5. How to write a research paper

Reporting statistical methods and analyses

Learning outcomes:
➔ Report statistical methods and analyses clearly
➔ Follow the Statistical Analyses and Methods in the Published Literature (SAMPL) guidelines on reporting statistics
➔ Better understand journal resources and policies on statistical methods
➔ Learn from examples of good reporting.

The results: reporting all findings succinctly

Learning outcomes:
➔ Why the results section is less important than you think
➔ How to report study results accurately and fully
➔ Pitfalls of reporting results on associations and risks
➔ How to use reporting guidelines for the results of different study types
➔ Using tables and figures
➔ Using supplemental files
➔ Options for data sharing.

Scientific transparency: the pitfalls of selective reporting

Learning outcomes:
➔ Why selective reporting of research is wasteful and unethical
➔ How research waste is bad for health
➔ Why clinical trial registration is so important
➔ How to make research reproducible
➔ What we can all do to make research more transparent: research funders and governments; ethics committees; drug, devices, and diagnostics industries; journals; authors.

The discussion: using structure and balance

Learning outcomes:
➔ Understand the purpose of the discussion section
➔ Understand the elements of a structured discussion
➔ Appreciate the need for a balanced, self critical discussion
➔ Discuss the results of “negative studies” and observational studies
➔ Explain what was known, and what the study’s results add
➔ Use evidence based, effective writing to interpret the results and recommend next steps

Optimising the abstract and title

Learning outcomes:
➔ Why abstracts of research papers must be accurate and clear
➔ How to use international, evidence based guidelines on preparing abstracts for different study designs
➔ How to report the PICO elements of a study in the abstract
➔ How to write an informative, effective title for a research paper .

Quick refresher:

  • The introduction: presenting the research question
  • The methods: matching study designs to research questions
  • Ethics aspects of study methods