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How to Write Your First Research Paper

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At the foundation of Johns Hopkins Medicine is research.

1. Schedule your writing time in Outlook
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Global reach, higher impact. International Journal of Biological Sciences. Authors are encouraged to submit high quality, eye catching illustrations or images for consideration as the issue covers of the journal. Alternative Explanation for Bone Loss beyond Oestrogen? Impact factor is 2.

Laxmaiah Manchikanti et al. Cited by 79 Naomi Brooks et al. Strength training improves muscle quality and insulin sensitivity in Hispanic older adults with type 2 diabetes. Genetic polymorphisms in the nucleotide excision repair pathway and lung cancer risk: How does the writing process work? How can you fit your writing into a daily schedule packed with experiments? What section should you start with? What distinguishes a good research paper from a bad one?

How should you revise your paper? These and many other questions buzz in your head and keep you stressed. As a result, you procrastinate. In this paper, I will discuss the issues related to the writing process of a scientific paper. Specifically, I will focus on the best approaches to start a scientific paper, tips for writing each section, and the best revision strategies. Whether you have written papers or you are struggling with your first, starting the process is the most difficult part unless you have a rigid writing schedule.

It is a very difficult process of intense concentration and brain work. In his book How to Write a Lot: Just as with any type of hard work, you will not succeed unless you practice regularly. If you have not done physical exercises for a year, only regular workouts can get you into good shape again.

Choose from 1- to 2-hour blocks in your daily work schedule and consider them as non-cancellable appointments. When figuring out which blocks of time will be set for writing, you should select the time that works best for this type of work. For many people, mornings are more productive. One Yale University graduate student spent a semester writing from 8 a. At the end of the semester, she was amazed at how much she accomplished without even interrupting her regular lab hours.

In addition, doing the hardest task first thing in the morning contributes to the sense of accomplishment during the rest of the day. This positive feeling spills over into our work and life and has a very positive effect on our overall attitude. Now that you have scheduled time, you need to decide how to start writing. The best strategy is to start with an outline.

This will not be an outline that you are used to, with Roman numerals for each section and neat parallel listing of topic sentences and supporting points. This outline will be similar to a template for your paper. Initially, the outline will form a structure for your paper; it will help generate ideas and formulate hypotheses.

Following the advice of George M. Use Table 1 as a starting point for your outline. Include your visuals figures, tables, formulas, equations, and algorithms , and list your findings. These will constitute the first level of your outline, which will eventually expand as you elaborate.

The next stage is to add context and structure. Here you will group all your ideas into sections: This step will help add coherence to your work and sift your ideas. Now that you have expanded your outline, you are ready for the next step: Many universities have a writing center where graduate students can schedule individual consultations and receive assistance with their paper drafts.

Getting feedback during early stages of your draft can save a lot of time. Talking through ideas allows people to conceptualize and organize thoughts to find their direction without wasting time on unnecessary writing.

Outlining is the most effective way of communicating your ideas and exchanging thoughts. Moreover, it is also the best stage to decide to which publication you will submit the paper. Many people come up with three choices and discuss them with their mentors and colleagues. Having a list of journal priorities can help you quickly resubmit your paper if your paper is rejected. After you get enough feedback and decide on the journal you will submit to, the process of real writing begins.

Copy your outline into a separate file and expand on each of the points, adding data and elaborating on the details. When you create the first draft, do not succumb to the temptation of editing. Do not slow down to choose a better word or better phrase; do not halt to improve your sentence structure.

Pour your ideas into the paper and leave revision and editing for later. Staring at an empty screen is frustrating, but your screen is not really empty: You have a template of your article, and all you need to do is fill in the blanks. When scientists start writing a research paper, they already have their files with data, lab notes with materials and experimental designs, some visuals, and tables with results. All they need to do is scrutinize these pieces and put them together into a comprehensive paper.

If you still struggle with starting a paper, then write the Materials and Methods section first. Since you have all your notes, it should not be problematic for you to describe the experimental design and procedures. Your most important goal in this section is to be as explicit as possible by providing enough detail and references. In the end, the purpose of this section is to allow other researchers to evaluate and repeat your work.

So do not run into the same problems as the writers of the sentences in As you can see, crucial pieces of information are missing: The sentences can be improved when information is added, as in 2a and 2b , respectfully:. If your method has previously been published and is well-known, then you should provide only the literature reference, as in 3a. If your method is unpublished, then you need to make sure you provide all essential details, as in 3b.

Stem cells were isolated using biotinylated carbon nanotubes coated with anti-CD34 antibodies. Furthermore, cohesion and fluency are crucial in this section. One of the malpractices resulting in disrupted fluency is switching from passive voice to active and vice versa within the same paragraph, as shown in 4. This switching misleads and distracts the reader. Behavioral computer-based experiments of Study 1 were programmed by using E-Prime.

We took ratings of enjoyment, mood, and arousal as the patients listened to preferred pleasant music and unpreferred music by using Visual Analogue Scales SI Methods. The preferred and unpreferred status of the music was operationalized along a continuum of pleasantness [ 4 ]. The problem with 4 is that the reader has to switch from the point of view of the experiment passive voice to the point of view of the experimenter active voice.

This switch causes confusion about the performer of the actions in the first and the third sentences. To improve the coherence and fluency of the paragraph above, you should be consistent in choosing the point of view: We programmed behavioral computer-based experiments of Study 1 by using E-Prime.

We took ratings of enjoyment, mood, and arousal by using Visual Analogue Scales SI Methods as the patients listened to preferred pleasant music and unpreferred music. We operationalized the preferred and unpreferred status of the music along a continuum of pleasantness. Ratings of enjoyment, mood, and arousal were taken as the patients listened to preferred pleasant music and unpreferred music by using Visual Analogue Scales SI Methods.

The preferred and unpreferred status of the music was operationalized along a continuum of pleasantness. Interestingly, recent studies have reported that the Materials and Methods section is the only section in research papers in which passive voice predominantly overrides the use of the active voice [ 5 , 7 , 8 , 9 ]. This means that while all other sections of the research paper use active voice, passive voice is still the most predominant in Materials and Methods sections.

Writing Materials and Methods sections is a meticulous and time consuming task requiring extreme accuracy and clarity. This is why when you complete your draft, you should ask for as much feedback from your colleagues as possible. Numerous readers of this section will help you identify the missing links and improve the technical style of this section. For many authors, writing the Results section is more intimidating than writing the Materials and Methods section.

If people are interested in your paper, they are interested in your results. That is why it is vital to use all your writing skills to objectively present your key findings in an orderly and logical sequence using illustrative materials and text.

Your Results should be organized into different segments or subsections where each one presents the purpose of the experiment, your experimental approach, data including text and visuals tables, figures, schematics, algorithms, and formulas , and data commentary.

For most journals, your data commentary will include a meaningful summary of the data presented in the visuals and an explanation of the most significant findings. This data presentation should not repeat the data in the visuals, but rather highlight the most important points.

However, interpretations gradually and secretly creep into research papers: Another important aspect of this section is to create a comprehensive and supported argument or a well-researched case. This means that you should be selective in presenting data and choose only those experimental details that are essential for your reader to understand your findings. You might have conducted an experiment 20 times and collected numerous records, but this does not mean that you should present all those records in your paper.

You need to distinguish your results from your data and be able to discard excessive experimental details that could distract and confuse the reader. However, creating a picture or an argument should not be confused with data manipulation or falsification, which is a willful distortion of data and results.

If some of your findings contradict your ideas, you have to mention this and find a plausible explanation for the contradiction. In addition, your text should not include irrelevant and peripheral information, including overview sentences, as in 6.

To show our results, we first introduce all components of experimental system and then describe the outcome of infections. Indeed, wordiness convolutes your sentences and conceals your ideas from readers. One common source of wordiness is unnecessary intensifiers.

Another source of wordiness is nominalizations, i. To improve your sentences, avoid unnecessary nominalizations and change passive verbs and constructions into active and direct sentences. Your Results section is the heart of your paper, representing a year or more of your daily research.

So lead your reader through your story by writing direct, concise, and clear sentences. Now that you are almost half through drafting your research paper, it is time to update your outline. While describing your Methods and Results, many of you diverged from the original outline and re-focused your ideas.

So before you move on to create your Introduction, re-read your Methods and Results sections and change your outline to match your research focus. The most common include:. If you are struggling to find a topic you are in luck. The field of medicine is constantly changing which means that new results are surfacing and new findings are yielding even more research questions. Every area of medicine can still grow and improve. That being said there are many medical research topics available.

Cancer treatment especially for blood cancers has improved greatly. This is a field where the disease is increasing. Even now children are showing symptoms of adult diabetes. Students can talk about the genetic factors involved or what techniques can be applied to prevent diabetes.

There is also room to discuss the relationship between heart disease and diabetes for women in high stress jobs. Students can write about whether diet and exercise can help to reverse adult diabetes. Students can write about the waiting time required for a kidney transplant and the effects that long term dialysis has.

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Indeed, writer’s block is a logical fallacy for a scientist ― it is just an excuse to procrastinate. When scientists start writing a research paper, they already have their files with data, lab notes with materials and experimental designs, some visuals, and tables with results.

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List Of Amazing medical topics for research papers When you are writing a medical research paper there are many possible topics. Picking a topic is just one step in a . 1 Structure of a medical research paper: key content elements, writing tips and examples of reporting guidelines from the EQUATOR website Section Key content * Reporting guidelines that provide recommendations on reporting information relating to: Study design / methodology.