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How to Write a Research Paper

Writing a research paper is a bit more difficult that a standard high school essay. You need to site sources, use academic data and show scientific examples. Before beginning, you’ll need guidelines for how to write a research paper.

Start the Research Process

Before you begin writing the research paper, you must do your research. It is important that you understand the subject matter, formulate the ideas of your paper, create your thesis statement and learn how to speak about your given topic in an authoritative manner. You’ll be looking through online databases, encyclopedias, almanacs, periodicals, books, newspapers, government publications, reports, guides and scholarly resources. Take notes as you discover new information about your given topic. Also keep track of the references you use so you can build your bibliography later and cite your resources.

Develop Your Thesis Statement

When organizing your research paper, the thesis statement is where you explain to your readers what they can expect, present your claims, answer any questions that you were asked or explain your interpretation of the subject matter you’re researching. Therefore, the thesis statement must be strong and easy to understand. Your thesis statement must also be precise. It should answer the question you were assigned, and there should be an opportunity for your position to be opposed or disputed. The body of your manuscript should support your thesis, and it should be more than a generic fact.

Create an Outline

Many professors require outlines during the research paper writing process. You’ll find that they want outlines set up with a title page, abstract, introduction, research paper body and reference section. The title page is typically made up of the student’s name, the name of the college, the name of the class and the date of the paper. The abstract is a summary of the paper. An introduction typically consists of one or two pages and comments on the subject matter of the research paper. In the body of the research paper, you’ll be breaking it down into materials and methods, results and discussions. Your references are in your bibliography. Use a research paper example to help you with your outline if necessary.

Organize Your Notes

When writing your first draft, you’re going to have to work on organizing your notes first. During this process, you’ll be deciding which references you’ll be putting in your bibliography and which will work best as in-text citations. You’ll be working on this more as you develop your working drafts and look at more white paper examples to help guide you through the process.

Write Your Final Draft

After you’ve written a first and second draft and received corrections from your professor, it’s time to write your final copy. By now, you should have seen an example of a research paper layout and know how to put your paper together. You’ll have your title page, abstract, introduction, thesis statement, in-text citations, footnotes and bibliography complete. Be sure to check with your professor to ensure if you’re writing in APA style, or if you’re using another style guide.


how to write a research paper on a disease

Cerebrovascular Diseases


Subjects and methods, acknowledgment, how to write a research paper.

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Andrei V. Alexandrov; How to Write a Research Paper. Cerebrovasc Dis 1 August 2004; 18 (2): 135–138.

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Background: Busy strokologists often find little time for scientific writing. They sometimes develop a mental condition equivalent to that known by neurologists as writer’s cramp. It may result in permanent damage to academic career. This paper provides advice how to prevent or treat this condition. Methods: Prepare your manuscript following the IMRaD principle (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion), with every part supporting the key message. When writing, be concise. Clearly state your methods here, while data belong to Results. Successful submissions combine quality new data or new thinking with lucid presentation. Results: Provide data that answer the research question. Describe here most important numeric data and statistics, keeping in mind that the shorter you can present them, the better. The scientific community screens abstracts to decide which full text papers to read. Make your point with data, not arguments. Conclusions: Conclusions have to be based on the present study findings. The time of lengthy and unfounded speculations is over. A simple message in a clearly written manuscript will get noticed and may advance our understanding of stroke.

By now you probably wrote an abstract and submitted it to a stroke conference. Your mentor reminds you several times to start drafting a paper, and you have no idea where to start. As a simple trick, copy and paste your abstract so that Background becomes your introduction. For the rest, follow the IMRaD principle: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion [ 1, 2, 3 ]. Think what ‘take home message’ you’d like to deliver and to whom. The title sells the paper.

‘Busy strokologists often find little time ... to treat this condition’: this introduction concisely describes the study hypothesis, rationale, purpose, and objectives. A three-paragraph introduction is plenty for most topics. Expand with facts from papers previously published by others, among whom you may occasionally find your mentor. Do a thorough literature search for earlier sources dealing with your subject [ 4, 5, 6 ]. Tell here what is known in the field. You do not need to refer to every paper ever written on this topic. Select key references and remember that for publishing purposes, less is better than more. Consult your mentor as often as possible – he is the senior author after all.

The third paragraph should state the research question [ 7 ]. You may take an original paper already published in Cerebrovascular Diseases to use as a template. Formulate the research question clearly since data presentation should provide equally clear answers.

The first author drafts the manuscript and determines co-authors [ 8 ]. Although general guidelines are available [ 8 ], the reality often demands seeking advice from your mentor. Inappropriate inclusion of authors will decrease the likelihood of manuscript acceptance.

Describe subject selection criteria and data collection tools. Make this description detailed enough so that if someone wants to repeat the study, it will be possible. If new imaging technology was used, tell how and by whom these tests were validated. Avoid presenting actual data in this section: ‘Study subjects were recruited from 1,215 patients admitted to our stroke unit from August 1999 through August 2002’. Instead say: ‘Study subjects were recruited from consecutive patients admitted to our stroke unit. Inclusion criteria were ...’. Methods may disclose power calculations, estimated sample size, and stopping rules.

Provide additional evidence that would increase confidence in the reliability of your methods. Control for biases, validation of research tools, ‘blinding’ of observers – all of these facts, if established before the study initiation, will strengthen the manuscript. Describe in detail the outcome models or dependent variables. For clinical outcomes or surrogate markers, reference a pivotal trial or study that established their relevance.

Documentation of protection of research subjects is essential. Clearly state if a local ethics committee approved your study. This ensures patients or animal rights protection, particularly if experiments were performed. The author also needs to disclose funding sources and potential for commercial bias such as connections with the pharmaceutical industry. Data safety monitoring, independent data acquisition and analysis during clinical trials and appropriate overseeing committees should be mentioned if applicable.

Major scientific journals currently accept less than 25% of submitted manuscripts. If rejected, it does not necessarily mean your manuscript is poor. Rejection means that reviewers did not give it a high enough priority. You should not be too disappointed because, after all, you got very good advice how to improve your manuscript. Follow reviewers’ suggestions and you increase the likelihood that another esteemed journal will accept it. The most important factors for publication are the quality, novelty, reliability and scientific or clinical importance of your work. A manuscript should disclose new information or a new way of thinking about old information. If not, it will not be published – regardless of how well it is written. Avoid redundant or duplicate publications since these should not be published. Scientific publishing is extremely competitive, and chances are that by the time you conceived the project, 10 other groups were already doing it and 5 others have already published it. Stay on top of current literature and know the limitations of research done by others.

The last paragraph of this section should describe tools of statistical analysis appropriate to study design. Consult a statistician before embarking on a project, work with a statistician to analyze and interpret the data, and have a statistician reviewing the whole manuscript for clarity of statistical analysis and data presentation.

Your results are the most important part of the manuscript. Present them clearly by avoiding long and confusing sentences. The shorter you can present your data in tables and figures, the better. Remain focused and disciplined. The flurry of numbers and ‘p’ values should follow simple logics. Start by describing your study subjects, use actual numbers for study demographics. Avoid opening sentences like: ‘Table 1 summarizes our findings in sub-group C’. This makes reviewers frustrated since they have to flip back and forth through pages to understand what was done to study subjects.

Make data presentation so clear and simple that a tired person riding late on an airplane can take your manuscript and get the message at first reading. Very few people can write a perfect manuscript on the first draft. Return to the draft, read it, change cumbersome parts, read other papers and change the draft again, and again, and again. I still do it before I give the manuscript to my co-authors. But do not hold it for too long. Remember, ‘10 other groups ...’.

Present results to colleagues since they would likely ask for more data or analyses. Most likely the reviewers of any esteemed journal would do the same, so include data in the first draft of your manuscript. The internal review is helpful to determine sufficient data to answer the research question.

Most importantly, provide data relevant to the research question. Observations beyond the primary research question can be included in the manuscript, if they strengthen your case. Remember to stay in focus. If you get lost from the aim of the study, so will be reviewers. Prestigious journals have a strict word limit for papers they accept. You need all this space to deliver the key message, so do not mess around but concentrate on the essential. Packing manuscript with data is better than splitting the paper into separate small ones.

Mention a statistical test that generated specific ‘p’ values or coefficients. Show absolute numbers as well as percentages so that reviewers can judge the significance of your observations. Remember that statistical difference does not necessarily translate into clinical significance.

Make your point with data, not arguments.

This section should start with: ‘Our study showed ...’ to lucidly summarize your study findings. Discussion is often the weakest part of the manuscript. Do not repeat the introduction. Do not present any new data that were not shown in the results section and avoid repeating data presentation. There is no reason to underline how terrific your results are – let them speak for themselves.

The second paragraph may describe the novelty of your findings or if they parallel previous research. Remember, only the beginners try to refer to all published papers in the field. No esteemed journal can afford the space needed for this. A skillful selection of the most pertinent references demonstrates a command of the relevant literature. Confirmatory research makes passing the review process more difficult. Arbitrarily, the ratio of abstracts to original papers in curriculum vitae should be less than 3 to 1. If there are too many abstracts, you either have writer’s cramp or the quality of your research is insufficient for publication.

The third paragraph may describe how your study contradicts previous research or established dogmas. If there was disagreement about study interpretation by co-authors, mention different conclusions drawn from your results or other studies [ 9, 10 ]. Avoid general statements that are not founded in data. Do not provide your opinion how to solve a problem that was not directly evaluated in your study. Do not write a review of all possible mechanisms that you have not accounted for in your study. You can write a short but to-the-point Discussion.

The fourth paragraph should describe study limitations. If you do not discuss study weaknesses, the reviewers will. Study limitations may be contrasted with study strengths. This part may also mention unresolved questions and direction of future research.

The concluding paragraph can summarize the potential significance of your findings and what changes to research or clinical practice your data may support. This is a critical part since it is easy to overestimate the significance of your research. Avoid broad claims and strong statements. Remember that even pioneer break-through studies require independent confirmation. Publication in a peer-reviewed journal means completion of your project and dissemination of research results [ 11, 12 ].

Clinicians need to develop skills in scientific writing. If you make a significant observation, a proper and fast scientific communication is required [ 12 ]. Improving your scientific writing is a life-long process. If and when your papers are rejected, remember that most manuscripts face the same fate. Avoid choosing an inappropriate journal for your manuscript submission. Common reasons for rejection include inappropriate or incomplete statistics; over-interpretation of results; inappropriate or sub-optimal instrumentation; a sample too small or biased; difficult-to-follow writing; insufficient problem statement; inaccuracy or inconsistency of the data reported; incomplete, inaccurate, or outdated review of the literature; insufficient data presented, and defective tables or figures [ 13, 14, 15 ]. When reading criticism, learn from your mistakes or the advice given to you. While wrestling with reviewers, you will become a better scientific writer but also a better, more critical scientist. In the long run this will make a major difference to your academic career, and probably will also improve your patient care. Most likely, your way of writing will become more evidence based.

An anonymous and probably frustrated academician once said: ‘Publish or perish!’. This brutally honest statement should motivate you to learn yet another set of useful skills. Good luck!

The author is not a native English speaker. I am indebted to John Norris, MD, FRCP, for – among many things during fellowship training – his patience with my ‘a’s and ‘the’s, and the first lessons in study design, analysis, and presentation. The infamous ‘Norris Rules’ that he taught his fellows are partly reflected in this paper.

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Disease Research Paper

View sample disease research paper. Browse research paper examples for more inspiration. If you need a health research paper written according to all the academic standards, you can always turn to our experienced writers for help. This is how your paper can get an A! Feel free to contact our writing service for professional assistance. We offer high-quality assignments for reasonable rates.

Disease is a phenomenon that appears to have struck people globally at all times. However, the conceptions of what disease is have varied with time and place. This research paper gives an overview over various conceptions of disease and highlights what is at stake in the debates on the concept of disease. The core questions for the article are: what is disease and what are the ethical issues entangled in this question?

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Disease is a phenomenon experienced by most people during their lifetime, and it is something most people fear. Disease is a core concept in the health sciences, in philosophy, and in bioethics, but it is difficult to define. Broadly speaking there are three types of definitions of disease: descriptivist, normativity, and hybrid definitions of disease, claiming that disease is given by phenomena described in nature, by human norms, or both nature and human norms, respectively.

The concept of disease is ethically important as it sets standards and limits, e.g., to what a health-care system is supposed to do and who deserves access to certain goods. It also influences people’s self-conception, their relations to others, their social roles, and their social status. Disease also raises a series of ethical issues, especially related to overdiagnosis and underdiagnosis, undertreatment and overtreatment, medicalization, and just distribution of healthcare resources. This makes disease an important concept with far-reaching implications for individuals, health professionals, health insurers, health policy makers, bioethicists, and politicians.

History And Development

From the interest of understanding and helping people, a wide range of theories and conceptions of disease have emerged. Such theories have altered with time and place. Table 1 gives a brief outline of some theories of disease.

This eagerness to understand disease can make us wonder, why is it so important to understand what disease is? Why is the concept of disease needed? There appear to be many reasons why the concept of disease is important:

  • Disease implies a right to attention and care, as disease is related to suffering.
  • Disease (in many countries) implies a right to treatment and is thus of great importance to individuals, health professionals, health-care institutions, health insurers, and health policy makers.
  • Disease (in many countries) implies exemptions from duties, such as the duty to work or to take care of others (e.g., relatives or friends).
  • Disease (in many countries) implies a right to economic compensation (e.g., during sick leave) and therefore is important to individuals, employers, insurers, and health policy makers.
  • Disease may exempt from accountability and moral responsibility (in cases of crime).
  • Disease is important for individuals to understand their own situation: “I cannot do or be as I would like, because I am diseased.”
  • Disease is important for individuals to explain  situation to themselves and others.
  • Disease has been important to delimit the tasks of health care from other social tasks and topics.
  • Disease has been important to classify and organize the tasks of health care, e.g., in taxonomies and hospital departments.
  • Disease has been important to delineate the subject matter of health-related sciences.

Table 1 . Brief overview of some influential theories of disease throughout the history of medicine

Disease Research Paper

Hence, disease is an important concept with far-reaching implications for individuals, health professionals, health insurers, health policy makers, bioethicists, and politicians. It sets standards, e.g., for how health professionals are educated and how health insurance is regulated, and it sets limits, e.g., who deserves access to certain goods. It also influences people’s self-conception, their relations to others, their social roles, and their social status (see below).

Conceptual Clarification/Definition

There have been many definitions of disease, all trying to highlight or clarify the various important aspects of disease given in the list above (Reznek 1987; Humber and Almeder 1997; Caplan et al. 1981; Cooper 2002; Murphy 2008; Ereshefsky 2009). At present, there is little agreement on how to define disease. The various definitions can be classified in descriptivist, normativist, and hybrid definitions.

Descriptivist positions define disease in terms of biological or mental phenomena which can be described in nature (Davies 2003). Hence, such definitions are often also called naturalist definitions. According to the most referred descriptivist definition, disease is an internal condition disturbing natural functioning. Hence, if a bodily or mental function is reduced below what is statistically normal, then there is disease. This definition is oftentimes called “the biostatistical theory of disease,” and it takes into account differences due to gender, age, and species, so that functional differences in such factors do not become diseases (Boorse 1975). That is, a person is not diseased although the person’s heart has reduced functioning at the age of 100 years old compared to the total population. Diseases are kinds that occur in nature, i.e., natural kinds, and they can be classified on the basis of characteristics that can be described in nature.

According to normativist definitions, disease is a social convention. Disease is the judgment that someone is harmed in a way that (is decided that) can be explained in terms of bodily or mental conditions or processes. Hence, human norms of harm decide what disease is and not biological or mental phenomena, therefore the name normativist. Accordingly, diseases are not natural kinds, although they may be classified according to phenomena which are considered to occur in nature. The reason is that the phenomena that is studied and classified in nature are so classified because they serve human interests, e.g., helping people. The electrical signals in the heart (measured by ECG) are of relevance for medicine because professionals think that they relate to something harmful that can be avoided. When the troponin level in the blood appears to be better in order to characterize, treat, or prevent disease, e.g., myocardial infarction, professionals (and subsequently laypersons) will pay attention to troponin. Correspondingly, it is because blood pressure is related to something harmful that hypertension is of interest in medicine. According to a normativist conception of disease, the phenomena that are measured and manipulated in medicine are relevant to medicine due to human interests (to understand and to help).

Table 2 . Three levels apparent in reflections on disease

Disease Research Paper

Hybrid definitions of disease can be placed between descriptivist and normativist definitions of disease, as they combine elements from both. For example, disease has been defined as harmful dysfunction, where dysfunction is a description of phenomena in nature, while the issue whether it is harmful is a value judgment. Only those deviations from normal functioning that are harmful can be termed disease (Wakefield 1992).

The debates on the concept of disease are sometimes complex and confusing. One reason for this can be that it is not always clear what is discussed, e.g., because the three levels described in Table 2 are confused.

There are also a wide range of terms related to disease, which sometimes are used synonymously, such as malady, illness, sickness, injury, wound, lesion, defect, deformity, disorder, disability, impairment, deficit, etc. (Culver and Gert 1982). This research paper will not address all these terms but will try to clarify the relationship between some of them below, i.e., disease, illness, and sickness.

The Ethical Dimension Of Disease

Inherent in the debates on the concept of disease, there are a series of ethical issues, such as disease’s inherent imperative to help, over diagnosis, overtreatment, medicalization, and justice. These will be briefly discussed in the following.

The Imperative To Help

The most obvious ethical aspect of disease is the imperative to help persons who suffer from disease. The term disease indicates that there is something that may be eased. Hence, disease calls us to help persons who are diseased in the best possible manner, either from duty (deontology), in order to maximize the total well-being (consequentialism); from the character of the professional (virtue ethics); or from the calling in the sufferer’s face (proximity ethics).

Who Decides What Disease Is?

In clinical practice as well in public debates, there are controversies on whether specific conditions count as disease. Previously, drapetomania (slaves running away), homosexuality, and dissidence have been counted as disease. Today it is discussed whether obesity, sorrow, baldness, freckles, and caffeine-induced insomnia count as disease. Specific interest groups may argue that something is a disease, while professionals may be hesitant, or conversely professionals may measure certain biological conditions that are not experienced by persons at all (and may be never will). Correspondingly, society may consider something to be a disease, while persons and professionals disagree. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be but one example. Hence, who decides? This is a moral question that relates to the debate between descriptivists and normativists.

Descriptivists tend to claim that nature decides. It is given by nature whether something is a disease or not, i.e., by abnormal functioning of some organ or process. But where to set the limits between normal and pathological? Does nature tell us the limit of glycated hemoglobin (A1C) in the blood for having diabetes type 1? Although hard core descriptivists claim that nature does, critiques argue that such limits are defined from human interests of trying to help people in the best possible manner. If they are right, there are normative aspects at the core of the descriptivists’ conception of disease. Normativists on the other hand are clear that disease is based on human interests and values. However, it is not clear how values and interests are to be balanced. Is it the patients’, the professionals’, relatives, or society’s values and interests that will decide what disease is?

In order to try to clarify some of the conceptual and normative issues, it has been suggested to differentiate between various perspectives of disease, as indicated in Table 3.

Table 3 . Characteristics of three perspectives of human ailment: disease, illness, and sickness

Disease Research Paper

The three perspectives can explain some of the conceptual controversies, as it may be difficult to cover all perspectives of human ailment by one concept. Moreover, the perspectives may also clarify some of the normative issues in terms of conflict of interest between persons, professionals, and society (Hofmann 2002). Impotence (at the age of 70) may not be considered to be a disease from a medical perspective or a sickness from a social perspective, but it definitely may be perceived to be an illness, i.e., it is illness, but not disease and sickness. If all perspectives cohere, there is little controversy. If the perspectives diverge, there may be conceptual and ethical challenges.

Figure 1 indicates the relationship between the concepts of illness, sickness, and disease. Other perspectives, such as existential and risk-related perspectives, may be added.

Figure 1 . The relationship between the concepts of illness, sickness, and disease

Disease Research Paper

As can be seen from vast and vivid debates on specific diseases, such as obesity, ADHD, and myalgic encephalomyelitis, there is no general agreement on whose perspective is prevailing. While descriptivist definitions of disease will favor the professional perspective, normativist definitions will have a higher affinity to social perspectives. Several positions in bioethics will favor the personal perspective on human ailment, i.e., illness (Toombs 1990; Carel 2008).

Underdiagnosis And Overdiagnosis, Undertreatment And Overtreatment

The concept of disease delimits diseased from non-diseased, and where this limit is set is of ethical significance. If the limit is set so that suffering persons who could have been helped are excluded, this is morally wrong. They are underdiagnosed, may be undertreated, and may experience unnecessary uncertainty, anxiety, pain, and death. Conversely, if the limits are too low, it is morally wrong as well. Then healthy persons are diagnosed as having a disease. They may become anxious from being diagnosed and they may be treated unnecessarily and have side effects from unnecessary treatment. While underdiagnosed persons oftentimes gain attention in the media (“could have been saved”), over diagnosed persons get little attention. They do not know that they are over diagnosed but are actually happy that “they found something and saved my life.” Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) may be one example, as it can result in invasive breast cancers, but it does not always do so. When found, DCIS are oftentimes treated as breast cancer, although one does not know whether they would actually have caused symptoms, suffering, or death.

Making Risk A Disease

Another ethical issue related to the concept of disease is the predictive aspirations in modern medicine. A wide range of tests are able to predict diseases. The ethical drive for this is to detect disease before it becomes noticeable and, by prevention or early treatment, to avoid disease or diminish its consequences. However, very few tests are perfect. The outcomes of tests are uncertain and so are the outcomes of subsequent treatment. Hence, the test provides a risk, or a range of risks, for a certain disease. For example, 55–65 % of women who inherit a BRCA1 mutation will develop breast cancer by age 70 years, while about 12 % of women in the general population will develop breast cancer sometime during their lives. Hence, testing positive for the BRCA1 mutation significantly increases the risk of breast cancer but does not mean that the person will have breast cancer. It is a risk estimate. Such risk estimates do not only give people important opportunities to save their lives and reduce suffering; it also gives them difficult choices, as it is uncertain whether they will become diseased, e.g., should a woman prophylactically remove her breasts? Hence, handling risk factors as disease poses ethical challenges to health policy makers, health professionals, and, last but not least, to individual persons. This also connects to ethical challenges with the right to know and the right not to know. The issue of making risk a disease relates to another ethical issue in modern medicine: medicalization.


It has been widely argued that the conception of disease has become too wide and inclusive, e.g., that it has come to include conditions that are considered to be part of ordinary life, such as sorrow (Horwitz and Wakefield 2007), stress, unhappiness, and various kinds of social behavior. It may be ethically challenging when the conceptions of disease make ordinary life conditions or behaviors subject to medical attention. Hence, the critique of medicalization is closely connected to the (unreflective) expansion of the concept of disease.

Disease As An Existential Threat

As disease traditionally has been life threatening and because most people die from a disease, disease is an existential issue. Hence, getting the message of having a disease may be disturbing and challenging, meriting attention and care, beyond handling the disease. Moreover, some diseases have symbolic attributes. Cancer has been considered to be a death sentence and has been a stigma. While the existential aspects of disease have been were at the core in the hospital tradition and still are in many parts of the world, they have gained less attention in modern Western medicine.

Social Prestige And Stigma

Disease is normally considered to be something negative. However, it may also have some positive aspects, such as increased attention, right to treatment, economic compensation, and freedom from duties (work), as pointed out before. Specific disease labels may give identity and strong relations between persons with the same disease. Conversely, not being labeled diseased may make people feel deserted, in despair, and guilty. Hence, disease labeling may influence people’s self-conception and self-esteem.

Moreover, professionals appear to have a relatively stable prestige hierarchy for disease entities (Album and Westin 2008). Organ specific diseases have higher prestige than vague diseases. Diseases related to organs placed in the upper part of the body, such as brain and heart, have higher prestige than those related to organs in lower body parts. Acute diseases prevail over chronic diseases. Hi-tech diseases trump low-tech or no-tech diseases. Such prestige hierarchies of disease tend also to be present in laypeople and patients as well. When disease hierarchies influence how patients are handled or how resources are allocated or prioritized, it becomes ethically challenging.

Conceptions of disease also raise ethical concerns beyond prestige hierarchies. The 90–10 gap is ethically relevant, as 90 % of research resources go to diseases relevant for 10 % of the global population. Correspondingly, it may also be argued that the disease concepts used in the economically richer part of the world is of little relevance to the poorer part of the world. It appears to be ethically important to increase the attention to disease entities that prevail in poorer populations, as well as avoiding a general disease concept that is biased toward affluent populations.

Disease is a phenomenon experienced by most people during life. It is something most people fear, and it is a core concept in the health sciences, in philosophy, and in bioethics. Descriptivists tend to define disease as the malfunctioning of some organ or process and argue that diseases are natural kinds. Normativists, on the other hand, argue that disease is not discovered in nature but is the judgment that someone is harmed in a way that can be explained in terms of bodily or mental conditions or processes. Hybrid conceptions of disease claim that disease is both descriptive and normative, e.g., as harmful dysfunction.

The concept of disease sets standards and limits, e.g., to what a health-care system is supposed to do and who deserves access to certain goods. It also influences people’s self-conception, their relations to others, their social roles, and their social status. Hence, disease is an important concept with far-reaching implications for individuals, health professionals, health insurers, health policy makers, bioethicists, and politicians. It also raises a series of ethical issues, especially related to over diagnosis and underdiagnoses, under treatment and overtreatment, medicalization, and just distribution of health-care resources.

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how to write a research paper on a disease

An Easy Way to Write Essays on Diseases

Front view of people with medical masks coughing.

On the one hand, writing essays on diseases seems to be not that tricky. You have an opportunity to be original and even creative. Can you imagine the number of diseases that you can highlight in your disease essay? What is more, there is a lot of material available almost about every disease.

On the other hand, this great variety of ideas may confuse you. What particular disease should you choose to present in the disease essay (unless specified, of course)?

Well, there is just one thing we can advise you. Think of the disease that you are interested in most of all. Does someone you know suffer from Alzheimer’s disease? Do you have a neighbor who suffers from some kind of exotic disease? Choose whatever you want to learn more about.

Fine, you will pick a good idea for your essay on disease. What is next? Next, you need to think of how to disclose your topic. We can offer a simple plan that will help you create an informative essay on diseases.

Start with a brief overview of the chosen disease. Explain why you have selected this particular disease.

Tell about the causes of the disease, people who are more likely to have it, the main disease carriers, etc.

Describe the main symptoms of the disease in your essay. Here you can also tell about the major effects that the disease has on the human organism.

Finally, describe in your essay on disease the ways of preventing and treating it. Certainly, if you want to amaze your tutor with the essay on disease, this part of the paper should be based on the most up-to-date facts.

If you need more ideas for your essay on disease, make use of the following links: essays on alcoholism and an essay on HIV/AIDS .

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Disease Research Papers Samples For Students

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Do you feel the need to examine some previously written Research Papers on Disease before you start writing an own piece? In this free catalog of Disease Research Paper examples, you are provided with an exciting opportunity to discover meaningful topics, content structuring techniques, text flow, formatting styles, and other academically acclaimed writing practices. Implementing them while composing your own Disease Research Paper will definitely allow you to finalize the piece faster.

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The Bubonic Plague is a grim but at the same time impressive page in the European history. This event triggered serious changes in society and economy. Naturally art and culture could not have left it without noticing and references to the Black Death are to be found in literature, paintings and other art forms.

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The gastrointestinal tract, which spans from the mouth to the anus, is a durable yet sensitive system that is susceptible to a variety of disorders that can bring an individual great pain and distress. There are a myriad of gastrointestinal disorders that fall under the category of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), including Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), and Crohn’s disease. Many of these gastrointestinal disorders have similar characteristics, but they are each distinct disorder and should be treated as such.

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As a nursing practitioner, it is necessary to understand the nuances of antimicrobial therapy, as well as the differences between viral and bacterial infections. In the following, the differing categories of antimicrobial agents will be stated and defined. Furthermore, the vital differences between viral and bacterial infections will be elucidated. Finally, the importance of differentiating between viral and bacterial infections in an antimicrobial agent prescription will be explained. The ability to treat viral and bacterial infections is greatly increased with the help of antimicrobial agents, but it is crucial to properly identify the type of infection before prescribing treatment.

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Before the 20th century, diabetic conditions were rare in the human population. In early 1900, the problem was known as “honey urine” identified among the rich gluttons. In the late years, many physicians distinguished and identified insulin dependent and non-insulin dependent. The adoption and classification of the disease as type one and type 2 diabetes took place in 1970. Until 1950, diet change was considered the only remedy for the problem. Type 2 diabetes was first identified and seen common among the wealthy people. Improvement in living standards influenced development of this condition among the people lower social class

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Among individuals aged 13 to 17 years, previously non-vaccinated with BCG, and who are in direct contact with TB, is the combination therapy of INH 900mg + Rifapentine 900mg once a week for 3 months as effective when compared to individuals aged 13 to 17 years who are also previously non-vaccinated with BCG and have completed the gold prophylactic standard of INH 300mg daily for 6 months in preventing active tuberculosis?


Sterling TR, Villarino ME, Borisov AS, et al. Three months of rifapentine and isoniazid for latent tuberculosis infection. N Engl J Med. 2011;365(23):2155–2166.

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How to Write a Medical Research Paper

Last Updated: May 29, 2020 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Chris M. Matsko, MD . Dr. Chris M. Matsko is a retired physician based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With over 25 years of medical research experience, Dr. Matsko was awarded the Pittsburgh Cornell University Leadership Award for Excellence. He holds a BS in Nutritional Science from Cornell University and an MD from the Temple University School of Medicine in 2007. Dr. Matsko earned a Research Writing Certification from the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) in 2016 and a Medical Writing & Editing Certification from the University of Chicago in 2017. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 89% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 196,401 times.

Writing a medical research paper is similar to writing other research papers in that you want to use reliable sources, write in a clear and organized style, and offer a strong argument for all conclusions you present. In some cases the research you discuss will be data you have actually collected to answer your research questions. Understanding proper formatting, citations, and style will help you write and informative and respected paper.

Researching Your Paper

Image titled Write a Medical Research Paper Step 1

  • Pick something that really interests you to make the research more fun.
  • Choose a topic that has unanswered questions and propose solutions.

Image titled Write a Medical Research Paper Step 2

  • Quantitative studies consist of original research performed by the writer. These research papers will need to include sections like Hypothesis (or Research Question), Previous Findings, Method, Limitations, Results, Discussion, and Application.
  • Synthesis papers review the research already published and analyze it. They find weaknesses and strengths in the research, apply it to a specific situation, and then indicate a direction for future research.

Image titled Write a Medical Research Paper Step 3

  • Keep track of your sources. Write down all publication information necessary for citation: author, title of article, title of book or journal, publisher, edition, date published, volume number, issue number, page number, and anything else pertaining to your source. A program like Endnote can help you keep track of your sources.
  • Take detailed notes as you read. Paraphrase information in your own words or if you copy directly from the article or book, indicate that these are direct quotes by using quotation marks to prevent plagiarism.
  • Be sure to keep all of your notes with the correct source.
  • Your professor and librarians can also help you find good resources.

Image titled Write a Medical Research Paper Step 4

  • Keep all of your notes in a physical folder or in a digitized form on the computer.
  • Start to form the basic outline of your paper using the notes you have collected.

Writing Your Paper

Image titled Write a Medical Research Paper Step 5

  • Start with bullet points and then add in notes you've taken from references that support your ideas. [1] X Trustworthy Source PubMed Central Journal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of Health Go to source
  • A common way to format research papers is to follow the IMRAD format. This dictates the structure of your paper in the following order: I ntroduction, M ethods, R esults, a nd D iscussion. [2] X Research source
  • The outline is just the basic structure of your paper. Don't worry if you have to rearrange a few times to get it right.
  • Ask others to look over your outline and get feedback on the organization.
  • Know the audience you are writing for and adjust your style accordingly. [3] X Research source

Image titled Write a Medical Research Paper Step 6

  • Use a standard font type and size, such as Times New Roman 12 point font.
  • Double-space your paper.
  • If necessary, create a cover page. Most schools require a cover page of some sort. Include your main title, running title (often a shortened version of your main title), author's name, course name, and semester.

Image titled Write a Medical Research Paper Step 7

  • Break up information into sections and subsections and address one main point per section.
  • Include any figures or data tables that support your main ideas.
  • For a quantitative study, state the methods used to obtain results.

Image titled Write a Medical Research Paper Step 8

  • Clearly state and summarize the main points of your research paper.
  • Discuss how this research contributes to the field and why it is important. [4] X Research source
  • Highlight potential applications of the theory if appropriate.
  • Propose future directions that build upon the research you have presented. [5] X Research source
  • Keep the introduction and discussion short, and spend more time explaining the methods and results. [6] X Research source

Image titled Write a Medical Research Paper Step 9

  • State why the problem is important to address.
  • Discuss what is currently known and what is lacking in the field.
  • State the objective of your paper.
  • Keep the introduction short.

Image titled Write a Medical Research Paper Step 10

  • Highlight the purpose of the paper and the main conclusions.
  • State why your conclusions are important.
  • Be concise in your summary of the paper.
  • Show that you have a solid study design and a high-quality data set.
  • Abstracts are usually one paragraph and between 250 – 500 words.

Image titled Write a Medical Research Paper Step 11

  • Unless otherwise directed, use the American Medical Association (AMA) style guide to properly format citations.
  • Add citations at end of a sentence to indicate that you are using someone else's idea. Use these throughout your research paper as needed. They include the author's last name, year of publication, and page number.
  • Compile your reference list and add it to the end of your paper.
  • Use a citation program if you have access to one to simplify the process.

Image titled Write a Medical Research Paper Step 12

  • Continually revise your paper to make sure it is structured in a logical way.
  • Proofread your paper for spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Make sure you are following the proper formatting guidelines provided for the paper.
  • Have others read your paper to proofread and check for clarity. Revise as needed.

Expert Q&A

Chris M. Matsko, MD

  • Ask your professor for help if you are stuck or confused about any part of your research paper. They are familiar with the style and structure of papers and can provide you with more resources. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Refer to your professor's specific guidelines. Some instructors modify parts of a research paper to better fit their assignment. Others may request supplementary details, such as a synopsis for your research project . Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Set aside blocks of time specifically for writing each day. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to write a research paper on a disease

  • Do not plagiarize. Plagiarism is using someone else's work, words, or ideas and presenting them as your own. It is important to cite all sources in your research paper, both through internal citations and on your reference page. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 2

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About This Article

Chris M. Matsko, MD

To write a medical research paper, research your topic thoroughly and compile your data. Next, organize your notes and create a strong outline that breaks up the information into sections and subsections, addressing one main point per section. Write the results and discussion sections first to go over your findings, then write the introduction to state your objective and provide background information. Finally, write the abstract, which concisely summarizes the article by highlighting the main points. For tips on formatting and using citations, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Basics of Writing a Research Paper on a Disease

Writing a research paper on a disease can look like an overwhelming task at the outset, but when you have a general topic it makes it a little easier to start out. There are so many different kinds of diseases and it’s such a well-researched topic that it should be a relatively simple set of tasks compared to other kinds of research papers.

Find a Topic

You already have the first struggle done: finding your umbrella topic, which in this case is diseases. Now you just have to narrow it down. There are several ways to do this.

  • Consider your experience. Have you ever known anyone with a particular kind of disease? Has there been something in the news recently about an outbreak or epidemic? Do you yourself have any kind of disease?
  • Chances are you are connected to someone with a disease in some way. Draw from your own experience to zero in on a topic.
  • Ask a medical professional what diseases he or she most frequently comes across. This may be your best bet as far as finding information if it is widely known.


A simple internet search will get you far, but there are other ways to find information too.

  • Take advantage of whatever resources are available in your school’s library. Most times, a school or university’s library will have access to journals and information databases that contain vast quantities of academic and research publications. Ask your librarian what sort of resources are available to you in this thread.
  • It might be old school, but look through paper versions of publications too. Oftentimes there is information present in physical books that never get scanned and entered into an online database or published online. Look in your school’s library for this too, as well as looking at your local discount book store.
  • Again, if you know people in the medical field, ask them for references as to how to find information. Most of them have to renew their license or do tests once every few years, so it is likely they would know where to find study information, text books, or information on new research. These people are valuable resources to you.

Once you’ve selected a topic and researched it thoroughly, treat your research paper on disease like any other paper. Do a thorough outline to organize your paper, write your paper with references and a reference page, and conclude strong. Once you’ve written it, read it aloud and have a friend read it, too, so you know what to revise.

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how to write a research paper on a disease

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Writing a Medical Clinical Trial Research Paper – Example & Format

Hello, this is Sam from Ref-n-write. In this blog, I will explain how to write a clinical trial research paper for a medical journal.  We will go through the basic components that make up a good clinical paper. The title of our research paper is “The Effects of Vitamin D Supplements on Obesity: A Randomized Clinical Trial Study” I must insist that this is not an actual research paper from an actual medical journal. This is just an example medical research paper we put together for the purpose of teaching the process of writing up clinical trials.

The Effects of Vitamin D Supplements on Obesity: A Randomized Clinical Trial Study Research Paper Title

1. Introduction Paragraph

Let’s start with the introduction paragraph. This is where you tell your readers what your topic is and why it is important. It is a good idea to start your intro paragraph with a hook. A hook is a powerful opening statement designed to grab the reader’s attention. This can be a fact, a statistic or a question. Since our study is about obesity, let’s give an interesting statistic about obesity. After starting with a broad statement, the next step is to narrow down the topic. In the second statement, we are dropping a hint that our paper is concerned with vitamin D and obesity. With the next statement, we are establishing the importance of the topic. We are saying that many people are dying due to obesity, and vitamin D is causing a lot of health issues, so we must do something about it. Then in the final statement of the intro paragraph, we explain how conducting research in this field will benefit the community. In our case, doctors will be able to prescribe better treatment options for obese patients. That concludes the introduction paragraph of our research paper.

Obesity is a Worldwide disease; In 2020, more than 2 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. There is a general consensus in the research community that there is a strong association between obesity and Vitamin D. This represents an important and timely topic because obesity is currently fifth greatest risk of mortality, and Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with variety of chronic diseases. Better understanding of this link will greatly aid medical practitioners in effective treatment and management of obese patients. Introduction Paragraph

2. Literature Review

Let’s move on to the literature review. This is where you provide a comprehensive summary of previous research on this topic. Let’s start with a broad statement summarizing the research in the area. In the first statement, we are saying that many studies have confirmed some link between vitamin D and obesity. Now let’s move on to specific studies. In the second statement, we are reporting the results of a specific study that came out recently and talks about the link between vitamin D and obesity in western countries. Now let’s talk about some mixed evidence that casts some doubt on the current understanding of the topic. In the final statement, we are saying that some studies have shown that obesity causes vitamin D deficiency, whereas other studies have shown that it is in fact, vitamin D that causes obesity issues among people.

Several studies have reported an association between low vitamin D levels and obesity levels [1-3] . Recently John et al , reported high prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in several western countries with high levels of obesity [1]. Some studies suggested that obesity increased the risk of vit D deficiency [15] whereas other studies have shown the opposite [3]. Literature Review

3. Research Gap and Research Statement

Now it is time to establish the research gap. The previous statements we made, nicely lead to this statement. We are saying that we lack clear evidence linking vitamin D to obesity. We are also saying that most of the existing studies were conducted on subjects with preexisting health conditions, so there is a research gap to be filled. Now you must define your research question and explain how it addresses the research gap you established in the literature review. We are saying here that the study’s main aim is to investigate the effect of vitamin D on weight loss among the healthy population. We are also defining a specific hypothesis that we will either prove or disprove towards the end of the paper.

Due to lack of clear evidence, the link between vitamin D and obesity remains unclear. Moreover, most studies were conducted on subjects with preexisting health conditions or of certain background. The aim of the study was to examine the effect of vitamin D supplementation on weight loss among healthy population. We hypothesized that vitamin D could enhance weight loss without side effects. Research Gap and Statement

4. Materials and Methods

Let’s move on to materials and methods. The ‘materials and methods’ is one of the most important parts of your paper. This section should have enough detail so that another researcher can reproduce your experiments and results.

4.1. Study Design and Ethical Approval

Let’s start with study design. In clinical trial papers, you must explain the study design employed in your work. In our case, it was a randomized, double-blinded placebo trial. Then you can talk about the location and period in which the clinical trial was conducted. Then provide details about the ethical approval that was obtained for the study. Nowadays, registering your clinical trial on the website is a requirement before you begin recruiting patients for your study. You must also include the registration number.  I must warn you that many journals will refuse to publish the results of your paper if the clinical trial is unregistered. Good clinical practice (GCP) is a set of internationally recognized quality standards that must be followed when conducting clinical trials involving people.  It is a good idea to provide information about who is responsible for monitoring this for your trial.

The study was a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial study. The study was conducted between April 2015 and March 2017 at five different hospitals in the central United Kingdom. This study was approved by the National Health Service ethical committee and registered on as NC 34532. The trial was conducted according to the guidelines of good clinical practice (GCP) and monitored by the GCP unit at the hospital. Study Design, Ethical Approval & Good Clinical Practice

4.2. Participant Recruitment and Consent

It is very important to define the inclusion and exclusion criteria used for the study. The inclusion criteria define the characteristics that will make subjects eligible for the study. In our case, we only included non-smoking and nondiabetic subjects with BMI greater than 25. The exclusion criteria define the characteristics that make subjects ineligible for the study. In our case, we exclude subjects participating in weight loss programs and taking dietary supplements. Now let’s detail the characteristics of the cohort, such as sample size, age, gender etc. In our case, we recruited 50 subjects in the age range of 15-60.

Let’s provide some information about the recruitment procedure. In our case, there was a face-to-face interview to confirm eligibility. And also, the eligible participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire so that we could gather demographic information. Another important part of the recruitment process is to get informed consent from the participants. The participants should be given all the information about the trial, including the benefits and risks, so they can decide whether to participate in the trial or not.

Subjects were included if they met the following criteria: (1) BMI>25; (2) non-smoker; and (3) no history of diabetes. Subjects participating in weight loss programs were excluded from the study. A total of 50 subjects (25 male & 25 female) participated in the study at the age range of 15-60. The eligibility was evaluated by interview. They were asked to fill in a questionnaire to gather demographic information. An informed consent was obtained from all the participants. Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria, Patient Recruitment & Consent

4.3. Outcomes and Follow up

Let us now explain how the participants were divided into groups. In our study, the participants were randomly split into intervention and control groups.  The intervention group was given vitamin D supplements, and the control group was given a placebo. Our study is double-blinded, which means neither the participants nor the researchers knew which group they belonged to. Let’s talk about the follow-up period. Choosing an appropriate follow-up period for your study is important because a shorter follow-up period leads to an underestimation of the effects being measured. On the other hand, a long follow-up period increases the risk of subjects dropping out of the study. In our case, we have chosen a follow-up period of 12 months, and the measurements were performed every 6 months.

Then we have to explain what parameters we are measuring on the participants during the course of the study. In our case, we measured BMI, waist circumference and blood pressure.  BMI is the primary outcome. It means it is the most important outcome, and we will analyze the changes in BMI values to either prove or disprove our hypothesis. The secondary outcomes, such as waist circumference and BP, are additional measurements that we perform to provide supporting evidence for the main finding.

Participants were randomly divided into intervention and control groups, and received vit D supplements and placebo, respectively. Patients were assessed at 0,  6 and 12 months for a follow-up period of 1 year. BMI (primary outcome), waist circumference (secondary outcome) and BP (secondary outcome) were measured by a trained personal at each visit. Grouping, Outcome & Follow-up Period

4.4. Statistical Analysis

Let’s talk about the statistical analysis and tools used for the study. In our case, we are using an independent sample t-test for statistical analysis. The independent sample t-test compares the means of two groups, in our case, the vitamin D group and the placebo group. We also specify the definition of statistical significance; if the p-value is less than 0.05, then we will consider the difference to be statistically significant. We also give the format of the data presented in the paper. In our case, all the data will be represented in the format mean ± SE.  We also mention the name of the statistical package used for the analysis. In our case, We are using SPSS statistical software, and the version number is 10.0.

Analyses were performed with independent t-test and paired t-test. All data were shown as mean ± SE. In all analysis, P value <0.05 was considered statistically significant. The data were analyzed using SPSS 10.0 ( software. Statistical Analysis

Let’s move on to the results section. This is where you present the core findings of your study. You have to present your results in a logical sequence. Do not interpret the results here. Instead, save them for the discussion section later. Before jumping into results, you must first let the audience know if you did any preprocessing or data cleanup before the analysis. In our case, four participants had to be excluded from the study due to health issues. And two participants dropped out due to personal reasons. So it means we are dealing with a slightly smaller sample size than we initially set out. Try to present your data in figures and tables, and only elaborate on the most important results in the main text. In our case, we are presenting the characteristics of both groups in a table. And we are plotting the change in BMI over time as a graph and presenting it as a figure in the paper.

From 50 participants, four subjects were excluded due to health issues. Two participants withdrew from the study due to personal reasons. Table 1 illustrates the characteristics of two groups participated in the study. In Figure 1, the BMI values are plotted as a function of duration for both groups. The results show that vitamin D supplementation caused a significant decrease in BMI (p<0.001). There was no significant difference in BP (p=0.71) between vitamin D (121 ± 3.1) and placebo groups (123 ± 4.2). Results

Now let’s start with the main finding. In our case, we found a significant drop in BMI among the cohort taking vitamin D supplements. Since we use the word significant, we have to provide a p-value. Let’s move on to the next result. We are reporting that there is no significant difference in blood pressure between the two groups. We are also providing actual values in the text. We have already mentioned in the methods section that the data will be in the format mean ± SE.

6. Discussion

Let’s move on to the discussion. This is where you interpret your findings and compare your results with previously published work in this domain. This is the place to talk about limitations and the future direction of your work. It is a good idea to start with the main result. In our case, we found that vitamin D reduces BMI, which supports the main hypothesis. Let’s also mention how these findings fit into existing research in the domain. In our case, these findings are in line with the results of previous studies published on this topic. Now, let’s move on to a negative result. In our case, we observed a negative association between waist circumference and vitamin D. Now give your interpretation of this negative result. We think it is because of the shorter duration of the study. Let’s report an unexpected result. In our case, we found that the blood pressure was a bit on the higher side with the cohort taking vitamin D supplements. Let’s give our interpretation of the result. We believe it is because of limited data.

Vitamin D supplementation significantly reduced the BMI over a 1 year period supporting the main hypothesis. The results agree well with the findings of existing studies [7-8]. A negative association was observed between waist length and vitamin D supplementation. The findings are in contrast with the previous studies [9-10]. This outcome is likely due to the shorter duration of the study. It was quite surprising to find that there was a slight increase in BP among the vitamin D group. The result must be interpreted with caution due to limited data. Interpretation of Results

Let’s talk about the implications of our research. This is where you describe the significance of your findings. You must explain how your findings will benefit society. You can also explain how your findings contribute to the existing body of knowledge and impact future research in the area. Then add one or two lines about the novelty of your research. Explain what is so unique about your research. In our case, this is the first study to be conducted on a healthy population. Let’s move on to limitations. Every study has limitations. If you hide your limitations, I can guarantee that reviewers will reject your paper. Be honest about the limitations and explain how future studies can rectify the shortcomings of your work. In our case, the major limitation is that our study uses a small number of participants. Let’s move on to the final statement of the paper. Finish your paper with one or two lines about the possible future direction of your research. In our case, we can conduct a much bigger study to reconfirm our findings in the future.

The results demonstrated in this work provides a new perspective on the link between vitamin D and obesity from a clinical treatment perspective. To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest study to date to be conducted on health population. One of the most important limitation of the study is the small sample size. Larger clinical trials are needed to confirm the findings. This should be considered in future studies. Implications, Limitations and Future work

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