How do you introduce a research paper?

The title offers the initial approach to the problem we want to investigate and its statement should define it as accurately as possible. It is the first sentence that is read and your business card, so you can zoom in or out on the evaluator’s interest. It must be always brief, but precise and attractive; It can not be too generic or seek to attract the attention of the recipients, but give them direct and clear information about the intention of our work. Nor should it include references to the institution where it will be carried out or the number of cases that it is intended to study. The desirable length can be set at 10-25 words; It should not have acronyms or abbreviations, except those that everyone knows. This title -as has already been said- will figure prominently on a cover page which will also include the name and surnames of each of the components of the research team, the work center and the place and date of issue of the document.

Although it may not be necessary, it is common to present at the beginning of a summary -of no more than 150 words-, which will allow the evaluator a first introduction to the project. This summary should give information about what will be treated, the methodology that will be used, in addition to offering the geographical framework and the moments of its development. As the title is usually accompanied by its English version (abstract or, less frequently, summary), which must conform to the one presented in Spanish; Translation is inexcusable when the PI is sent to institutions with high demand for evaluation, since it allows classification, filing, retrieval and dissemination from international databases.

The keywords may not be compulsory, and if a summary is included in English, they should also be included in English (key words). They are descriptive terms; they represent the concrete concept of what one wants to investigate. They will be presented as a list of 4-8 terms related to the content of the article, placed after the summary. They are used by the bibliographic services to classify the work under a particular index or subject, and are periodically updated in the main databases.

The section of antecedents and current state of the subject will consist in the description of the information and material previously written referring to the specific subject that is wanted to investigate (interest and scientific relevance of the problem), to its theoretical framework (generalized and abstract explanation about the interrelation among the aspects to be investigated), together with other previous responses to the problem (we will state the originality of our idea and / or novel contribution that is intended) and the ideal methods to carry out the study. Each of these aspects must be argued with a review of the bibliography and will be referred (in figures and number of works done) to the world, European, national, CC.AA. and local, whenever possible, and referenced in that order, from greater to smaller scale. This is a fundamental part of any research project, since it will allow:

  • a. Familiarize the reader with the problem you want to study.
  • b. Describe the work done by other researchers on the subject, both locally and internationally.
  • c. It will help the evaluators to know the difficulties found by other researchers and the corrections and answers given to them. Thus, other similar or possible difficulties of our work can be anticipated.
  • d. The initial methodological design can be reconsidered and improved by the evaluators after reviewing previous publications.
  • and. The review can help us identify new variables, define them and relate them to one another.
  • F. The synopsis of the bibliography will allow the reviewers to assess the precise knowledge on the subject of the researcher and his team, estimate the quality of the work done and help the researchers to measure the feasibility of the study.

The review of the bibliography presented in this section need not be exhaustive. The relevant information can be presented in about 300 words, citing 8 to 10 easily recoverable references.

The justification of the project is a brief rationale of the project in which we will have to defend its relevance (adequacy of the project to the priority research lines and the problem described), feasibility (research training in relation to the problem and the magnitude of the project, including sufficiency in human and technical resources) and the foreseeable generalization of results (related to its applicability in the field of health). It must provide a convincing argument that the available knowledge is insufficient to account for the problem, its possible alternative solutions and the need to test whether what is known and given as a true fact may not be so true.

All research projects must include the direct and concrete formulation of the intentions and objectives of the research. The objectives must be few and their formulation must begin with a verb in infinitive (identify, know, examine, describe); They must be concise and achievable. The purpose of the study must be differentiated (general objective: that will indicate the statement about the expectations of the research and the relationship between the variables that are investigated) of the specific objectives (2 to 4): statements about which the project, which logically and thematically derive from the general objective and should be covered in it, taking care that they are not antagonistic or point to different purposes. When declaring the specific objectives we must include the variables of the study and its measurable terms.