How to write a primary data manuscript for a medical journal

Here I explain the format of the medical journal article, how it should look. Content, which is data, is explained elsewhere.

The most important thing in writing manuscripts is following the process exactly.  A medical journal article follows a rigid formula, which exists to tell the reader why, how, when, where the study was done, what happened when it was done, and what can be learned from what was found.

  • Do the research first
  • Organize the data into tables and figures
  • Write the methods section, giving only the methods you needed to prepare the results.
      • first set of paragraphs: explain the experimental animal, the population of humans, the plants,
      • second set of paragraphs: explain your search strategies, experimental or observational techniques, and how you measured something physiological
      • third set of paragraphs: explain how you prepared your analyses, including statistical
        Write the results section

        Explain the results that are in the tables and figures and any other results that did not become part of a table or figure

        Write the abstract

        An abstract is a manuscript with the juice squeezed out: it has all the structure you need to see what was done, how, and why, but it doesn’t give you enough information for you to decide whether the conclusions are born out by the data.

        • introductory sentence
        • 1-3 methods sentences
        • 1-3 results sentences
        • 1 conclusion sentence
          Write the INtroduction

          Take the introductory sentence and expand it into a short paragraph, to explain why you did the study.

          Add a second paragraph, explaining where the study fits in the literature.

          Add a third paragraph, introducing what you did in the study.

          The introductory sentences explain why the study was done, and you have to give good reasons. Because no-one did it before is not a reason, and stating that uses precious space that could be better used to explain your argument.

          Write the discussion

          The first paragraph explains the conclusions from the data you presented in Results.
          The second sets of paragraphs explain how the data fit in the literature.
          The final paragraph is a conclusion.

How to prepare a primary data manuscript for a medical journal. SJ Dodgson MJoTA 2017 v11n1p0118

Contact Dr Dodgson: drdodgson@medicalwritinginstitute.us

Published by

Susanna Dodgson

The Medical Writing Institute is a boutique school for training health and life science professionals in the art of medical writing and editing. The Institute invites professionals whose need help with their manuscripts, presentations and documents to hire our certified medical writers. The director, Dr Susanna J Dodgson, has been teaching medical writing since 2004, and life sciences since the 1970s, and really wants health science information to be properly presented. Because inaccurate health information kills.

Leave a Reply