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Why the medical research paper structure is important

Medical Paper Writing: Why the Paper Structure is Important?

The purpose of writing a medical research paper is not only to tell the world about your research. It is to go beyond the mere presentation of facts and thoughts. You must reach out to the readers in a way that communicates your research effectively and helps them understand the issues at hand.

There’s no point in writing a research paper if the readers can’t take away the most important message or the message you want to convey through your medical paper.

Why have good manuscript structures?

As the saying goes, “A badly written paper is equivalent to not writing it at all”. The readers do not just read, but also interpret from your paper. Thus, to convey your information clearly to the readers, it’s important that it’s structured well. Otherwise, the readers won’t be able to understand your point or may take away a wrong message.

Medical paper writing: The essential elements of its structure

Here we present the basic components of a well-structured medical manuscript with the essence and contents of each element:

1) Introduction (What are you studying and why)

This section to let the readers understand why you undertook a particular study.

DOs and DON’Ts:

  • Use a simple and layman language which the readers can understand.
  • There must be a logical reason for undertaking your study. State this reason by providing a background of the problem you aim to resolve through research. Cite the studies to support your arguments.
  • Summarise the current knowledge on the topic, citing appropriate studies.
  • Explain how your research will contribute to the field or advance the current knowledge.
  • State the research question clearly.
  • Explain the theory behind your research study.
  • Don’t review all the published studies on the topic. Only cite the relevant ones.

2) Methods (What and how did you do)

This section describes the methods of experiment you followed to arrive at your conclusion. However, a well-conducted research is always replicable. This means that another researcher can reproduce the results by following the methods described in your medical paper.

DOs and DON’Ts:

  • Write full details of all the methods, techniques, instruments, and the lab settings.
  • Give a diagram of the experimental setup.
  • Specify the questionnaire, survey, or other data collection instruments
  • Cite the studies that support the validity and reliability of the used methods and instruments.
  • Explain the analysis methods and why you chose them
  • Don’t exclude any important detail to just avoid writing a lengthy description of methods.

3) Results (What did you find)

It includes the outcome of your study. Start with the most significant findings first followed by the less important ones.

DOs and DON’Ts:

  • Describe the actual findings rather than generalisations.
  • Use tables and figures where necessary
  • Describe any unexpected or surprising results in the text
  • Give an easy and comprehensible interpretation of the results rather than simply stating the statistical data
  • Don’t include detailed descriptions of the results illustrated by figures and tables

4) Discussion (Meaning of your findings)

A good discussion describes each of the findings with their broader implications, and how they can be generalized to derive a conclusion stated in the introduction.

DOs and DON’Ts:

  • State whether your hypothesis was supported by any references
  • Explain what the results imply
  • Relate your findings to the previous studies in the domain; whether your findings support or contradict the previous studies
  • Explain how your study adds to what is already known.
  • If there are any alternative explanations for the results, mention them.
  • Brief about the limitations of the study, if any
  • Don’t simply repeat the results
  • Don’t draw any conclusion that is not supported by the data

5) Conclusion (What you learn from the study)

Finally, state the main conclusions of your study. The readers must be able to understand what you did, how you did, and how you arrived at your conclusion.

DOs and DON’Ts:

  • Explain what you’ve learned from the study. The conclusion must be directly related to the research question posed in the Introduction.
  • Explain the broader implications of your research.
  • Suggest future avenues of research to advance the knowledge gained from the study or answer questions your study could not address.
  • Don’t write any conclusion that the research doesn’t really support.

Final words 

A paper is not only for the scientific audience, even a general reader reads it. A good author is aware of this and structures his paper in a manner that every reader, even those with little or no knowledge of the field can understand what he did and why.

A good writer keeps his audience and their variety in mind while writing his paper. He structures it so that the readers know what to expect under different sections of the medical manuscript.

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