A research article will be one of the easiest types of articles to arrange and write. You and your team have already done the majority of the work with your research project. Now you need to write up your findings in a cohesive and easy to read format with graphs and tables. Research articles will usually have five sections. Below each section of a research article as well as general guidelines will be discussed:
The introduction of the research article is designed to be a short section that outlines the clinical problem of the study, any deficiencies in the literature which the study fills, and what readers can expect to gain by reading the paper. This section should be short and to the point, but also grab readers attention.
The materials and methods section will be a bit longer and will describe how the study was done. Ideally this section should contain enough detail to allow other researchers to replicate the exact study methodology. First, list the exact study design and the reason it was chosen, which will give readers an idea of the validity of the research at hand. Next, describe the study sample and setting. Was this study in a single clinic, multiple clinics, multiple hospitals? How were participants chosen? What were exclusion and inclusion criteria? How was the allocation done? Was there randomization or blinding? If so, how was this carried out? See the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine Critical Appraisal Worksheet for a more complete idea of questions you should answer in this section. Additional information for this section describes how data was collected, managed and analyzed.
The results section tends to be the lengthiest section in a research article. Writers of research articles state that it best to begin this section by creating tables and graphs. The first table of every research paper will cover the demographics of study participants. Depending on the degree of difficulty of the study's statistics, a statistician may be needed in at this stage. Statisticians can assist with advising on the best statistical tests for the data and study type, as well as perform the statistical analysis and help create graphs and charts. On the UAMS campus, the Translational Research Institute for assistance can provide assistance. Keep the results section easy to read. Do not repeat information found in the graphs, but support the graphs with additional information. Tables and graphs should have titles, axis names, units of measurement, and a legend as well as a description of any abbreviations used. Lastly, double and triple-check all figures, tables and graphs for accuracy. One mistake can throw off the validity of an entire paper.
In the discussion section, restate the purpose, hypothesis, and aims of the study. Summarize the key results and discuss their importance. Stay focused in this section on the study and topic at hand. This is not a retelling of the results, but rather the selection of elements to describe in more detail. Discuss if the hypothesis was correct and how the data did or did not support the idea of the study. In this section, weave in other literature and discuss studies with similar findings. A librarian can provide assistance with the literature search or consultation if you prefer to do your own searching. In the last portion of this section, the focus is on detailing the strengths and weaknesses of the study. Depending on the journal, this may be considered as a subheading.
A conclusion that restates and summarizes the study findings generally in one paragraph will wrap up the research article. A second paragraph could discuss applications to clinical practice and future research questions which were raised by the study. Some journals will wrap the conclusion into the discussion section.
Review articles should have anywhere from 2-5 authors. Students, residents and fellows should keep in mind that they will always need to have a practicing clinician as an author on their article.
Authorship can be one of the trickiest parts of writing an article and should be dealt with up front. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) has set guidelines for what authors are expected to contribute and what qualifies someone as an author. These are the suggested guidelines to follow for the majority of clinical journals. The criteria for authorship are as follows:
Anyone not meeting all four criteria should be listed in the acknowledgements section of your paper.
Along with meeting author criteria, authors must decide amongst themselves who will be credited with the first author slot and the order of authors. Traditionally the lead or corresponding author, who will handle organization, final edits, and submission, or the one who does the most writing will be the first author. Mentors, senior faculty, and project PI's are generally placed as the last author.
Writing a great abstract is key to having a good final research product for presentation or publication. As a summary of your research and findings, your abstract should be limited to 100-250 words. Since it can be difficult to condense your research these few words, the tips below will help with this process.
The title of your project is the first thing that people will see. Creating a good title for your presentation/publication/poster will capture the attention of visitors. The following tips will help you as you develop your title:
© 2017 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences | Little Rock, AR