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Review Criteria


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Following the common IMRaD format for scientific research reports, the authors present review criteria and discuss background information and issues related to the review criteria for each section of a research report.

Introduction. The authors discuss the criteria reviewers should be aware of for establishing the context for the research study: prior literature to introduce and describe the problem statement, the conceptual framework (theory) underlying the problem, the relevance of the research questions, and the justification of their research design and methods.

Method. The authors discuss a variety of methods used to advance knowledge and practice in the health professions, including quantitative research on educational interventions, qualitative observational studies, test and measurement development projects, case reports, expository essays, and quantitative and qualitative research synthesis. As background information for reviewers, the authors discuss how investigators use these and other methods in concert with data-collection instruments, samples of research participants, and data-analysis procedures to address educational, policy, and clinical questions. The authors explain the key role that research methods play in scholarship and the role of the reviewer in judging their quality, details, and richness.

Results. The author describes issues related to reporting statistical analyses in the results, particularly data that do not have many of the properties that were anticipated when the data analysis was planned. Further, the author discusses the presentation of the body of evidence collected within the study, offering information for reviewers on evaluating the selection and organization of data, the balance between descriptive and inferential statistics, narrative presentation, contextualization of qualitative data, and the use of tables and figures.

Discussion. The authors provide information to enable reviewers to evaluate whether the interpretation of the evidence is adequately discussed and appears reliable, valid, and trustworthy. Further, they discuss how reviewers can weigh interpretations, given the strengths and limitations of the study, and can judge the generalizability and practical significance of conclusions drawn by investigators.

Title, authors, and abstract. The author discusses a reviewer's responsibility in judging the title, authors, and abstract of a manuscript submitted for publication. While this triad orients the reader at the beginning of the review process, only after the manuscript is analyzed thoroughly can these elements be effectively evaluated.

Other. The authors discuss the reviewer's role in evaluating the clarity and effectiveness of a study's written presentation and issues of scientific conduct (plagiarism, proper attribution of ideas and materials, prior publication, conflict of interest, and institutional review board approval).

Section Description

Review Criteria for Research Manuscripts

Joint Task Force of Academic Medicine and the GEA-RIME Committee

© 2001 Association of American Medical Colleges