Preparing an Original Article
To select a study topic for original research, you may wish to consider research involvement from your own experiences:
- Special study modules
- Summer elective research experience
- Research at Trinity or other academic institutions (e.g. clinical research in areas such as psychiatry, obstetrics, gynaecology, paediatrics, community health and general practice)
You may also wish to conduct a basic research study in other areas of personal interest, for which you originate and develop an original research study, with a clinical goal in mind.
It may be helpful to consult previous editions of the TSMJ or other publications to familiarise yourself with the structure/content of an original research article.
Such articles should be no more than 2500 words in length excluding text in boxes, figure legends. There should be no more than 30 references (where possible).
The title should correctly represent the content and breadth of the study reported and should not be misleading.
For example: “A comparative evaluation of Propofol-Ketamine and Propofol-Fentanyl in minor surgery”.
- On reading the above title, we are unable to identify the content and breadth of the study – whether dosage, duration, efficiency, or sequelae of two groups are studied; whether they are studied only as induction agents or as sole anaesthetic agents; in what group of patients they are tested. We should be able to determine this kind of relevant information from the title of a research article.
- The title should be clear, concise, and informative. It should contain key words that capture the attention of the reader. No abbreviations are used in the title. The decision to read an article often rests on the appeal of its title.
A more appropriate title may be: “A comparative evaluation of the efficiency of Propofol-Ketamine and Propofol-Fentanyl combinations as sole anaesthetic agents in patients undergoing minor ambulatory gynaecological operations”.
Designation, degree, affiliation and address of all authors are to be clearly indicated, with additional details such as telephone number and/or email address of the corresponding author.
The abstract should cover each and every component of the study in no more than 200 words. It should state the purpose of the study or investigation, basic procedures (e.g. selection of study subjects, methodology, statistical analysis), study results (e.g. main findings, statistical significance), and the principal conclusions and implications.
- Should contain precise information and should not contain abbreviations.
- The possible implications of the results obtained should be considered and highlighted.
- It is generally best and easiest to write the abstract last!
- The goal or purpose of the study is to be clearly stated, with detailed information about the problem studied and the specific research question/hypothesis.
- Four or five pertinent publications should be presented and critiqued. Do not review the literature extensively. No data or conclusions are to be reported.
- The pertinence of the study is presented in relation to the current theories and methods associated with the problem. Existing gaps in knowledge or conflicting data are to be highlighted.
- A general overview of the study is presented in the introduction, which serves to provide the reader with an outline for the sections that follow.
Materials and Methods
- Selection of the study subjects must be described clearly. Inclusion and exclusion criteria are to be mentioned along with method of allocation to groups. **All participants must be properly consented and no identifying information is to be included in the study.
- The research design is to be described in detail. The research design is the plan that is chosen to answer the research question. The methods, apparatus and procedures are to be identified in sufficient detail to allow other workers to reproduce the results, if necessary.
- Methods of error elimination such as blinding, introduction of a control group and placebo, randomisation etc. are to be mentioned distinctly.
- The measurement instrument (including its psychometric qualities, if applicable) is described clearly. The psychometric qualities include validity, reliability, objectivity and precision. An example of the instrument should be given in the text or in an appendix.
- The data collection procedure is to be clearly described.
- The data analysis procedures are stated in precise terms.
- The setting in which the study took place is described. This information is useful to the reader in deciding whether results can be applied to his/her setting.
- Identify precisely all drugs and chemicals used, including generic names, doses and routes of administration.
- Give references for all the methods used in the study including statistical methods.
- Present your results in a logical sequence in text, tables, figures and illustrations. Do not repeat in the text all the data in the tables or figures. Highlight the important data and accurately refer to the figures provided.
- Emphasise or summarise important observations/findings. ** The results section should contain only the study findings, and does not offer opinions or discussion about these findings.
- All the subjects included in the study should be accounted for. There should not be any hesitation in reporting any negative or unexpected result – do not leave out study results which you weren’t expecting to find!
- The discussion provides the opportunity to discuss all the data from the results section, with an emphasis on the implications of these findings and their limitations.
- The discussion should cover all the debatable aspects of the study. It can go beyond the results obtained and can cover methodological and other critical issues.
- Relate the study observations/findings to other relevant studies from your literature review. Emphasise similarities and/or conflicts.
- The new and important aspects of the study and the conclusions drawn are to be emphasised.
- Scope and need for future additional research is to be discussed.
- The discussion should not be misused as a platform to state opinions. Readers should not be side-tracked into another topic.
- Link conclusions with the goals of the study. Avoid unqualified statements and conclusions not supported by your data.
- The conclusions and practical outcomes of the study should be commensurate with the design used and results obtained. Conclusions and recommendations made should not go beyond the limits of the study conducted, i.e. should not over-generalize from the design and sample used.
- State new hypotheses when warranted. Recommendations when appropriate may be included.
- Titles and subheadings should be in bold and in 24pt and 16pt font size respectively. The remainder of the text including author names, references and figure legends should be in size 12 font. Any standard font is acceptable e.g. Times New Roman.
- A single clear paragraph space should be left between each title and its text, between each paragraph and between the end of a paragraph and a new heading.
Figures and Tables
- We highly encourage the inclusion of figures, photos, illustrations and tables. Please make sure you are not in breach of copyright. We encourage authors to make their own figures (where possible to respect copyright laws) using PowerPoint and freely available biomedical image banks like Servier Medical Art.
- Please ensure they are fully labelled with accompanying legends at the end of the manuscript after the references section.
Articles referenced in the text should be cited using APA/Harvard referencing by name and year e.g. (Quinn and Hamilton, 2014) when there are two or less authors or (Quinn et al, 2014) if there are more than two authors.
In the references section we ask that references are listed in alphabetical order as bullet points. Our referencing style is in the APA format an example of which is as follows:
Hiraiwa, K., Elliott, M., Hogg, J. C., & Van Eeden, S. F. (2015). Effect Of Statins On The Retention Of Ambient Particulate Matters (pm) In COPD. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 191, A5804.
References in this style can be found by clicking on the ‘cite’ button under the article you wish to reference on the search results page on Google Scholar.
This section is to acknowledge the work of anyone who contributed with the research but who is not listed as an author. This section comes after the conclusion.
Conflict of Interest Statement
We request that all authors declare whether there are any personal or financial or other factors that may have influenced their work. If there are no such factors, then please declare no conflicting interests after the acknowledgements section and before the references.
Publishing Agreement and Patient Confidentiality
A publishing agreement must be signed and completed by all authors as well as a declaration that informed consent was gained for any patient cases and for all materials that may allow for patient identification. The document can be downloaded by following this link: http://tsmj.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Publishing-agreement.docx