Getting published in scientific, impact factor journals



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Getting published in scientific, impact factor journals

  • Kathleen Fahy PhD, RM, FACM
  • Editor in Chief of Women and Birth: The Journal of the Australian College of Midwifery
  • Professor of Midwifery, Southern Cross University, Gold Coast Campus

Aim

  • To enable beginning researchers/writers to have the well-founded confidence to submit their scientific articles to impact factor journals and complete dissertations that will pass first time.
  • Monday, 8 May 2017

Objectives

  • To enable participants to:
    • Apply the skills of good scientific essay writing; argument and evidence, clarity, brevity, structure, flow, coherence;
    • Write compelling introductions, conclusions and structured abstracts;
    • Write a research paper using the AIMRDC structure;
    • write a research paper that conforms to reporting guidelines approved by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Key Elements of Good Scientific Writing

    • Have an argument: (hypothesis, thesis)
    • Use evidence to support your argument
    • Achieve clarity & brevity with:
      • careful and consistent word choice
      • short sentences with subject first
      • Clear and logical structure, flow
      • Coherence and avoidance of extraneous ideas or data
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Word Choices

  • Accuracy
    • Define your key terms
    • Choose precise words and use the same word consistently each time
  • Brevity
    • Use the fewest words possible
  • Clarity
    • Use simple words so that an educated reader can understand you
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Accuracy in Word Choices

  • Word
  • Definition
  • Example
  • Affect (noun)
  • To act upon or to influence
  • The environment negatively affected the wellbeing
  • Effect (verb)
  • The result of a cause
  • Failure to progress is an effect of an epidural
  • Practise (verb)
  • To do repeatedly in order to gain a skill
  • The practise of midwifery
  • Practice (noun)
  • The exercise of a profession
  • Midwifery practice
  • Its (possessive pronoun)
  • Nursing has its problems
  • It’s (contraction)
  • It’s = it is
  • It’s a lovely day today
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Simplicity in Word Choices

  • Poor Word Choices
  • Better Word Choices
  • Utilised
  • Used
  • Acquired
  • Got
  • Ascertained
  • Made sure
  • Subsequent
  • Next
  • Voluminous
  • Large, full, big
  • Remainder
  • Rest
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Scientific Sentences

  • A sentence is a group of words about a single idea, which contains a least one subject and at least one verb.
  • Scientific sentences are short. The subject of the sentence comes first.
  • Jesus wept. (The shortest sentence in the Bible).
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Write Short Sentences

  • Poor Sentence
  • When tobacco smoke is inhaled it takes 10-20 seconds for nicotine to be delivered to the central nervous system via the arterial circulation.
  • Improved Sentence
  • Nicotine takes 10—20 seconds to reach the brain after inhalation.
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Why Improved?

  • Poor Sentence
  • When tobacco smoke (not the main subject) is inhaled it takes 10-20 seconds for nicotine to be delivered (passive verb) to the central nervous system via the arterial circulation.
  • Improved Shorter Sentence
  • Nicotine (main subject) takes 10—20 seconds to reach (active verb, simple language) the brain after inhalation.
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Use Active (not passive) Voice

  • In the active voice the subject names the actor
  • Example: Passive
  • Participants under aged 14, who did not get parental consent, were not recruited.
  • Improved: Active
  • I decided not to recruit participants under age 14 unless they had parental consent.
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Characteristics of Good Paragraphs

  • Paragraph begins with a topic sentence (i.e. the main idea) and the paragraph has:
  • Unity: Each sentence is on the topic of the paragraph.
  • Coherence: The relationship between the sentences is clear and logical.
  • Development: The main idea of the paragraph is well supported with specific evidence, examples and details.
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Paragraphs

  • Organisation
    • Topic sentence appears first and gives the overview
    • Supporting sentences give details in logical order
    • Use transition words to link paragraphs
  • Length
    • Paragraphs should be a minimum of 3 sentences
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

What is wrong with this paragraph?

  • Women who have an episiotomy more frequently report painful intercourse and marital problems six months after birth. Compared to women who had a 1st or 2nd degree tear, episiotomy is associated with higher rates of perineal trauma in subsequent births. Episiotomy is associated with long-term morbidity. Urinary incontinence is preventable.
  • Problems
    • Topic sentence is 2nd last
    • Last sentence is not related to the topic of the paragraph
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Improved Paragraph

  • Episiotomy is associated with long-term morbidity. Compared to women who had a 1st or 2nd degree tear, episiotomy is associated with higher rates of perineal trauma in subsequent births. Women who had an episiotomy were more likely to report painful intercourse and ongoing marital problems six months after birth.
  • Better because:
    • Topic sentence first and gives overview
    • Supporting sentences give detail and support
    • All sentences relate to the topic sentence
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Generic Structure of Scientific Paper: AIMRDC

  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth
  • References
  • ICMJE (2013) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals. Available at: www.icmje.org Accessed September 8th, 2013.
  • Cargill, M. O’Connor, P. (2009) Writing Scientific Research Articles: Strategy and Steps. Wiley-Blackburn. West Sussex, UK

Requirements for Reporting Different Types of Studies

  • Study Type
  • Reporting Requirements
  • Randomised Controlled Trial
  • CONSORT - Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials http://www.equator-network.org/index.aspx?o=1032
  • Quasi-experimental
  • TREND - Transparent Reporting of Evaluations with Non-randomized Designs http://www.equator-network.org/index.aspx?o=1032
  • Observational cohort, case control and cross sectional studies
  • STROBE - Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology http://www.equator-network.org/index.aspx?o=1032
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Research Abstracts

  • Background (context)
  • Purpose (aim or question)
  • Methods (participants, setting, data collection and analysis)
  • Results (main findings, statistical significance, effect size)
  • Discussion/Conclusion (clinical significance, recommendations, limitations)
  • NB: Abstract must accurately reflect the content of the article
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Effective Introductions to Research Papers

  • Write in a way that Takes to Reader from General to Specific, from the Known to the Unknown
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Elements of Effective Introductions to Research Articles

    • Problem and broad context for present study
    • What is already known
    • Need for present study made clear
    • Purpose/Aim or Question for present study
    • Define key terms
    • Optional justification for the present study
  • NB Cite only directly relevant research. Do not report data or results from present study.
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Methods Section of Research Paper

  • Purpose: to demonstrate that the methods were scientifically rigorous and thus give confidence that the results of the study are credible.
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Methods Sections (Generic)

    • Selection and Description of Participants
    • Clearly describe the source population
    • Describe recruitment methods
    • Provide a statement of ethical approval
    • State (and justify) the eligibility and exclusion criteria
    • provide descriptive data about relevant demographic variables
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Methods Section (Generic)

    • Technical Information
    • Specify the study’s main and secondary objectives or outcomes
    • Identify methods, equipment and procedures in sufficient detail to allow readers to evaluate methodological rigour
    • Reference established methods and provide brief descriptions and references for newer methods
    • give the reasons for using the chosen methods
    • Identify or describe precisely all drugs or human delivered interventions
    • Identify methodological limitations.
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Methods Section (Generic)

  • Statistical Methods
    • Describe in enough detail for reader to be able judge credibility
    • Reference credible sources for methods of collection and analysis
    • Define statistical terms, abbreviations, and most symbols
    • Specify the statistical software package(s) and versions used
    • Use statistical methods which convey important information about effect size and precision of estimates
    • Distinguish pre-specified from exploratory analyses
    • When possible, quantify findings and present appropriate indicators of measurement error (e.g. confidence intervals)
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Results (Generic)

  • Only report results relevant to the hypothesis/question in your Introduction
  • Data are facts (numbers); they cannot stand alone
  • Results are the meaning of the data; they must be stated
  • Most data belong in figures, graphs and tables
  • Present data after stating the results they support
  • Statistics belong with data and therefore should (mostly) be in the figures, graphs and tables
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Results (Generic)

  • Emphasize only the most important results in text
  • Provide data on all primary and secondary outcomes (mentioned in your methods section)
  • Put supplementary materials in an appendix (online)
  • Give numeric results, not just derivatives (e.g. parentages)
  • Specify how derivatives were calculated, and their statistical significance
  • Restrict tables and figures to those needed to explain the argument
  • Use graphs as an alternative to tables; do not duplicate data
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Discussion/Conclusion

  • Purpose: “To emphasise the new and important aspects of the study and the conclusions that follow from them in the context of the totality of the best available evidence”.
  • ICMJE, (2013) p.14
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Discussion/Conclusion (Generic)

  • Briefly summarise the main findings
  • Then explore possible explanations
  • Then compare and contrast your results with results from relevant studies
  • Link the conclusions to the aim/s of your study
  • Ensure all claims are adequately supported by the data
  • Distinguish between clinical and statistical significance
  • Make recommendations (research, practice, theory)
  • Avoid referring to work-in-progress
  • Be appropriately understated (Avoid boasting)
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

References

  • The Vancouver style of referencing (superscript numbers) is used predominantly in the medical/health journals, including Women and Birth.
  • Primary Source
  • Patrias K. Citing medicine: the NLM style guide for authors, editors, and publishers [Internet]. 2nd ed. Wendling DL, technical editor. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2007 - [updated 2011 Sep 15; cited 10th September, 2013]. Available from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/citingmedicine
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Main Reasons Articles Rejected

  • PROBLEM
  • SOLUTION
  • Novelty not explained
  • Show how your results are different from current knowledge
  • Results not explained
  • Make the meaning of results clear
  • Too many results
  • Communicates only to a specialist audience
  • Communicate to an audience including students and journalists
  • Misuse of abbreviations
  • Do not use abbreviations
  • Does not conform to journal requirements
  • Follow the guide for authors to the letter
  • Outside the scope of the journal
  • Select the correct journal by reading Aims and Scope
  • Poor scientific writing
  • Follow guidelines for writing (Fahy, 2008 a & b) and this PowerPoint and/or my references
  • Poor English
  • Use a professional English editor
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth

Good Writing is Hard Work

  • Experienced, well published authors still take weeks and months to write and refine their papers.
  • Expect 10-20 drafts to be written before you have achieved:
    • Strong clear, focused argument
    • Good use of evidence/examples to support your augment
    • Brevity
    • Accuracy/consistency of word choices
    • Explained the novelty and value of your contribution in relation to existing best-evidence
  • Monday, 8 May 2017
  • Kathleen Fahy Editor Women and Birth


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