UW School of Medicine III Requirement

Selective 2 – Final Paper Guidelines & Samples


Students who choose a Selective 2-Literature Review as their III project are required to submit a final paper by March 15, 2019.

The final paper must be in the form of a scientific paper. 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 they 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, 2019, and credit will not be given until it has been received.

Plagiarism is a serious violation of academic and professional ethics. We strongly advise 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.


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
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Tables and Figures

Further explanation of the above elements is provided below.

Your paper should be double-spaced, 12-point Calibri font, include page numbers, and be no less than 10 pages (excluding title page, tables, and figures).

Example Selective 2 Paper

  1. An example of a final Selective 2 paper is here
  2. An example of a published student literature review is here.
  3. Another example of a published literature review is here.

Use these to stimulate ideas of what figures and tables best convey your work and how to write a discussion of your results.

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 significant thought.

The abstract is a succinct summary of the paper and should be 250 words or less. The abstracts should be structured using the subheadings: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. The results presented in the abstract should include the main results that are pertinent to the primary objective or hypothesis. 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 what data sources you used and why, (2) your search strategy and how you came up with this strategy, and (3) inclusion and exclusion criteria for your articles. If you did any statistical analysis or your results, include that method here as well.

The results section is the heart of the paper. Start by describing the results of your search. How many articles ended up being included? Then describe the overall characteristics of your selected articles. What silos do they fall into (i.e. year published, by specialty, etc)? Next is your synthesis of the articles. Group them by a category such as theme (i.e. this paper), methods (i.e. RCTs, cohort studies, case-control), or chronology, and use this as a structure to write about the articles. If relevant, include data, strengths/weaknesses of the studies, or quotes. Don’t forget to include citations as you write.

The discussion should be an interpretation of the results. Begin a brief big picture view of your results. Then discuss the answers your results have provided for the research question originally posed. What is the meaning of the study to the field of medicine? What questions or directions for future research has the study generated? Include the limitations of your study and how those limitations could influence the results.

The conclusion is a summary paragraph of what is meaningful about this paper. What are the final points you want the reader to take away from your work?

Tables and Figures reflect your process and results. We recommend:

  1. A PRISMA diagram to show the process of how you selected articles to review, such as in Figure 1 of this paper. A template you can use to create this diagram is here.
  2. If you have < 30 selected articles, include a Table with the characteristics of selected articles that are relevant to your research question. An example is Table 1 in this paper.
  3. If you have more than 30 selected articles, consider displaying the characteristics of your selected articles in another way such as a graph of publications by year, or a table categorizing articles such as Table 3 of this paper.
  4. This paper has a variety of tables and figures to give you ideas of any other images that convey your results best.

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

Please contact Karla Kelly MD, III Education Specialist, with any questions.