Clinical Research

How to Write a Research Paper


The format for this article was taken from a formal research paper. Most scientific journals employ the same conditions, although some will have specifications unique to their own publications. It would be appropriate to copy this format when writing your scientific research paper.

If you are writing for a scientific journal, check their website for downloadable template for the form they require.
Whenever you write for a scientific journal, review these guidelines to ensure accuracy in your submission. Here is a brief list of things to remember when writing a scientific research paper:

  • Use abbreviations only if the full name is exceptionally long, or if the abbreviation is universally accepted as correct and easily recognizable.
  • Do not overlook grammar and punctuation.
  • Stay away from technical jargon.
  • Make sure your information flows logically
  • Use simple sentences.
  • Avoid the passive voice and use first person whenever possible.
  • Ask colleagues to review your writing.

Not all journals will require the same subheadings as in this one. Check with the publisher’s website to see what they expect. The subheadings are used as a guide to help you know what to include so you don’t overlook anything.

After your introduction, a Background subheading will allow you to explain what the popular thought is on your subject. You can offer references to support these statements. You don’t want to get into a discussion on these views, just suggest the reader get more information at the sources you provide.

Give a paragraph or two on the reason for this paper, the problem you attend to in your study.


The first sentence in this section is to clearly state your purpose. Why are you writing this paper? What is the point of your study? This is where you put your unique stamp on the project. Explain how your study is distinctive.



Under the Design subheading you will outline your strategy. Next, you will have to defend your reason for using this approach. Detail the ideal situation for using that strategy.
Discuss the sample group you studied. How large a sample were you able to study? Was it the best size of a sample group? If not, why not?
Was there a time frame associated with your study? If you have several data samples to examine, use a figure to compare groups and evaluations.

In a separate paragraph describe the experiment conditions. Explain any constraints on the control groups.


Describe your participants under the subheading Subjects. You will include how you assembled them. Give details on their standard deviations like gender, weight, age or any other relevant information such as location of residence, urban, rural, etc. Do the above for every subgroup, if applicable.


The Measures subheading is for your explanation of the variables you chose. Itemize the measures you took and illustrate the tests under their own sub-subheading.
If you are using accepted procedures provide sources for the reader to investigate them. If you are employing previously untested procedures, detail enough information for the reader to successfully duplicate the trial.
Outlined here is the accepted procedure for recording measures:
List your dependent variables: Give reasons for choosing these dependent variables.
List your independent variables. Give reasons for choosing these independent variables. When you have repeated measure designs don’t include all the same material. You can include any numeric and minor variations you noticed.
List your mechanism variables. These are variables in repeated-measures designs that you have tested to try to justify the results of the treatment. Give reasons for choosing these mechanism variables.

This is the sub-subheading for the first trial. Depending on your presentation you can put delineated results under sub-subheadings. For instance under Measure 1 you may have diet: exercise: fasting: and so on.

This is the same as the previous sub-subheading;your second trails would go here. You would continue in like manner until you have completed recording all of your trials.

Remember to include the model, maker and location of city and country where made for any equipment used in the study. You should also include any information on testing quantities and how the results were processed to arrive at the conclusions.


This is where you will tell which program or statistical package used to analyze the data. Complete this section with the following or acomparable paragraph:
We have used means and standard deviations to represent the average and typical spread of values of variables. We have shown the precision of our estimates of outcome statistics as 95% confidence limits (which define the likely range of the true value in the population from which we drew our sample). The p values shown represent the probability of a more extreme absolute value than the observed value of the effect if the true value of the effect was zero or null. Statistically significant effects are those for which the zero or null value of the effect lies outside the 95% confidence interval (i.e., p < 0.05).


The usual separation of the Results and Discussion sections makes them challenging to read.


This is the place to report on the validity of your measurements. Were you able to set the exact environment for your study? Were your dependent variables repeatable? Examine these questions about each aspect of your trial.
If you discovered any secondary procedural findings you can also record those here, using sub-subheadings.


Sum up the span of values between subjects with the standard deviation, not with the standard error of the mean. Display the accuracy of your estimates of outcomes with confidence limits. Stay away from p values, statistical significance, null hypotheses, type I errors, and type II errors.

Immediately review each result. In a qualitative way, interpret the magnitude of each outcome.Use your experience of the magnitudes that matter in this area of individual undertaking and any published scales of magnitudes. You have to analyze your findings compared to the 95% confidence limits. For instance, if you recorded a moderate effect, but that the true value of the effect might be anywhere between marginal and very intense.

In the unlikely event that it is easier to show p values than confidence limits, show the exact p value to one significant digit (for p < 0.1) or two decimal places (for p > 0.10). Do not use p < 0.05 or p > 0.05. Examples: p = 0.03; p = 0.007; p = 0.09; p = 0.74. Do not give values of test statistics (F, t, etc.).

Display results using figures and notin tables or text. Check that you are not repeating data in your figures. Place figures just beneath the paragraph in which they are featured.


Will your findings apply to people with the same characteristics as your study group outside of your test environment? What if they have different characteristics?
Address the ability to generalize your findings in a statement that compares your test group to the general population or other differentiated populations.Close with what the next steps will be in this research. Be specific.


This is where you thank anyone who helped you in preparing and executing your study, acknowledging what they contributed to your work. If you received funding for your work, list the sources here, as well.


Because there are so many different styles for listing references and citing sources, you should follow the style accepted by the journal for which you are writing.

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