Presentation on theme: "Corso di clinical writing. What to expect today? Core modules IntroductionIntroduction General principlesGeneral principles Specific techniquesSpecific."— Presentation transcript:
Corso di clinical writing
What to expect today? Core modules IntroductionIntroduction General principlesGeneral principles Specific techniquesSpecific techniques Title/Abstract draftingTitle/Abstract drafting Finding out relevant literature, and Introduction draftingFinding out relevant literature, and Introduction drafting Nuts & bolts of statistics and Methods draftingNuts & bolts of statistics and Methods drafting Practical session 1 – Appraisal of a published articlePractical session 1 – Appraisal of a published article
Title What makes a good title?
Title First you need to ask yourself what a title is for!
Title The title is like the eyes of a woman
Title They may mislead, but they are decisive in making the choice for having a glance at the article
Title A good title should: 1.Accurately, completely, and specifically identify the main topic 2.Be unambiguous 3.Be concise 4.Begin with an important word to attract intended readers 5.Include independent and dependent variables and species, if not human 6.Be a label suitable for indexing
Title ^Avoid: –Too scholarly or too “cute” titles –Subtitles, whenever possible –Acronyms –Roman numerals –Abbreviations –Noun clusters Complement fixation laboratory technique for adult rhesus monkey antigen isolation ^Don’t use jargon ^Keep word order simple
Title Write it first, as soon you delevop your hypothesis Try to state the finding in the title Be specific but catchy On the other end, don't make it too specific, or people might not read or cite it
Title Optimally:Optimally: – Very brief summary of research Omit “A study of,” “Investigations of,”…Omit “A study of,” “Investigations of,”… Put subjects studied (eg octuagenarians)Put subjects studied (eg octuagenarians) Put limiting informationPut limiting information Avoid “cute” or abbreviationsAvoid “cute” or abbreviations – May or may not give results Topic – Effect of ultrasonic dissection on the risk of gallbladder perforation during laparoscopic cholecystectomyTopic – Effect of ultrasonic dissection on the risk of gallbladder perforation during laparoscopic cholecystectomy Conclusive – Ultrasonic dissection reduces the risk of gallbladder perforation during laparoscopic cholecystectomyConclusive – Ultrasonic dissection reduces the risk of gallbladder perforation during laparoscopic cholecystectomy
Effective titles A Randomized Comparison of Laparoscopic Versus Open Surgery for Colon Cancer Improved Cancer-Free Survival with Neo-Adjuvant Radiotherapy and Surgical Resection for Pancreatic Cancer Long-Term Ticlopidine Administration Prevents Aorto- Femoral Bypass Occlusion in Patients with Peripheral Artery Disease Learning Curve Phase Predicts Rate of Peri- Procedural Complications with Laparoscopic Surgery for Colon Cancer
A good example Ganio et al, Br J Surg 2001
Abstract What makes a good abstract?
Abstract First you need to ask yourself what an abstract is for!
Abstract The abstract is like the whole body of a woman
Abstract The abstract is like the whole body of a woman It may mislead, but it is decisive in making the choice for reading the full-text of the article
Abstract A good abstract should : 1.State the principal objectives and scope of the investigation 2.Describe the methods employed 3.Summarize the results 4.State the principal conclusions
Abstract 1.It's by far the most important part of the paper 2.Write it before the rest of the paper, not after 3.Rewrite it after you have finished the rest of the paper 4.Start with a rationale for the study: state why you did it, not what you did 5.Include as much detail of methods as possible 6.Include magnitudes of effects in the results
Abstract 7. End with the main conclusion: state why or how it's useful, not a rehash of what you found 8. It should be within a few words of the prescribed length 9. Be as economical with words as possible, but do not compromise grammar 10. Avoid abbreviations here and throughout the article 11. Do not include references, figures, or tables
Following the rules Concise as possible, but brisk! –Body length determined ~175 Words (shorter)~175 Words (shorter) ~300 Words (longer?)~300 Words (longer?) –It may be difficult to comply, especially if very structured (eg JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine)
Following the rules
Specific advice for abstract drafting Abstracts are short but time-consumingAbstracts are short but time-consuming Very information-dense, but simply formattedVery information-dense, but simply formatted Write “long” and pare down if neededWrite “long” and pare down if needed Analyze one sentence at a timeAnalyze one sentence at a time –Each sentence has purpose –Each sentence logically follows another Use plain English wherever you canUse plain English wherever you can Use active voice when you canUse active voice when you can State only your most important conclusion(s)State only your most important conclusion(s) There is not good writing, only good rewritingThere is not good writing, only good rewriting
Abstract Introduction What is the general topic you were investigating and why is it important?What is the general topic you were investigating and why is it important? Provide supporting information for titleProvide supporting information for title Generally max 3 sentencesGenerally max 3 sentences General information to specificGeneral information to specific
Abstract Aim What are the specific questions you are addressing with this project?What are the specific questions you are addressing with this project? Sometimes you need two sentences, but one is betterSometimes you need two sentences, but one is better
Abstract Methods How did you do this experiment?How did you do this experiment? One or two sentences are needed for short abstracts (175 words). Three or four for longer.One or two sentences are needed for short abstracts (175 words). Three or four for longer. Just to give general ideaJust to give general idea No vendor info neededNo vendor info needed
Abstract Results What did you find out?What did you find out? Two sentences might be enough: state only you main point(s).Two sentences might be enough: state only you main point(s). Do include your most important quantitative data (with dispersion or significance value) that influenced your conclusions:Do include your most important quantitative data (with dispersion or significance value) that influenced your conclusions: –mean values, standard deviations, p values, confidence intervals, number of samples you studied, etc.)
Abstract Conclusions Sometimes called Discussion or InterpretationSometimes called Discussion or Interpretation How did hypothesis turn out?How did hypothesis turn out? What is the big point that you want to take home?What is the big point that you want to take home? One sentence may be enoughOne sentence may be enough Be bold, yet not overconfidentBe bold, yet not overconfident
The more structured, the better O’Brien et al, Ann Intern Med 2006
The less structured, the worse Visser et al, Am J Surg 2008
Key-words Used for indexing purposesUsed for indexing purposes May enable others to retrieve your paper, even if it was published in a minor journalMay enable others to retrieve your paper, even if it was published in a minor journal Setting key-words can be easily done at the beginning of your projectSetting key-words can be easily done at the beginning of your project
Take home messages Title drafting -keep focused and precise but catchy!
Take home messages Title drafting -keep focused and precise but catchy! Abstract drafting -every phrase is a battle, and the whole abstract is your war, win or loose! -follow the IMRAD approach -never tell lies, better (slightly) conceal the truth