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Tips & Tricks

Difficulties with writing your bachelor or master thesis? At this page you will find some tips and tricks that will help you with the writing.

Guidelines & templates

General:

Specific:

The Cochrane collaboration advises to use specific guidelines and checklists per evidence-based-medicine domain for writing your manuscript:

Guideline and checklist table (adapted from the Dutch Cochrane website)

Original research
EBM domain Design International checklist Reporting checklist
Diagnostic Cross-sectional QUADAS-2 STARD
Prognostic Cohort QUIPS TRIP0D
Therapeutic RCT

Cohort

RCT: Cochrane Risk of Bias tool

Cohort: ROBINS-1

CONSORT
Etiology / ‘Harm’ Cohort

Case-control

NOS STROBE

 

Systematic review
EBM domain Design International checklist Reporting checklist
Diagnostic Systematic review ROBIS / QUADAS-2 PRISMA – DTA
Observational Systematic review ROBIS PRISMA
Therapeutic Systematic review AMSTAR 2 / ROBIS PRISMA
Guidelines X AGREE-2 X

For more information and to DOWNLOAD the guidelines and checklists, please visit: https://netherlands.cochrane.org/beoordelingsformulieren-en-andere-downloads

Manuscript sections

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References
  • Figures & tables

Title page

  • Brief title (including design of study)
  • Authors + degree + affiliations
  • Name + address of corresponding author

Abstract

  • +- 300 words (journal guidelines ranges from max. 250 – 500 words)
  • Brief formulation of the research aim and methods used, point-by-point summary of results and conclusion

Tips:

  • Use the same sections as your manuscript, thus: introduction, methods, results and conclusion

Introduction

Use the following structure:

  1. Start with announcing your topic
  2. Include a brief literature review: what is known?
  3. Use the literature to focus on your contribution: what is unknown?
  4. Elaborate on rationale of your paper
  5. State your research aim

Methods

Use a similar published article as example, but avoid plagiarism!

Use the following structure:

  1. Study design
  2. Methods used
  3. Ethics
  4. Statistics

Tips:

  • Difficulties with statistics? Look at wikistatistiek.amc.nl for help on your statistical analysis
  • Always write the method section in the past tense
  • Provide enough details to make it possible for another researcher to replicate your experiment, but focus on brevity

Results

  • Use a similar published article as example, but avoid plagiarism!
  • Only new, relevant data from your study
  • Don’t replicate data in tables / figures in the text

Tips:

  • Also write the results section in the past tense
  • Focus on being concise and objective. You will have the opportunity to give your own interpretations of the results in the discussion section

Discussion

Use the following structure:

  1. Statement of principal findings
  2. Strengths and weaknesses of the study
  3. Strengths and weaknesses in relation to other studies, discussing differences in results
  4. Meaning of study: possible mechanisms and implications for clinicians
  5. Unanswered questions and future research
  6. Conclusion

Tips:

  • Don’t repeat the introduction
  • Avoid adding new information to this section, but if necessary, only in relation to other studies (with references)

References

Use a reference manager as Endnote or Mendeley

Other tips & tricks

  • If you are a medical student of the Amsterdam UMC, location AMC; the website of the library provides many more tips and tricks for research and writing: https://amc-literatuur.amc.nl/
  • Start your writing with the method and results section. It is easier to write the introduction and results after you wrote the method and results sections.
  • Difficulties with focusing your manuscript? Start with writing the abstract to get a clear aim and focus of your article. Don’t forget to revise your abstract at the end after finishing the rest of the manuscript.
  • Keep sentences short and simple 
  • Make the meaning of all sentences clear
  • Write in the third person
  • Use an ‘active’ rather than a ‘passive’ voice
  • Consistent tense
  • Punctuate accurately
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