RMJ research series – Using a Reporting Guideline (Checklist)|
Hopkinson, D.; Nsanzabaganwa, C. & Cartledge, P.
You have recently completed a research project. During this process, you may have already invested considerable amounts of time in undertaking adequate literature searching, writing a methodology for ethical approval, collecting data, conducting analysis and writing up your results in the form of a manuscript for submission to a peer-reviewed journal such as the RMJ –. After submitting your paper, you receive a rejection letter from the journal. The peer-reviewer describes “poor methodology.”
As a researcher and author, this is disheartening but also requires some consideration. The question to reflect on is “did I perform a bad study” or rather, “did I describe my study badly”? You wonder if there was any way that you could have written your manuscript more completely?
My story - Dr Christian Nsanzabaganwa
When undertaking my research as a final year medical student, I had no idea how to start, what to start with and where to search for information. The research journey was a new one for me. At every step I had to go and learn how to develop it and come back and practice at the same time while writing the proposal.
Writing up my dissertation was challenging. Being a native Rwandan, I had to write in English (my second language) and the most difficult aspect was to read, understand and summarize the project in my own words. My university didn’t require that we submit our projects for publication, but I wanted to learn this skill. Writing up research for publication was a challenge, especially for the first time in a second language. Having a checklist, along with good supervision and perseverance helped me to write a complete manuscript which was accepted for publication. I was new to research and so I didn’t know what I should and shouldn’t include in the manuscript. Having a checklist was a big help to ensure that I gave a full description of the project.