Medical Writing Writing Matters What's your problem? A practical approach to scientific document design

Volume 21, Issue 3 - Writing Matters

What's your problem? A practical approach to scientific document design


For science to be understood, assimilated, and further developed, it must be accessible through clear and concise writing. Science is about solving problems that often interlink with each other. To improve the clarity of scientific writing, every project should focus on solving a single problem and consequently every document should include a clearly articulated problem statement. The ‘What's your problem?’ exercise is a method for articulating a clear problem statement and then using this problem statement to guide the structure, design, and logic of the document. This exercise can be applied to the presentation of original research as a primary source document (papers, reports, dissertations) or to the interpretation or analysis of others’ primary research (literature reviews, opinion pieces, magazine articles).

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  2. Latka MH, Fielding K, Gray GE, Bekker L-G, Nchabeleng M, Mlisana K, et al. Pregnancy incidence and correlates during the HVTN 503 Phambili HIV vaccine trial conducted among South African Women. PLoS ONE 2012;7(4):1–8. e31387. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031387.
  3. Evans D. How to Write a Better Thesis or Report. Melbourne University Press, Victoria: 1996.



Writing Matters
Message from the President
EMWA news
Getting what you want from your scientific writing: tips for writing clearly
What's your problem? A practical approach to scientific document design
The joys of outlining in medical writing
Pleasing the reader by pleasing the eye—Part 1 The role of format and design in readability
Writing visually for medical writers
Quality control: getting the best out of your review
Pharmaceutical medical writing competencies: Comparing self-perception with employers' expectations
In the Bookstores
Journal Watch
The Webscout
Manuscript Writing
Regulatory writing
English Grammar and Style
Out On Our Own
Gained in Translation

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