Kiswahili Institute

How to write medical research papers: advanced techniques

Writing a medical research paper is very much the same as writing any other research paper except that you cite your sources according to the American Medical Association’s style guide. The rest is standard: write in a concise and organized manner. Your conclusions should be presented with clear and strong arguments and evidence.

A few suggestions that may help you write your medical research paper:

  1. Topic Selection: The most important and usually the most difficult part of writing a research paper is topic selection. Most students have an idea of what they want to write about but it is usually vague. You can narrow it down by going through published work on the area and seeing what has been explored and what interests you. Your supervisor may be able to help you. However, beware, sometimes the supervisor will not consider your interest and push you in the direction of his own preferences.
  2. Type of Research: After you have chosen your topic, you have to decide whether you will do an original research or write a synthesis. A synthesis leans on previous work. You study the researches done on the subject, analyze them, and suggest future research on the base of strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of previous works. If you decide to do an original research, it will entail collecting data on the premise of a hypothesis, analyzing that data and reaching conclusions based on your empirical work.
  3. Background Work: You should read articles, previous researches, and websites about your topic and complete your research with referring to your sources. Citing weak sources or failing to mention them is not going to make for a strong research paper. Note down all the sources you use in your research and list them clearly.
  4. Headings: Most people find it useful to write the headings first so that the structure of the paper is formed first, and then fill in the content.
  5. Writing the Content: You should have an idea of how long the paper is going to be and how long each section will be. 10-20 pages are the norm unless otherwise specified by your department.
  6. Cover: Clearly state the title of your research, your name, the date of submission and your supervisor’s name.
  7. Write an abstract to highlight what the research paper contains.
  8. Write an introduction. It should not be too lengthy and must contain the reason for the study, parameters of study and limitations and scope of the study.
  9. Sections: Divide the body of your research in sections e.g. hypothesis, literature review etc.
  10. Conclusion
  11. References
  12. Sources: Cite according to the American Medical Association’s style guidelines.
  13. Review: check for mistakes. Edit the paper yourself or ask a colleague or your professor if they are willing to go over it with you.



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