Preeti Malani is professor of medicine at the University of Michigan.
Prior to medical school, she completed a master’s degree at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and is currently an associate editor at PM: My path to medicine has been nontraditional and somewhat serendipitous.
Different sections are needed in different types of scientific papers (lab reports, literature reviews, systematic reviews, methods papers, research papers, etc.). The goal is to communicate: A good introduction is not the same as an abstract. A good methods section gives enough detail that another scientist could reproduce or replicate your results.
Projects that overlap with the social sciences or humanities may have different requirements. Where the abstract summarizes your paper, the introduction justifies your project and lets readers know what to expect. You conducted an extensive literature review, so that you can give readers just the relevant information. • Use very specific language, similar to a recipe in a cookbook.
The results section should be written in past tense.
• Make figures and tables clearly labelled and easy to read.I went home that night and began typing up my application to medical school.PM: Yes, especially after I was accepted to medical school early in the year.My interest in journalism dates back to high school. This left an opening in my schedule, so I decided to take journalism as an additional class.It’s a long story, but the quick version is that my ninth-grade algebra teacher refused to sign a waiver that would have allowed me to double up on math the following year. This seemingly random decision changed the trajectory of my entire life. Do the abstract last, so you know exactly what you want to write. Try summarizing each of the sections of your paper in a sentence two.His family had made the decision to donate his organs for transplantation.As I interviewed his grieving parents, I remember feeling extremely uncomfortable intruding on this poor family and maybe adding to their pain.Generally, however, you'll need to include: TITLE ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION (Background) METHODS SECTION (Materials and Methods) RESULTS DISCUSSION What is a title Titles have two functions: to identify the main topic or the message of the paper and to attract readers. Only a few will read the entire paper, therefore all words in the title should be chosen with care. • If something is not standard (equipment, method, chemical compound, statistical analysis), then describe it. • Subheadings should follow guidelines of a style (APA, Vancouver, etc.) or journal (journals will specify these in their "for authors" section).Too short a title is not helpful to the potential reader. For medical education writing, refer to the AMA Manual of Style.