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UW School of Medicine III Requirement

III Final Papers & Evaluations

Students who choose a Selective 1, including the MSRTP, or a Selective 2 as their III project are required to submit a final paper by March 15 following the summer of their research.

The final paper must be in the form of a scientific paper (no less than 10 pages excluding title page, abstract, tables, and figures). Papers must be submitted even if final data collection and/or analysis is not yet complete. The student must be the sole author of the paper submitted for III credit, even if she/he has collaborated with another student or faculty member. Students are free to revise their papers after submitting them if, for example, there are plans to present the paper for publication under joint authorship at a later date.

Faculty sponsors must review and evaluate their students’ papers and submit a Faculty Sponsor Evaluation directly to Curriculum. The evaluation is also due on March 15, and credit will not be given until it has been received.

Plagiarism is a serious violation of academic and professional ethics. We stronglyadvise that you read the School of Medicine Student Handbook (PDF) to familiarize yourself with the violations that constitute plagiarism.

The Health Sciences Library has a guide to resources and writing to support your III work.

Take a look at some sample final papers:

Sample MSRTP final paper

Sample Selective 1 final paper

Sample Selective 2 final paper

Format

Your report should be in the form of a scientific paper, and should include these components:

  • Title Page (separate page from body of text)
  • Abstract (separate page from body of text)
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References
  • Tables and Figures

Fuller explanation of the above elements is provided below.

Your paper should include page numbers, be double-spaced, and be no less than 10 pages.

Submission

Please submit your paper to the Curriculum office, and have your faculty advisor send her/his evaluation directly to our office. Be sure to allow plenty of time for your sponsor to review your paper and complete the evaluation form before the March 15th deadline. You should consider touching base with your sponsor well in advance to find out how much time she or he will need to review the paper. After your paper has been reviewed and approved, you will receive a letter confirming that you have fulfilled the III requirement and credit will be awarded.

Questions? Please contact the Curriculum office.

Paper Components Explained

The title should be brief and narrowly focused. The final paper will become a permanent part of your curriculum vitae (CV), so give the title considerable thought.

The abstract is a succinct summary of the paper’s methods and results. The abstract should be about 300 words or less. Structured abstracts are generally easier to read, and include short subheadings such as Background, Objective, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. The Background section of the abstract is sometimes omitted and incorporated into the Objective(s). The results presented in the abstract should include the main results that are pertinent to the primary objective or hypothesis. The results should include specific details (such as means and standard deviations or odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals) with results of the statistical tests (p values). The conclusions should be supported by the results shown in the abstract.

The introduction provides a rationale for why the study was done. Think of the introduction as a funnel. It can begin with a broad introduction to the issues, but quickly narrows its focus to the specific research problem being investigated. It should first convince the reader that there is an important research problem needing resolution and second, lead the reader to conclude that the obvious next step in solving the problem is your study. By the end of the introduction, the reader should understand what your study was about and why it was an important study to do.

The materials and methods section ought to contain enough detail to enable another investigator to replicate your study. This should include how subjects were selected (inclusion and exclusion criteria), how subjects were contacted and recruited, what measurements were taken, and what statistical methods were used. If you are following methods that have been published elsewhere, you can refer to the citation rather than describe the methods in detail. (For example: Radiographs were graded following the recommendations of Spencer, et al. 13.)

The results section is the heart of the paper. The first results reported describe the sample in detail. This includes survey response rate, subject demographics, etc. If the study uses new or questionable methods, data regarding their validity should also be presented early. Following this, report the data that is most significant to the primary hypothesis of the study. Be sure to include numerical values, means, proportions, and odds ratios, and not just p-values. Secondary results can be presented later, but you do not need to report all the data you collected. Do not choose what to include based on statistical significance but on the objectives of the study. The results should be presented in a well-organized manner.

The text should refer to tables and graphs but should not reiterate the information contained in them. The text can, however, guide the reader toward the message contained in the table or graph: “Table 1 shows that the treatment and control groups were comparable in age and disease severity,” or something like, “Pain was about 30% lower in the treatment group relative to the control group at all three times of measure, as shown in Figure 3.”

The discussion should be an interpretation of the results. Begin by providing an answer to the research question posed earlier. Include the limitations of your study and how those limitations could influence the results. Comment on the validity and generalizability of the study. After considering the weaknesses, what is the meaning of the study for the field of medicine? What questions has the study resolved? What questions or directions for future research has the study generated?

Cite References as a list at the end of your paper.