This is one of my favorite resources. I come back to this same document, again and again. Every time I think about starting a new article, this one document is where I always go first. So, do yourself a favor and save this in your manuscripts folder.

  • Title and Abstract
  • Introduction – Why did you start?
    • Problem Description
      • Nature and significance of the local problem
    • Available Knowledge
      • Summary of what is currently known about the problem, including relevant previous studies
    • Rationale
      • Informal or formal frameworks, models, concepts, and/or theories used to explain the problem, any reasons or assumptions that were used to develop the intervention(s), and reasons why the intervention(s) was expected to work
    • Specific Aims
      • Purpose of the project and of this report
  • Methods – What did you do?
    • Context
      • Contextual elements considered important at the outset of introducing the intervention(s)
    • Intervention(s)
      • Description of the intervention(s) in sufficient detail that others could reproduce it
      • Specifics of the team involved in the work
    • Study of the Intervention(s)
      • Approach chosen for assessing the impact of the intervention(s)
      • Approach used to establish whether the observed outcomes were due to the intervention(s)
    • Measures
      • Measures chosen for studying processes and outcomes of the intervention(s), including rationale for choosing them, their operational definitions, and their validity and reliability
      • Description of the approach to the ongoing assessment of contextual elements that contributed to the success, failure, efficiency, and cost
      • Methods employed for assessing completeness and accuracy of data
    • Analysis
      • Qualitative and quantitative methods used to draw inferences from the data
      • Methods for understanding variation within the data, including the effects of time as a variable
    • Ethical Considerations
      • Ethical aspects of implementing and studying the intervention(s) and how they were addressed, including, but not limited to, formal ethics review and potential conflict(s) of interest
  • Results – What did you find?
    • Results
      • Initial steps of the intervention(s) and their evolution over time (e.g., time-line diagram, flow chart, or table), including modifications made to the intervention during the project
      • Details of the process measures and outcome
      • Contextual elements that interacted with the intervention(s)
      • Observed associations between outcomes, interventions, and relevant contextual elements
      • Unintended consequences such as unexpected benefits, problems, failures, or costs associated with the intervention(s).
      • Details about missing data
  • Discussion – What does it mean?
    • Summary
      • Key findings, including relevance to the rationale and specific aims
      • Particular strengths of the project
      • Interpretation
      • Nature of the association between the intervention(s) and the outcomes
      • Comparison of results with findings from other publications
      • Impact of the project on people and systems
      • Reasons for any differences between observed and anticipated outcomes, including the influence of context
      • Costs and strategic trade-offs, including opportunity costs
    • Limitations
      • Limits to the generalizability of the work
      • Factors that might have limited internal validity such as confounding, bias, or imprecision in the design, methods, measurement, or analysis
      • Efforts made to minimize and adjust for limitations
    • Conclusions
      • Usefulness of the work
      • Sustainability
      • Potential for spread to other contexts
      • Implications for practice and for further study in the field