I’m teaching a class on Clinical Research Methodology and at least a few of the students are confused about what to put in the methods section of a research paper or a thesis. They’re confused? I’m even more confused than they are. Every paper and every thesis is different, so it is impossible to offer any coherent guidance. But let me try anyway. Continue reading

# Tag Archives: Writing research papers

# Recommended: Bibliographies and citations (in R Markdown)

If you want to use R Markdown to prepare research papers and presentations, you need to learn how to cite references and include a bibliography. This is a nice introduction and shows the variety of options at your fingertips. Continue reading

# Recommended: Writing a discussion section: how to integrate substantive and statistical expertise

The paper in BMC Medical Research Methodology gives practical step by step guidance on writing your discussion section. Continue reading

# PMean: Writing the introduction section of a research thesis or dissertation

The introduction section of your research thesis or dissertation is the first thing that most people will read after reading the abstract. Some people use the introduction section to provide a literature review, and I won’t talk about that here. I did offer a nice recommendation on how to write a literature review in an earlier post. The introduction should provide present your research problem (research question, research hypothesis), but first you have to offer some context. Continue reading

# Recommended: R Markdown Basics

This is actually a nice “peek under the hood” approach with lots of practical advice about getting that last tweak in to make your results go from good to great. Continue reading

# Recommended: LaTeX/Mathematics

You can incorporate very nice looking mathematical formulas in R Markdown fairly easily. The system relies on LaTeX for displaying formulas and is surprisingly easy to learn. But every once in a while you want to do something a bit exotic, like placing a “hat” in your equation. I’ve typically just done a quick Google search on something like “LaTeX hat symbol” and each different search yields a different website. Recently, I stumbled up a fairly comprehensive guide to displaying mathematical formulas in LaTex. It is published as an eBook.

Note: Some of the examples require additional libraries like amsmath and I haven’t figured out yet how to take advantage of these libraries in R Markdown. Continue reading

# PMean: Make a loud mistake

I dated a piano major in college and I tried, with very limited success, to learn how to play the piano myself. She told me, “If you’re going to make a mistake, make a loud mistake.” You don’t want to play the piano nervously and hesitantly. The same is true in research. Continue reading

# Recommended: A Systematic Examination of the Citation of Prior Research

This was a nice study, and shows a very easy model to adapt to other research problems. The authors were concerned that many reports of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) seemed to miss out on citing previous RCTs on the same topic. So they dug out a bunch of meta-analysis and looked at the bibliographies of the individual RCTs in those trials. The meta-analysis gives you a reasonably comprehensive history of the RCTs done on a particular topic, and you would think that any RCTs in the meta-analysis should have cited any other RCT in that same meta-analysis that preceded it by at least one year. But that happened very rarely. Continue reading

# Recommended: How to write a literature review

This is a nice checklist of things that you should do when you are creating a literature review. Continue reading

# PMean: Citing one of my web pages

I got an inquiry by email asking if it was okay to cite one of my web pages. Here’s what I said, more or less. Continue reading