Research Steps

Important steps

The idea

As a PhD student, it's crucial to understand that research ideas always—let me emphasize, always—stem from a deep and comprehensive understanding of the existing literature. 

Your starting point should be immersing yourself in the latest scholarly papers, reviews, and articles in your field to identify the open questions with the potential for clinical impact. If you wish to deepen your intellectual arsenal, don't hesitate to delve into literature from interdisciplinary or even unrelated areas. Remember, groundbreaking ideas typically emerge in one of two ways: 

So keep reading, keep questioning, and keep connecting the dots. 

The research question, aim and objectives

When starting a new research project, it is important to develop a sound research question. This is a crucial step in the research process, as it will guide your research activity. Therefore, you should not rush to write an effective research question.

A properly written research question has several characteristics.

Major Steps to Write a Research Question

Often, you already have a broader subject that interests you. For example, say organismal biology. However, this alone will get you nowhere, whether you are a graduate student or professor writing for a grant. Following steps can help you to organize priorities.


Writing the paper

Writing a research paper is an organized endeavor that often starts with a thorough exploratory data analysis and a careful examination of your results. Identify the most critical figure or table from your findings, which will serve as your narrative's cornerstone. In essence, you're writing the story of this figure or table. Before diving in, you should clearly understand the author list. Then, proceed in the following order:

Always start with a template or reporting guideline, Find it according to your study design here: 

0. Download the reporting guideline. Transform it in a template document. Keep the Headings and fill the requested information in this order: 

By adhering to this structured approach, you'll increase the clarity and impact of your paper.

Suggested reading: 

The ABC of academic writing: non-native speakers’ perspective

Writing and Publishing Scientific Papers A Primer for the Non-English Speaker free online book

Tools I usually use during this process:

The peer-review process

The peer review process is essential for identifying weaknesses in your research paper. When you receive comments from reviewers, make sure to compile a list and address each point thoroughly. Integrating most of the feedback usually enriches the quality of your paper. It's acceptable to disagree with a reviewer, but if you choose to do so, be prepared to present a well-reasoned argument for not implementing the suggested change.

Extending the impact of your research

After your research paper is published, the work isn't over yet; it's crucial to disseminate your findings to reach the widest possible audience and make a lasting impact. Here's what you should consider doing post-publication:

Scientific writing and poster presentations


Writing (general): Equator-Network

Simera, I., Altman, D.G., 2013. Reporting medical research. Int. J. Clin. Pract. 67, 710–716.`


Gemayel, R., 2018. How to design an outstanding poster. FEBS J. 285, 1180–1184.

Fixing academic posters: the #BetterPoster approach:  

Poster presentation: (Poster templates here)

PhD Final Presentation

Write the abstract