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INTRODUCTION

Chapter Objectives

When you have completed this chapter, you will be able to understand:

  • The different types of scientific articles

  • The IMRAD format for an original research article

  • The different components of the IMRAD format

  • The format for submitting clinical trials and systematic reviews

  • Preparation of the manuscript

  • Writing the manuscript

  • Final presentation of the manuscript

The most important function of medical research is the advancement of scientific knowledge to be shared with the scientific community so that the benefits can be used by the community at large. The best way to disseminate such knowledge is to publish the results in peer-reviewed journals, which is an important step in the exercise of undertaking the research to begin with. However, by the time the research is completed, many researchers fail to get the results published for various reasons (Box 8-1), including lack of proper experience and skill in preparing the manuscript, failure to prepare a good article because of methodologic faults in the research, or failure to produce significant posi-tive results. That said, because of the tremendous growth in the number of medical journals over the past few decades, almost any scientific article usually gets published into one journal or another. But for better acceptance in the scientific community the research work should be published in a standard journal that has a reasonably high impact factor. To be considered worthwhile for publication in one of these standard journals, the paper should be sufficiently informative that the reader can assess the observations made in the research, can repeat the experiment if they so desire, and can determine whether the conclusions drawn are justified by the data,2 and the article should be written to a highest possible standard and in a structure that is approved by the journal.

BOX 8-1 Possible Reasons for Research Not Being Published

  • Issues related to the research team

    • Insufficient time devoted to writing the manuscript

    • Lack of necessary skills and experience to prepare the manuscript

    • Incomplete and ongoing research

    • Problems with coordination with coauthors

  • Issues related to publication

    • Failure to prepare a good manuscript owing to methodologic flaws in the research

    • Rejection by publisher because results are negative

Data from Liumbruno et al.1

PREPARATION OF A SCIENTIFIC PAPER

Evolution of the Manuscript-Writing Process

The process of writing medical scientific manuscripts dates back several centuries (Box 8-2). The earliest records of modern-day scientific papers can be traced back to the latter half of the 17th century. During that period such papers consisted mainly of single-authored letters addressing several subjects together and also some experimental reports, which were mainly descriptive.4 This was followed by the gradual development of the peer-reviewed process for scientific manuscripts in England and in France to ensure that the articles met the standards and quality of scientific validity of the journals....

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