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Elements of the scientific article. Professor Magne Nylenna, M.D., PhD [email protected] Which articles would you like to read?. Clear message Original Topical Reliable Of interest and relevance Well written Short. Writing a paper. Other readers are just like you!.

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Elements of the scientific article

Elements of the scientific article

Professor Magne Nylenna, M.D., PhD

[email protected]

Which articles would you like to read
Which articles would you like to read?

  • Clear message

  • Original

  • Topical

  • Reliable

  • Of interest and relevance

  • Well written

  • Short

Other readers are just like you
Other readers are just like you!

  • Imagine a personified reader (like yourself) when you write

  • What you would like to read would others like as well

  • Dilemma:

    • As readers we prefer short, clear texts

    • As authors we (often) prefer long, difficult texts

What are editors looking for
What are editors looking for?

  • Is it new?

  • Is it true?

  • Is it important?

    (Stephen Lock, BMJ)

The perfect paper
”The perfect paper”

  • Original

  • High scientific reliability

  • Clinical impact

  • Topicality

  • Well written

  • Brief

The basic element of a paper
The basic element of a paper

  • A paragraph

    • logically organized,

    • with an internal continuity,

    • telling a story

The paragraph
The paragraph

  • A topic sentence – stating the message

  • Organize supporting sentences so that they say something about the topic

  • End with a conclusion leading to the next paragraph

IMRAD – structure

  • Introduction

    • Why?

  • Methods

    • How?

  • Results

    • What did you find?

  • Discussion

    • What does it mean?


  • What have you done?

  • Two aims:

    • Catch the interest of the reader

    • Helping the reader to understand the rest of the paper

  • Three parts:

    • Known

    • Unknown

    • Problem/Question

The introduction
The introduction:

  • Funnel from what is known to the question

  • Tell a story

  • Keep the number of references to a minimum

  • State the question

  • Keep it short!

Essentials of writing biomedical research papers(Mimi Zeiger, McGraw-Hill,1991)

Writing an introduction to the introduction j techn writing comm 2009 39 321 9




A statistic


Everyday occurence

Statement of fact



Lack of research


Previous study


Writing an introduction to the introduction(J Techn Writing Comm 2009;39:321-9.)

Material and methods

  • How was the study designed?

  • How (and when and where) was the study performed?

  • Data analysis

  • Aim for six paragraphs elaborating on what you did


  • Six paragraphs describing what you found

  • Systematic presentation of your findings

  • Logical order

    • From general to detailed information

    • Cronological

  • Tables/figures


  • The difficult part

  • What it all means in 6-7paragraphs

  • Limit the discussion to your own findings

  • Structure

    • Summarize main findings

    • Limits/strengths of your study

    • Interpretation (comparision with others)

    • Importance

  • End with a clear message



Material and methods














Randomized controlled trials consort consolidated standards of reporting trials
Randomized controlled trialsCONSORT(Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials)

Observational studies strobe strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology
Observational studiesSTROBE(Strengthening the Reporting of Observational studies in Epidemiology

Metaanalyses and systematic reviewsPRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

What is a good title
What is a good title?

  • Await headlines (and abstract) until the final manuscript version

  • A good title should be both informative and exciting

  • Be careful with statements and ”conclusions” in titles

  • A question in the title must be answered in the paper

Reference list
Reference list

  • Only published, openly available sources should be included

  • References should be numbered consecutively as they appear in the text

  • The reference list should be accordingly numbered and systematic:

    • Author(s) (up to 6, thereafter et.al.).

    • Title.

    • Publication.

      • Article: Jounal (abbr), year;volume:page-page.

      • Book: Place of publishing: Publisher, Year.

    • DOI (digital object identifier)