how to write an abstract (Chest 2006;129:1375)
How to write a paper. Martin Tobin, Maywood, USA
Start with figures and tables; than results and discussion, followed by introduction and as last part the abstract. Title comes even after that.
The most difficult part is getting the structure right; have a plan as you start.
Know the audience you write for, and realize that reviewers can be the colleagues who you mentioned in the references.
Avoid tiresome detail, but give enough information so others can repeat your work.
Start with figures and tables. Dont repeat data from the tables in the text.
Introduction: <450 words; give a sound rationale for the paper.
Look at papers from successful authors.
Find a niche; establish that niche, occupy that niche.
When writing a discussion, stay focused on your OWN results. Start the discussion with stating the key findings. End up with a summary. In conclusion: the big So What
Conclusion is completion by return. Move now from particular to general. Bring the story full circle. Its an esthetic sense of symmetry. Never say that we need more studies. The last sentence is the most difficult to write.
Facing the blank page of beginning is daunting. Writing is a craft, not an art. You need to start writing, not reading. Practice, practice, practice. Do not read more; start writing. Imitate through reading. Write the first draft as quickly as possible. Free flwo of ideas.
Good scientific writing: brief, clear, and simple. Brevity is rarely a vice, never a fault, too many words is always a blemish.
By cutting out words, you can make it more clear and sharp.
Tobin gave some very entertaining examples.
The only window of your research is your paper: the quality of your paper reflects the quality of your research.
Good writing is re-writing. Secret of re-writing is rethinking. Fix structure first, then work on style. Writing is difficult; you need to work hard to get it right.
Write because you have something to say, not because you want to say something.
How to revise a paper. Laurent Brochard, Creteil, France
Publishing of a paper is a two-step process; a paper always needs a revision.
Make clear what you think and make simple what you say.
Respond to all points raised in the reviews.
The goal is improve the manuscript, not to argue with the editors.
Take reviewers seriously. Make sure that your revised paper is better.
There are papers from Hoppen (AJRCCM) and Brochard (ICM) on the topic of reviewing.
Preparing Manuscripts for online submission (Chest 2006;129:822-825)
How to caption images (CHEST June 2009 vol. 135 no. 6 1688-1691 )