Choose a title.,
Identify the authors on the title page.,
List key words.,
Write an abstract.,
Write the paper’s introduction.,
Present the case.,
Blind the study.,
Document the management and outcome of the case.,
Discuss the case.,
Acknowledge people who provided assistance.,
Cite your references.,
Pick a target journal.,
Submit your paper.,
Revise your paper based on the reviews.,
Get an acceptance.,
Check the proofs.,
Sign any necessary contracts.
The title is important because many readers will be searching for papers of interest in online databases. Readers often decide whether or not to read a paper based on the title. This means that the title must clearly summarize the contents.The title should contain a phrase like case study or case report, so that readers understand what type of study it is.
An effective title might also say what condition the patient had, how it was treated, and whether the outcome was successful.
Most titles are less than 10 words long.;
, The authors and their professional contact information, including their institution, should be listed. The first author, generally the person who did most of the writing, will be the corresponding author to whom questions can be addressed. In order to be included as an author an individual should:Have made a significant intellectual contribution in carrying out and writing up the study or have been involved with the medical care of the patient reported
Be able to explain and defend the data presented in the article
Have approved the final manuscript before it is submitted for publication
, The key words are very important for making sure that your article is discoverable. People will search databases of studies using key words.Choose words that you would use to search for your article. Possibilities include the name of the condition or special treatments that you used.
Usually around 4 to 8 key words or phrases are permitted. Check the guidelines of the journal to which you plan to submit your study.
, The abstract summarizes the contents of the study in about 150-250 words.This is a very important part of the article because most people will read only the abstract. And anyone considering reading the whole paper will first read the abstract to decide if they want to read the whole paper. So the article should provide the most important information from the major sections of the paper. Usually abstracts of the article are fully available to anyone online, whereas the entire article usually costs a fee or you have to be associated with an institute that pays an institutional fee for access to that journal. There are two formats for abstracts:A narrative abstract. This type of abstract is written as a single paragraph without headings. The paragraph should logically summarize the study and its results.
A structured abstract contains headings which usually correspond to the major sections of the paper, such as background, methods, and discussion. Check with the journal where you want to submit your manuscript to see what format they prefer.
, The introduction is often the most difficult part of a paper to write because it must clearly convey why the topic and the study is important. It sets up the rest of the paper. Exactly what information you put in will vary based on the study and what you wish to emphasize. An effective introduction might cover:An understanding and review of recent other papers that have come out on the same topics
Why understanding this case study is important
The historical or social context of the condition
If there are particular challenges in diagnosing or treating this condition
If new methods or techniques were developed
What is already known about similar cases
What is already known about the disease, including treatment and diagnosis
How the current study adds to that knowledge
, In the section “Case Presentation,” the author presents the data about the patient. It is written in narrative form, not as an outline or bullet points. Information in this section may include:A description of why the patient sought medical help. This may even include the patient’s own words.
The results of the medical exam. This includes a description of any specialized tests that were performed and their results. Some results, such as x-rays, can be presented as figures with figure legends explaining them.
, It is important for the patient’s privacy that the patient is not identifiable. This means that no details can be included that identify the patient, such as the name. Talk to your colleagues to see how they recommend accomplishing this. Possibilities include:
Identifying the patient with a number.
Giving the patient a false name.
, In the section called “Management and Outcome” you explain the plan of care that was created for the patient, what care was given, and what the outcome was. Details to provide include:How long the patient received care
How many times the patient was treated
Exactly what treatments were performed and how
How the patient’s improvement was measured
How and why the treatment ended
, The discussion section summarizes the lessons that are learned from the case and why it is significant for future treatments of similar cases.This section should also outline open questions that remain. If possible the authors should provide suggestions for how to address them in future studies.
Discuss your case study in relation to the current literature on other similar cases., The Acknowledgements section is where people who provided technical assistance should be thanked. This may also include anyone else who assisted with the study or writing, but is not included as an author.If financial support was provided by grants or medical foundations, they should be listed.
It is common to thank the patient, but, regardless of whether or not you do that, you also should indicate that you obtained the patient’s consent to anonymously publish the information.
, This is where you provide the full bibliographic information of the sources which you used to support the statements you made.Most of your sources will probably be other medical studies. Check with the journal where you plan to submit the paper to determine how the bibliography should be formatted. Most formats require the following information for each reference:
Authors of the study
Title of the study
Journal it was published in
Volume of the journal
Page numbers of the paper
, Your target journal is the journal where you would like to have your paper published. Talk to your colleagues and co-authors to see where they recommend. Read the author guidelines for the journal carefully to make sure they do indeed publish case reports. Not all journals do. Other things to consider are:
Does the journal index the papers in the PubMed database?Is there a publishing fee?Is the journal well-respected in its field? One way of measuring this is the journal’s impact factor. This information should be available on the journal’s website.
Is the journal peer-reviewed? Peer-review is a process in which manuscripts are given to experts in their field who provide their opinions on the study. This is a way to verify that the study was well conducted and that the conclusions are justified. Having been through peer-review gives your work credibility.
, Most journals use an online submission process in which you upload your paper online. Once you upload and submit your paper you will receive:
An acknowledgement of submission
A decision several weeks later. The decision will likely come with anonymous reviews from your reviewers. The journal will likely: accept your paper, accept it with minor revision, accept it with major revisions, reject it with an invitation to revise and resubmit, or reject it without an invitation to resubmit.
, Receiving requests for revisions is a standard part of scientific publishing and generally improves the quality of the paper. When you revise your paper you should:Provide a letter in which you answer each of the comments provided by each reviewer and provide page numbers showing how you addressed the comments in the manuscript
Submit the letter with the revised manuscript
If the original journal did not invite you to resubmit, then you can submit the revised version to a different journal and go through a new round of peer review.
, If you are able to answer all of the reviewers’ and editors’ comments on the manuscript in a way that is satisfactory, your paper is likely to be accepted after you revise it. You will receive another decision which will indicate that either:
The paper is accepted as it is.
The paper is accepted after minor changes. You may receive this decision if the editor is largely satisfied, but has small content corrections or formatting changes that need to be made.
, After your paper is accepted, the journal will send you a draft to look over. These are called the proofs. You should check:
That all the tables and figures appear correctly in the right order.
That there have been no errors in any mathematical formulas.
That the body of the paper is correct and contains no typos or formatting errors.
That the names and affiliations of the authors are correct.
, Read through the contract to make sure you fully understand the copyright implications of the contract. Things to consider are:
Do you as the author retain the copyright? Or will it belong to the journal?
Are you prohibited from making the article freely available online?
Is there an embargo period, meaning that you cannot talk to the press about your results before the journal publishes the paper?