Back to top

Medical, Health Promotion & Public Health Journals

A. How To Write An Article For A Medical Journal - Suggestions

Excerpts from the New Authors Workshop given by:

Barry D. Weiss MD, Editor Family Medicine

North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG)

25th Anniversary Annual Meeting

November 12, 1997

Orlando, Florida

To be successful . READ, READ, READ; select the journal to publish in FIRST; follow the journal's instructions for authors AND the "Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals"*; articulate the main point of your article in the first one to two sentences; try writing your conclusion first.


In NO MORE than a couple of paragraphs

Answer the following questions:

~ what general problem will be discussed?

~ what specific issue within the problem will be discussed?

~ what have others done to address the specific issue [ "your command of the literature is demonstrated in how concise your introduction is" . six studies showed .]

~ what still needs to be done, or what is still unknown?

~ what do YOU plan to do [AIM OF THE STUDY]


Can be separated by SUB-TITLED paragraphs

Discuss each of the following, someone else should be able to replicate your study with the information included in this section:

~ overview statement (e.g. pilot study; Randomized Control Trial)

~ setting

~ subjects - methods of inclusion (how they were picked)

~ interventions

~ instruments used (e.g. 25-item questionnaire - can include reference)

~ data analysis - explain tests if needed


MUST BE tied to methods

~ present what you said you did, in the same order given in the methods section

~ don't leave things out

~ don't add new things not discussed in methods section


~ what is (are) the main findings of your study?

~ why are those findings important?

~ what might limit acceptance of your findings?

~ Overall Conclusion - based on results


~ expect to write MANY drafts

~ have someone critically review your paper

~ if your paper is too long is it because there are TWO separate ideas


~ avoid jargon &/or explain what you mean (e.g. semi-structured interviews - explain what you did, what you asked)

~ BE CLEAR, avoid words like "this" or "it"

~ take a REST from your paper and then revise it


Most journals have some instructions for authors submitting articles. The instructions are usually found in the front the journal with the information about subscribing to the journal. If you are submitting to a biomedical journal, you should get a copy of "Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals". New England Journal of Medicine, February 7, 1991.


If you have other suggestions, please send an email to Alison Stirling or to Debbie Bang . The suggestions will be published in a future OHPE bulletin.

~ Health Promotion in Canada

~ Canadian Journal of Public Health - for submission guidelines contact CJPH 400-1565 avenue Carling Avenue; Ottawa, ON, K1Z 8R1 Tel: (613) 725-3769; Fax (613) 725-9826 or see web-site at

~ American Journal of Health Promotion

~ American Public Health Journal

~ Canadian Family Physician

~ Canadian Medical Association Journal -

Barry Weiss is Editor of Family Medicine and Professor and Chairperson, Department of Family Practice, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas, USA. e-mail =

Submitted by Debbie Bang

B. Examples of Journals "Instructions to Authors"



Includes details on:


Cover letter;

Manuscript preparation - which includes - Tables & figures, Original Research Articles, Survey articles, Systematic Review articles, Clinical Practice Guides or Consensus Statements, Case descriptions, Editorials, Program Descriptions and Book Reviews;

Peer review;





Letters to the editor



Submission of manuscripts

Articles must be submitted in English. Attach a brief summary of about 300 words, together with no more than four `key words' to aid literature searching. Send four copies of manuscripts to the Editor in

Chief together with the originals and two photocopies of any illustrations. Only the originals of illustrations will be returned to authors if a paper is not accepted for publication.

The Editorial Office will correspond directly with authors on the acceptability of their papers. Authors may not submit manuscripts that are under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Manuscript layout

Manuscripts must be typewritten on one side of the page only, with wide margins on high-quality paper using double spacing throughout. Each page of the manuscript should be numbered. The front page should contain the article title, author's full name and affiliation and a summary that is intelligible without recourse to the main text. Articles should not normally exceed 4000 words.


References should be listed at the end of the main text using the Harvard system, whereby the surname of the author and year of publication of the reference are used in the text. The list of

references should be in alphabetical order of surnames.

References by the same author(s) should be in chronological order.

The normal form of listed references is author's surname, initials; year in parenthesis; article title; journal name in full, volume number and page numbers.



For a comprehensive list of on-line health-related newsletters, and academic journals - Eberhardt Wenzel in Brisbane Australia has put such a list onto the Virtual Public Health Library web-site at

in which he has links to web-sites that include:

American Journal of Health Promotion

American Journal of Public Health

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

Australian Medical Journal

British Medical Journal

Canadian Medical Association Journal -

[Instructions to authors:]

Environmental Health Perspectives

The European Journal of Public Health

Harvard Public Health Review

Health Education Research

Health Promotion International

Health Promotion Journal of Australia

International Child Health

International Journal of Health Services

Internet Journal of Health Promotion

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

MedWeb: Public Health

New England Journal of Medicine

RACHEL's Environment and Health Weekly

Risk: Health, Safety & Environment

Social History of Medicine

Social Science & Medicine

[prepared by Alison Stirling]



Paula Neves of the Alcohol Policy Network wrote:

I'm wondering if you would consider including in future editions of the bulletin a weekly headline news summary of health-related stories. Perhaps a few of us could volunteer to review certain dailies, weeklies or even local monthly newspapers for stories related to our particular area of expertise and email summaries to you...

Alison Stirling responds:

That is an interesting idea - a weekly headline health news summaries, with contributions from readers! It would certainly fit with the concept of this Bulletin as a news exchange among people interested in health promotion.

I would like to invite contributions. Are there volunteers to search and compile Stories and headlines? One way to keep down the information overload is to provide a headline summary.

Paula Neves wrote:

I'm working on a new section of the Alcohol Policy Network Web site called Clippings and Headlines. Below is what I've come up with so far...(I'll include a link to OHPE). Suggestions for additional links

would be appreciated.


NEWS & VIEWS - Clippings & Headlines

Keep on top of hot issues by searching the following media sites for the latest alcohol-related stories and announcements.

i) Health News information sources

Canadian newspapers

Canadian Press wire

Canadian Health Network

Sympatico Health site

ii) US & international news indexes; libraries, journal and health sources

Yahoo! News and Media list

Reuters US health news site

European News Digest, Eurocare's bi-monthly summary of alcohol-related news

UPDATE, email headline news summary of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia

Press Digest from the UK's Institute for Alcohol Studies

Your Health Daily, New York Times

Newsletters & Bulletins

Alcohol Policy Update, The Alcohol Policy Network's bi-monthly fax newsletter Alcohol Alert, a quarterly bulletin of the (US) National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism

Action News, The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse's quarterly newsletter

Booze News, The (US) Centre for Science in the Public Interest's quarterly newsletter

BACCHUS Canada monthly newsletter

The Daily News, Statistics Canada's summary of research

FAS/FAE Information Service

Current Insurance E-News, periodic news items from Insurance Canada

The Journal of Addiction & Mental Health - Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (formerly ARF Journal)

Safety Canada Online, Canada Safety Council's quarterly newsletter

Teen ADD's quarterly newsletter

MADD Canada quarterly newsletter


The Globe and Mail

The Toronto Star

The Toronto Sun

Southam on the Web


Other newspapers





Canadian Press Media Links

Gebbie Press US Media Links

Email us additional links.

[link to e-mail]