Writing Best Practices
Writing for TrialSite---Connect with a Worldwide Audience Hungry for Objective Health & Medical Research Summaries and Reports
TrialSite News is disrupting health and medical-related scientific communications with the world’s first social authoring network combined with a media platform with worldwide readership. One principle behind TrialSite’s success has been that we take relatively complex to complex scientific research and breakdown and simplify for wider audiences. Ultimately scientists and other medical professionals such as physicians and nurses appreciate the easier to digest and consume content.
Our goal with TrialSite is to make health and medical scientific research content easy to read and to understand, eliminating some of the jargon, acronyms and other “code-speak” moving away from dry and abstract, to more lively, dynamic and relevant to a broader audience. Although most scientific progress occurs not in revolutionary cycles but rather incrementally, over time. Thus, medical scientific progress may be more difficult to write about but it’s key here to learn to do just that for the TrialSite audience.
If you want to maximize success writing for the TrialSite we must learn to translate our medical and health-related scientific output into common language that’s easily understood by a wider audience. In TrialSite the secret to success involves the translation of research content into more simplified, yet dynamic and interesting for a more public audience.
TrialSite has spent the last few years working to improve what’s known as the layperson summary, also called a significance statement, or nontechnical summary is authored in an accessible language, briefly describing the research results (or other health and medical research-focused endeavor) in accessible language. Briefly describe your study hypothesis, research findings or health policy related output in terms that are understandable to an educated person without the specialized training associated with the scientific topic.
Writing for TrialSite? We recommend the following principles:
In the first paragraph describe the core themes or highest-level challenges you seek to address with your research
Then in the next few sentences you should describe the context of your topic, whether it’s answering a hypothesis or taking on a complex research-focused health policy.
In the second paragraph consider a summary of the primary study methods used to come to your conclusion. Typically this represents three to five sentences where you remain as objective as possible; acknowledge competitive research propositions for example yet articulate why you think your approach may advance the field. Note that the background paragraph establishes the need for the study, methods, approach or even technology tool used in drug development for example.
As you author your third paragraph, focus on your thesis, hypothesis or research methods. Introduce the experiment summary (if a study) and highlight whether it was a randomized controlled trial, observational, registry or other measure. Keep this section under five sentences if possible.
The fourth paragraph should emphasize a summary breakdown of the findings of the study or research effort. What are the study results? Keep to a few sentences if possible and showcase data backing your evidence. Remember the more objective and unbiased you sound the more credibility is the article.
In the fifth paragraph if possible secure a quote, bringing a human element into the article. Remember we at TrialSite are working diligently to bring personality and human interest into science. Why was the study important? Or what was notable about the partnership or collaboration? How supportive was the trial site staff? What are the classes of patients that can benefit?
For the sixth paragraph introduce limitations. The more you are open to the challenges in your own work the more you will connect with others—consider assumptions in place that are relevant for the study findings. For objective studies, think about limitations and assumptions that could shift your findings.
Finally in the seventh paragraph summarize with a two to four sentence connecting how the research could someday be used while linking the conclusion back to the high-level problem statement or hypotheses started toward the beginning of the piece.
Remember that different studies have different conclusions and that your goal is to simplify enough so that the reader can make his/her/their own conclusion. Ideally you avoid using TrialSite for more biased arguments. How did the research support the assumptions or hypothesis behind the high-level challenges identified upfront?
TrialSite Dos and Don’ts for a concise, objective, well-written communication involving health and medical science related topics.
Consider a specific audience (e.g., audience as at least B.S. of sciences)
Remember context is key---what does your research matter? How does it matter? What are the obstacles or challenges?
Remember you are not writing academic treatises here at TrialSite—always remember to go back to ‘Keep it Simple, even casual as we do not want to bore our audience
Where and when possible be specific about research findings, demonstrate or showcase quantitative or qualitative progress in a disease or in a clinical trial, or for that matter observational study at major health system or individual that wants to capitalize on the platform to build an audience, drive insight or even connect with sponsors and investors for future research.
Remember to remain as objective as possible. While you don’t have to write that way, we find the best results as so much content in health and research scientific communications is highly biased. People come to TrialSite for a more objective, independent point of view.