Slide 1 - AuthorAID

IADSR International Conference
Lahore, Pakistan
27–29 April 2012
Writing Review Articles
and Case Reports
Barbara Gastel, MD, MPH
AuthorAID at INASP
and Texas A&M University
Writing Review Articles
Review Articles
• Review article—an article summarizing the
literature on a topic
• Popularity of review articles with
– Graduate students
– Practitioners
– People changing research areas
– Others
• High citation rates of some review articles
and review journals
Tips: Preparing to Write
a Review Article
• See whether the journal publishes review
• Consult the journal’s instructions to
• Look at review articles in the journal.
• Check beforehand whether the editor
might be interested.
• Carefully define the scope of the review
Tips: Preparing to Write a
Review Article (cont)
• Search the literature thoroughly and
• Keep a record of your search strategy.
• If possible, obtain help from a librarian
who is an expert in literature searching.
• Perhaps have criteria for including articles.
• Consider recording information on
standardized forms.
• Consider using bibliographic software.
Two Structures for Review Articles
• Subtopic-by-Subtopic (with a subheading
for each)
• Modified IMRAD—for example, for a
“systematic review article”
– Introduction
– Methods used to search and analyze the
– Results (findings of the search)
– Discussion
Examples of Review Articles
with the Two Structures
Tips: Writing a Review Article
• Organize the article carefully.
• Stay focused.
• Integrate what you found; do not merely
catalogue it.
• Because the audience may be broad, write
especially clearly.
• Double-check the text and references for
Writing Case Reports
The Case Report
• Basic definition: description and
discussion of a clinical case
• “The archetypal medical [or dental] article”
• Popular with readers
• Perhaps the easiest type of journal article
for clinicians to write
• Presenting newly found
– Conditions
– Manifestations
– Disease mechanisms
– Effects of drugs
– Etc
• Teaching
– Students
– Health professionals
Potential Publication Sites
• Research-oriented journals
– General dental journals
– Specialty and subspecialty journals
– (Note: sometimes may have cases as letters)
• Teaching-oriented publications
– Journals
– Textbooks etc
• Journals specializing in case reports
Examples: Dental Case-Report
• Case Reports in Dentistry
• International Journal of Dental Case
Reports (
• Other?
Case Reports: Some Structures
• Usual structure: introduction, case
description, discussion/conclusions,
• Modified IMRAD structure: (Mainly)
introduction, methods, results, discussion
• Clinico-pathological conference (CPC)
• “Case presentation” (case description
followed by topic discussion)
Examples of Case Reports
General Pointers
• Consult the journal’s instructions to authors.
• Use other case reports in the same journal as
• Review the literature.
• Cite the literature selectively. (Case reports
generally have short reference lists.)
• Consider including one or more figures or tables.
• Provide an informative title.
• Write in a style that clinicians will find readable.
Section-by-Section Advice
• Introduction:
– Provide background to help readers
appreciate the case.
– Note why the case is being reported.
• Case description:
– Focus on aspects relating to why the case is
being reported.
– Therefore include mainly pertinent positives
and negatives.
Section-by-Section Advice
• Discussion/conclusions:
– Again, focus on items relating to why the case is
being reported.
– Note evidence supporting the conclusions being
– Discuss ambiguities and alternative interpretations, if
– Relate content to previously published material.
– Discuss implications for clinical care and, if
applicable, for research.
Case Reports: Some Issues
• Obtaining data and documentation on
potentially publishable cases
• Confidentiality of information and photos
• Sensitivity of wording
• Style Points
– “Case” versus “patient”
– Drug names (generic or trade, capitalization)
– Avoiding excessive capitalization of disease
Thank you!