Scientific writing in 5 steps

Read here: Recommended format for a 'research protocol'

For the protocol, consider all the items according to your research question and study design, as

If you are unsure which guidelines are the most relevant for your type of study, please use the online tool developed by the EQUATOR Network.

1.2. Obtain the ethical approval of your IRB

1.3 Publish your protocol:  

2. Conduct the research

3. Write the scientific manuscript to communicate the results

Ideally, it would be best to decide which journal to submit to before you start writing the final report to ensure you follow the specific journal's instructions. 

Now, to which journal you should submit your final report? 

There are three ways, in order of preference.

However, be careful not to fall for predatory journal offers, which invite you to publish for a fee. Follow the guidelines at Think-Check-Submit

In what order is it preferable to write the final report?

First, start with the objective or research question and then write the material and methods in detail. If you already have a good protocol published, the methods and introduction section should be ready.  The start the descriptive analysis of the results, read here

Then, perform the explanatory/hypothesis analysis and select a figure or table that summarises the main result or answer to the question. 

With this table or figure in mind, write the result, the discussion, and the introduction.  (You can modify the introduction from the Protocol) 

With all this, you can write the abstract and, finally, the title.

In summary

I recommend writing in the following order:

Since you should have identified the appropriate design for the study question, you should write this section following any guidelines available on Equator-network according to the specific design. 

The most common questions and designs are:

If you are unsure which guidelines are the most relevant for your type of study, please use the online tool developed by the EQUATOR Network.

2. Results

In practice, this is where you start writing your article. After analysing the data, you get a figure representing the result and with that figure in mind, you structure the whole text. 

When formulating the results section, it's important to remember that the results of a study do not prove anything. Research results can only confirm or reject the research problem underpinning your study. However, the act of articulating the results helps you to understand the problem from within, to break it into pieces, and to view the research problem from various perspectives.

The page length of this section is set by the amount and types of data to be reported. Be concise, using non-textual elements, such as figures and tables, if appropriate, to present results more effectively. In deciding what data to describe in your results section, you must clearly distinguish material that would normally be included in a research paper from any raw data or other material that could be included as an appendix. In general, raw data should not be included in the main text of your paper unless requested to do so by your professor.

Avoid providing data that is not critical to answering the research question. The background information you described in the introduction section should provide the reader with any additional context or explanation needed to understand the results. A good rule is to always re-read the background section of your paper after you have written up your results to ensure that the reader has enough context to understand the results [and, later, how you interpreted the results in the discussion section of your paper].

II.  Content

In general, the content of your results section should include the following elements:

Using Non-textual Elements

III. Problems to Avoid

When writing the results section, avoid doing the following:

3. Discussion

More information PLOS

4. Introduction

5. Title and abstract

4. Make the data and all research material as open as possible and as closed as necessary

More information 

Online course on scientific writing

5. Tell the world

With a Twitter thread (example here and here), through Linkedin, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram or any social media.

Write a blog post explaining in lay terms your research, the importance and the meaning of your results. 


Reporting Guidelines in Research

Writing, editing, and publishing scientific journal articles

Doug Altman -- Improving the quality of health research publications

Iain Chalmers -- New research should begin with analyses of what is already known

CONSORT Statement guidance for reporting randomised trials