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How to write a scientific article

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1 How to write a scientific article
Saleem Saaed Qader MBChB, MD, MSc, MPH, PhD, SBGS Consultant General Surgeon, Lecturer General Director, Medical Research Centre, Hawler Medical University Department of Surgery, Rizgary Teaching Hospital Department of Surgery, Medical College, Hawler Medical University TMC Oct 2014 1

2 How to write a scientific text?
Logical in such way that others can repeat it Find out what is already known in the field Find relevant published litteraturs (References) Figures and tables should be clear Language – simple and clear sentences Understandable and comprehensive

3 Before starting to write the paper
Record your results Make tables and draw graphs Open a file to record summaries of results Date the files Revise your readings (repeat an experiment) Write ideas whenever they come to you

4 IMRAD Format I = Introduction (what 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 or what is learned from these findings)

5 Essential parts of a scientific paper
Title: Describe the core contents of the paper Abstract: Summarize the major elements Introduction: Provide context/rationale for study Materials: Describe the design (reproducible) Methods: Describe the experimental procedures Results: Summarize the finding (not interpret) Discussion: Interpret the findings of the study Conclusions: What does your results mean!! Acknowledgement: Give credit to those helped References: papers, books& websites (you cited) Legends for tables and figures

6 Title page Title List of the Authors and their affiliations
Those who have actively contributed to the paper, First author is the senior author Key Wards: for indexing Running Title Correspondence: the one who submit it and to be responsible for contact in the future

7 Authorship Getting funds, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, alone does not justify authorship Each author should have sufficiently participated in the work The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate co-authors are included on the paper People who have helped but not authors should be acknowledged

8 The Title A good title is defined as the fewest possible words that adequately describe the contents It 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

9 Titles should neither be too short nor too long
Waste words (studies on, investigations on, a, an, the etc) should not be used It should contain the keywords 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

10 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 Be very careful of the grammatical errors

11 “readable, well-organized, brief and self-contained “
The Abstract A summary of the information It is written clearly/simply, as it is the first and sometimes the only part of the study read It should provide a brief summary of each section State the principal objective/scope of the study Describe the methods, results & the conclusions It is written after completion of the paper “readable, well-organized, brief and self-contained “

12 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 Long words followed by their abbreviations which will be used throughout the paper It should not cite any references It should not give information that is not in a paper Must be accurate with respect to figures

13 Objective/ Hypothesis at the end of introduction
The Introduction It should answer the following questions: What was the study? Why was this an important question? What did I know about this topic before (study)? What model was I testing? What approach did I take in this study? “short, concise, comprehensive” Objective/ Hypothesis at the end of introduction

14 General rules Use the present tense when referring to others
Use the active voice as much as possible Avoid lengthy/unfocused reviews of literatures Cite peer-reviewed literature or reviews Avoid general reference (textbooks) Define any specialized terms or abbreviations

15 Materials and Methods Provide full details (can be repeated)
If the peer reviewer has doubts that the experiments could be repeated, the manuscript will be rejected Organize the methods under subheadings, with related methods described together (e.g. subjects, experimental design, measurement of…, hormonal assays etc…) Describe the experimental design in detail Do not mix the results in this section Write in the past tense

16 Materials Must identify accurately animals, plants, and microorganisms used by genus, species and strain The source of subjects studied, number of individuals in each group used, sex, age & weight must be defined If human subjects are used, the criteria for selection should be described: Inclusion/ Exclusion criteria For chemicals: include exact technical specifications, source or method of preparation Avoid use of trade names of chemicals, generic or chemical names are preferred

17 Methods It must be clear, precise/concise (reproducible)
If the method is new, all details must be provided If the method has been previously published in a scientific journal, only the reference should be given with some identification Questions: “how/ how much” must be answered Statistics must be mentioned

18 Ethics consideration Ethics consideration & consent (verbal or written) Research subjects rights to withdraw from the study at any stage How the research was explained to the research subjects REC: Research Ethics Committee approval, when and where

19 Results It is written in the past tense
It is the core or heart of the paper Clear/ simple since it constitutes the new science The purpose is to summarize/ illustrate the findings in an orderly/ logical sequence, without interpretation The text should guide the reader through the findings, stressing the major points Do not describe methods that have already been described in the M&M section

20 Methods of presenting the data
In the text In a table In a figure All figures/tables must be accompanied by a textual presentation of the key findings Never have a table or figure that is not mentioned in the text

21 Tables and figures Tables are appropriate for large or complicated data sets that would be difficult to explain in a 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 or legend, to be understandable without reading the main text of results Do not include both a table and a figure showing the same information

22 What do your findings mean? Summarize the most important findings
Discussion Analyse, Asses, Classify and Interpret Give your own idea and try to show your conceptual ability that you have digested the subject What do your findings mean? Summarize the most important findings

23 How to write the discussion
It is the hardest section to write Its primary purpose is to show the relationships among observed facts It should end with a short summary (conclusion) regarding the significance of the work

24 Components of the discussion
Try to present the principles, relationships, and generalizations shown by the results Point out any exceptions or any lack of correlation and define unsettled points Show how your results agree or contrast with previously published work Discuss the theoretical implications, and any possible practical applications State your conclusions as clearly as possible

25 Conclusions What can you logically conclude through the analysis of your data?  Introduce your conclusions by using a strong verb such as ”show” or ”indicate” Identify speculations by using ”might” with the verb

26 Acknowledgments You should acknowledge:
Any significant technical help from any one in your lab/ elsewhere The source of equipment, cultures, or any other material Any financial assistance e.g. grants, contracts or fellowships Your university (HMU) for sponsoring … Do not use the word “wish”, simply write “I thank …..” and not “I wish to thank…” Acknowledgement is to the person whose help is acknowledging

27 Acknowledgments; Thesis
The supervisor (everything is his/her fault, but he/ she deserves a thank!) Include people who gave you key ideas Co-advisors and colleagues who have helped you with various aspects of the research work, including collection of field data Colleagues who read and commented the manuscript(s) prior to submission for publication and journal’s referees Relatives (wife/husband, girl/boyfriend, children, parants, grand parants, etc) and friends

28 References What is referencing?
It is a standardized way of acknowledging the sources of information/ ideas used in your paper A list of ALL the references used in the text must be written Reference format varies widely: Harvard format (name/ year system): most widely used Alphabet-Number system is a modification of name and year system Citation order system

29 In-text citations In name and year system:
Citation in the text is followed by the author’s last name/year of publication between parentheses If they were two authors (both last names are written If more than two then the only first author’s name is written followed by: abbreviation et al If a single statement requires more than one citation then arrange them chronologically from oldest to more recent, separated by semicolons If more than one reference share the same year then arrange them alphabetically within the year

30 In name and year system:
The reference list is arranged alphabetically by author If an item has no author, it is cited by title, and included in the list using the first significant word of the title If more than one item has the same author, list the items chronologically, starting with the earliest publication Each reference appears on a new line There is no indentation of the references There is no numbering of the references

31 In alphabet-number system:
It the same as above but each reference is given a number (Citation by number from an alphabetically arranged numbered reference list ) In Citation order system: The reference list is arranged by the number given to the citation by the order that it were mentioned in the text

32 Reference List Any papers not cited in the text should not be included
Reference lists allow readers to investigate the subject in greater depth A reference list contains only the articles that are cited in the text of the document

33 Book 1.  Okuda M, Okuda D. Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future.  New York: Pocket Books; 1993. Journal or Magazine Article (with volume numbers) 2.  Wilcox RV. Shifting roles and synthetic women in Star trek: the next generation. Stud Pop Culture. 1991;13:53-65. Newspaper, Magazine (without volume numbers) 3.  Di Rado A. Trekking through college: classes explore modern society using the world of Star trek. Los Angeles Times. March 15, 1995:A3.       Encyclopedia Article 4.  Sturgeon T. Science fiction. In: Lorimer LT, editorial director; Cummings C, ed-in-chief; Leish KW, managing ed. The Encyclopedia Americana. Vol 24. International ed. Danbury, Conn: Grolier Incorporated; 1995:

34 Book Article or Chapter
5.  James NE. Two sides of paradise: the Eden myth according to Kirk and Spock. In: Palumbo D, ed. Spectrum of the Fantastic. Westport, Conn: Greenwood; 1988: ERIC Document 6.  Fuss-Reineck M. Sibling Communication in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Conflicts Between Brothers. Miami, Fla: Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association; ERIC Document Reproduction Service ED Website 7.  Lynch T. DSN trials and tribble-ations review. Psi Phi: Bradley's Science Fiction Club Web site Available at: /503r.htm. Accessed October 8, 1997. Journal Article on the Internet 8.  McCoy LH. Respiratory changes in Vulcans during pon farr. J Extr Med [serial online]. 1999;47: Available at: Accessed April 7, 1999.

35 How to Write – and Rewrite
Writing is a Lonely but social, business Good Writing is Rewriting (editing) Get in the (daily) habit An outline helps lots The three stages of writing Roughing it Shaping it Polishing it – including some basic rules 35

36 Heads Main ideas: centered, bold first level head
Second level head: left flush/bold (on its own line) Third level head: Italic, Bold: not on its own line, starts a paragraph 36

37 Final Polishing for Style: Rules to aid comprehension
1. Minimize words > 2 syllables (shorter words) 2. All sentences should be 3 lines or less 3. Avoid using the passive voice “It has been found…”. “It has been shown…” 4. Put Subject-Object Near Each Other Example “You can climb up the few steps and see what is really ‘no man’s land’ filled with weeds, rubbish and buildings about to fall down, to try seeing the Turkish side.” [Barbara Kingstone, European Reporter, September 21, 2006: 10. Fix: To see the Turkish side, you can climb up the few steps 37

38 6. Only 1-2 thoughts per sentence (more causes confusion)
5. Do not use many commas Interrupts the reader’s flow of attention Example: It was found, however, that social support, especially emotional support is affected by gender. Fix: Gender affects social support, especially emotional support. 6. Only 1-2 thoughts per sentence (more causes confusion) 38

39 7. Keep sentences in logical order
8. Keep Clauses and Phrases Parallel Original: They may be reacting to distress or may attempt to make the unit do better. Fix: They may be reacting to distress or attempting to make the unit do better 39

40 To avoid sexist language Example: He/she needs to learn to write.
9. Use Short Paragraph Easier to read always lead your paragraph with a strong point – don’t bury it 10. Use Bulleted or Number Points Otherwise readers get lost in a long list 11. Use Plurals To avoid sexist language Example: He/she needs to learn to write. Fix: They need to learn to write 40

41 References Robert Day (1995): How to write and publish a scientific paper. 4th Edition, Cambridge University Press University of Queensland (2009) References/Bibliography Harvard Style


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