Project Summary

This website has a focus on scientific communication and manuscript writing. Specifically, communicating with the scientific community about an epidemiological study that has been designed to answer a particular health research question and appropriately interpreting the study results. Students often write research articles suitable for submission to an academic peer-reviewed health journal for publication. However, a general challenge of teaching scientific communication is that most of the associated teaching materials and references are either overly general (not discipline-specific, do not take into account applications to healthcare), or not openly accessible (expensive textbooks). Also, students have varying academic backgrounds, and many are not familiar with new scientific writing collaboration tools that (i) are helpful for managing collaborative projects and (ii) can aid in conducting reproducible research. This OER project allows us to make the course content open to health researchers who struggle with scientific writing and introduce them to tools that will help them manage collaborative group research projects.

The project aims to create and share openly accessible high-quality OER content through a step-by-step educational guide on how to write scientific articles for peer-reviewed journals, with a specific focus on communicating with the health research community. Specific topics include:

  1. Scientific writing basics, components of a good research question
  2. Writing the ‘Introduction’ section, identifying a gap in the literature
  3. Writing the ‘Methods’ section, describing the data sources/collection, study design, and statistical analysis
  4. Presenting tables and figures, and writing the ‘Results’ section
  5. Writing the ‘Discussion’ section, interpreting results, stating the implications, strengths and limitations of the study, and future research
  6. Introducing tools for managing collaborative scientific writing projects and reproducible research (e.g., RMarkdown, GitHub).

Project Goals

Background: The materials of this website has been used for teaching a UBC course (SPPH 504-007 by Dr. Ehsan Karim). In this course, one of the components is the communication of scientific research findings through scientific writing. The specific goals are stated below.

Goals: The goals of the project are to (1) create and update course content and materials as open educational resources (OERs), and (2) openly share a step-by-step guide (i.e., written OER content, primarily text) on how to write scientific articles for peer-reviewed journals (in the “IMRaD” format; structured in the following sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion). (3) Introduce some cutting-edge tools helpful for managing collaborative scientific writing projects and conducting reproducible research (e.g., RMarkdown, GitHub).

Implication: One obvious implication is increased accessibility to students. Currently, the course SPPH 504-007 is restricted to SPPH Ph.D. students. This content has been made suitable for open access and will potentially help health researchers across campus interested in publishing manuscripts on their health data research. Examples of people who will directly benefit from this open access project include: master’s students (e.g., MSc, MPH, MHA, who cannot currently register for this course), researchers from all the Departments in the UBC Faculty of Medicine, and any other Departments with researchers that conduct healthcare and biomedical data analysis and research.

Format: Content is primarily text, that are placed on an openly accessible GitHub page. Short videos are embedded to summarize important sections of the content.


We also acknowledge the GTA allocation from SPPH for the course.

Version history

Initial outlines were created for SPPH 504-007 during 2018-2021. In 2021, though OER Fund Rapid Innovation Grant (together with Dr. Suborna Ahmed) and Work Learn program, a GRA was hired to convert the outlines to drafts, that were revised and updated by other contributors.

Contributor list

Dahn Jeong SPPH, UBC
Fardowsa Yusuf SPPH, UBC
Ehsan Karim SPPH, UBC


The online version of this book is licensed under the Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) International License. You may share, and adapt the content.

How to cite

Karim ME, Jeong D, Yusuf F (2021) Scientific Writing for Health Research. URL:

Feedback form

Feel free to reach out for any comments, corrections, suggestions.

Visitors of this website are encouraged to provide feedback regarding how to improve it to make it more accessible to the general medical researchers. Here is the feedback form.