Presenting research: Writing and publishing a scientific paper – Results and Discussion
Terry Cheuk-Fung Yip
In a typical structure of a scientific paper, the Results and Discussion are put after the Methods section, and followed by the Tables and Figures. However, when writing a manuscript, we may want to start with making Tables and Figures before writing the Results. For Discussion, it may be good to write that after finishing the Methods, Results, and Introduction sections. As for publishing a paper, it is also very important to read the instructions to authors of your target journal so that you can follow the requirements to format the Results and Discussion. The Results section is for reporting the findings of your study, while Discussion is for explaining and comparing the findings with existing evidence, as well as discussing the strengths and limitations of the study. In Results section, we describe the study population, report the results of the primary, secondary, and other exploratory and sensitivity analyses. Tables and Figures also play an important role in the manuscript. Good Tables and Figures should be able to stand alone without the main text. We should provide the Tables and Figures with clear legends, as well as definition of abbreviations and comparisons. We should also provide numbers of patients included in each of the analyses. There are some existing guidelines or checklists to help us write the Results and Discussion under different study designs. In this session, I will give two examples on how to follow the checklists to report the results of a randomized controlled trial and a cohort study. The use of Tables and Figures to facilitate the reporting of results will also be discussed. I will also discuss some common pitfalls in reporting and discussing the studies.