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Practical Tips for Academic Writing: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Title, Abstract, and Odds and Ends

Writing academic scientific papers can be difficult.  Much like any skill, it requires baseline knowledge, deliberate practice, and intermittent reflection and improvement.  The most common structure for scientific papers is the IMRaD model—Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion.  In this series of podcasts we will try to delve into each of these sections, provide some educational theory, possible structured approaches, practical tips for success, and pitfalls to avoid in order to help you become a better more thoughtful academic writer.


Practical Tips for Academic Writing: Title, Abstract, and Odds and Ends

In this podcast we’ll conclude the Academic Writing series by discussing the Title and Abstract of a scientific paper—its importance, suggested components and structure, things to avoid, and end with some other general odds and ends regarding academic writing for completeness.

 

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References:

Title and Abstract Section:

  1. Alspach, J. G. (2017). Writing for Publication 101: Why the Abstract Is So Important. Crit Care Nurse, 37(4), 12-15.

  2. Anstey, A. (2014). Writing style: what's in a title? Br J Dermatol, 170(5), 1003-1004.

  3. Cals, J. W., & Kotz, D. (2013). Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part II: title
    and abstract. J Clin Epidemiol, 66(6), 585.

  4. Dewan, P., & Gupta, P. (2016). Writing the Title, Abstract and Introduction: Looks Matter!
    Indian Pediatr, 53(3), 235-241.

  5. Tullu, M. S. (2019). Writing the title and abstract for a research paper: Being concise, precise, and meticulous is the key. Saudi J Anaesth, 13(Suppl 1), S12-S17.


Practical Tips for Academic Writing: the Discussion Section

In this podcast we’ll discuss the Discussion Section of the IMRaD model—its importance as the “heart of the paper”, provide practical tips on suggested components and structure, and end with some general tips for success and caveats to avoid.

 

*If you are unable to play the podcast please click here to download the file.

 

References:

Discussion Section:

  1. Bagga, A. (2016). Discussion: The Heart of the Paper. Indian Pediatr, 53(10), 901-904.

  2. Cals, J. W., & Kotz, D. (2013). Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part VI: discussion. J Clin Epidemiol, 66(10), 1064.

  3. Conn, V. S. (2017). How to Craft a Strong Discussion Section. West J Nurs Res, 39(5), 607-608.

  4. CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) 2010 Checklist: http://www.consort-statement.org/

  5. Hofler, M., Venz, J., Trautmann, S., & Miller, R. (2018). Writing a discussion section: how to integrate substantive and statistical expertise. BMC Med Res Methodol, 18(1), 34.

  6. Jawaid, S. A., & Jawaid, M. (2019). How to write introduction and discussion. Saudi J Anaesth, 13(Suppl 1), S18-S19.

  7. Kearney, M. H. (2017). The Discussion Section Tells Us Where We Are. Res Nurs Health, 40(4), 289-291.

  8. Masic, I. (2018). How to Write an Efficient Discussion? Med Arch, 72(4), 306-307.

  9. Ng, K. H., & Peh, W. C. (2009). Writing the discussion. Singapore Med J, 50(5), 458-460.

  10. STROBE (Strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology) checklists for observational studies: https://www.strobe-statement.org/index.php?id=available-checklists


Practical Tips for Academic Writing: the Results Section

In this podcast we’ll discuss the Results Section of the IMRaD model—its place within the paper, provide some practical tips on structure and necessary components, discuss practical use of tables and figures, and end with some general tips for success.

 

*If you are unable to play the podcast please click here to download the file.

 

References:

Results Section:

  1. Kotz, D., & Cals, J. W. (2013). Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part V:
    results. J Clin Epidemiol, 66(9), 945.

  2. Mukherjee, A., & Lodha, R. (2016). Writing the Results. Indian Pediatr, 53(5), 409-415.

  3. Ng, K. H., & Peh, W. C. (2008). Writing the results. Singapore Med J, 49(12), 967-968

  4. Wagner, P. D. (2009). Writing up your research results for publication. Chest, 136(2), 639-
    642.


Practical Tips for Academic Writing:  the Methods Section

In this podcast we'll discuss the Methods Section of the IMRaD model, provide an understanding of its overall importance and place within the paper, some practical tips on structure and necessary components, and end with some tips for success.

 

*If you are unable to play the podcast please click here to download the file.

 

References:

Methods Section:

  1. Arora, S. K., & Shah, D. (2016). Writing Methods: How to Write What You Did? Indian Pediatr, 53(4), 335-340.

  2. Azevedo, L. F., Canario-Almeida, F., Almeida Fonseca, J., Costa-Pereira, A., Winck, J. C., & Hespanhol, V. (2011). How to write a scientific paper--writing the methods section. Rev Port Pneumol, 17(5), 232-238.

  3. Kotz, D., & Cals, J. W. (2013). Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part IV: methods. J Clin Epidemiol, 66(8), 817.

  4. Ng, K. H., & Peh, W. C. (2008). Writing the materials and methods. Singapore Med J, 49(11), 856-858

  5. Reporting Guidelines for Main Study Types.  Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research (EQUATOR Network).  www.equator-network.org.

  6. Stenson, J. F., Foltz, C., Lendner, M., & Vaccaro, A. R. (2018). How to Write an Effective Materials and Methods Section for Clinical Studies. Clin Spine Surg.

  7. Veale, B. L., & Moore, Q. T. (2016). Writing a Methods Section: Detailing Your Approach. Radiol Technol, 88(1), 111-112.


Practical Tips for Academic Writing:  the Introduction Section

In this podcast we'll tackle the Introduction Section of the IMRaD model, provide some practical tips on structure, necessary components, highlight the Problem-Gap-Hook heuristic, and end with some examples from recent papers in major journals.

 

*If you are unable to play the podcast please click here to download the file.

 

References

Introduction Section:

  1. Annesley, T. M. (2010). "It was a cold and rainy night": set the scene with a good introduction. Clin Chem, 56(5), 708-713.

  2. Cals, J. W., & Kotz, D. (2013). Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part III: introduction. J Clin Epidemiol, 66(7), 702.

  3. Dewan, P., & Gupta, P. (2016). Writing the Title, Abstract and Introduction: Looks Matter! Indian Pediatr, 53(3), 235-241.

  4. Foote, M. (2006). How to make a good first impression: a proper introduction. Chest, 130(6), 1935-1937.

  5. Lingard, L. (2015). Joining a conversation: the problem/gap/hook heuristic. Perspect Med Educ, 4(5), 252-253.

  6. Sauaia, A., Moore, E. E., Crebs, J. L., Maier, R. V., Hoyt, D. B., & Shackford, S. R. (2014). The anatomy of an article: title, abstract, and introduction. J Trauma Acute Care Surg, 76(5), 1322-1327.

Last Reviewed: June 2019