Presentation on theme: "Writing an original research paper Part one: Important considerations Amin Bredan, PhD, Editor Department of Biomedical Molecular Biology Ghent University."— Presentation transcript:
Writing an original research paper Part one: Important considerations Amin Bredan, PhD, Editor Department of Biomedical Molecular Biology Ghent University and Department for Molecular Biomedical Research Flanders Institute of Biotechnology Belgium
The original research article It is not just a presentation of work carried out It reports research reaching conclusions supported by evidence It is a well-documented argument for a particular finding or observation The argument is supported by the results (and the literature) The literature should be used only to: support argument or counter-argument facilitate understanding
Structure of a research article two styles Divided into sections depending on topic Less common Used in journals Science, Nature etc. Structured Most common IMRAD (Intro, M&M, Results, Discussion) Some variations on IMRAD exist
IMRAD structure Title Authors and their affiliation Summary / Abstract Introduction Material and methods Results Discussion Conclusion Acknowlegement References
IMRAD structure Title Authors and their affiliation Summary / Abstract Introduction Material and methods Results Discussion Conclusion Acknowledgement References Conclusion frequently at end of discussion
IMRAD structure Title Authors and their affiliation Summary / Abstract Introduction Material and methods Results Discussion Conclusion Acknowledgement References Results and discussion may be combined
IMRAD structure Title Authors and their affiliation Summary / Abstract Introduction Material and methods Results Discussion Conclusion Acknowledgment References Some journals place methods after results and discussion
Authorship To qualify as an author one must meet three conditions 1. substantial contributions to one of the following : - conception and design - acquisition of data - analysis and interpretation 2. drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content 3. final approval of the version to be published Just being the boss does not qualify one to be an author
Title The most important single sentence Accurately represents the contents Determines whether a reader goes on to read abstract
Abstract / Summary a minipaper lacking discussion and references Provides brief background States aims Indicates methodology States important results States main conclusion
What should NOT be in the abstract Literature references Reference to figures or tables Uncommon abbreviations Discussion of results Information not in main text
The introduction Provide background The problem and its significance Rationale for the research State aims Brief but specific
Strategy for writing introduction Make a plan: start, development, rounding up Summarize what is known Point to gaps in knowledge Discuss hypotheses and mechanisms Go from general to specific issues Logical development towards your topic Avoid repetition and plagiarism
Refining the introduction Does it cover the area? Does it include irrelevant issues? Is it putting much emphasis where it is not needed? Is it placing little emphasis on important issues? Does it clearly show the gap in knowledge that your results help to fill? Are the aims clearly stated?
Materials and methods Enough details to repeat experiments No explanations of the obvious Methods obtained from the literature: give the reference and provide a brief summary of the procedure
Refining material and methods Are all sources of material mentioned? Are all details of experimental conditions specified? Are experimental procedures explained clearly? Are the statistical methods given? Is ethical approval, where relevant, mentioned? Is there any unnecessary redundancy? Can this section be shortened without losing essential information?
Results Are the results properly introduced to orient the reader? Can the figures and tables be understood on their own? Does the text accurately reflect what is in figures and tables? Does the text properly highlight the most important data in the figures and tables? Is the text clear and brief?
Refining discussion Are the results briefly summarized? Is there sufficient interpretation of the results and how they fit in with current knowledge? If a mechanism is involved, is it discussed? Is there explanation of the significance of the findings? Is there discussion of studies reporting results that conflict with yours? Is the literature relevant and up to date?
Conclusion Do the results justify the conclusion? Is the conclusion deficient in providing only a summary of the results? Is the conclusion defective in being over-generalized? Is the indication of potentially fruitful future research specific enough?
Choice of references Quality is important rather than quantity Relevant Up-to-date Use reviews ONLY for general issues Working just from abstracts leads to errors: read the papers
Check reference list Accurate in content Formatted according to journal style Full stops, commas, semicolons, spaces, and abbreviations of journal names and/or author list are all important This is the full responsibility of authors Endnote or Reference Manager has become essential
Plagiarism Copying text from another source is considered plagiarism EVEN WHEN THE REFERENCE IS CITED Journals use software to detect plagiarism Do not copy-paste even single sentences Use your own words