study done? (methods) > What was found? (results) > What does it mean to others? (conclusion)
  24. 24. References C| Fol| ow the journal’s Instructions to Authors Ellnvest in a reference citation database manager DBe as rigorous and accurate in citing and preparing your references as you are in the conduct your scientific experiments
  25. 25. Revise, Listen, Revise, Be Patient ClRevise, revise, revise in response to feedback from others E| Don't wait until the paper is done to get feedback ClSit down and interact with a colleague giving feedback: more helpful than scribbled notes C| Be patient: Don't rush the writing process
  26. 26. Where did they go wrong. . . ?
  27. 27. Common Deficiencies D Ambiguity Of m€th0dS El Study limitations not (77% - Cl Conclusions not described (51%) (/ $32’-O; a)nted data C] UnClear tables 0 Cl Overly long D glgalguity Of results discussion (49%) D Poor referencing D Inadequate definition (55%) of terms (49 / o) : Cl Inadequate study Cl Subject selection bias desi n description (40%) (51%) From Taylor DM, Brown AF. Analysis of the study design and manuscript deficiencies in research articles submitted to Eniergcncy Medicine. Emerg . led (Fremantle). 200] ; l3(4):444-450.