Starting or Strengthening a Drug Bulletin - A Practical Manual
(2005; 165 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentPreface
View the documentHow the manual was produced
View the documentAbout ISDB
View the documentExecutive summary
Open this folder and view contents1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. Rational use of medicines
Open this folder and view contents3. What are drug bulletins?
Open this folder and view contents4. Defining aims, target and type of bulletin
Open this folder and view contents5. Planning resources
Open this folder and view contents6. Planning bulletin production: schedules and timing
Close this folder7. The editorial process
View the document7.1 Outline of the editorial process
Open this folder and view contents7.2 Editing a drug bulletin
Close this folder7.3 Writing bulletin articles
View the document7.3.1 Finding and motivating authors
View the document7.3.2 Rewarding authors
View the document7.3.3 Writing an article
View the document7.3.4 Outlining the topic
View the document7.3.5 Searching for documentation
View the document7.3.6 The first draft
View the document7.3.7 Discuss the draft with an editor
Open this folder and view contents7.4 Reviewing the article
View the document7.5. Rewriting the article
View the document7.6 Final checks
Open this folder and view contents7.7 Follow-up after publication
View the document7.8 References
Open this folder and view contents8. Reviewing a new drug: is it a therapeutic advance?
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexe to Chapter 8: Evaluating harm
Open this folder and view contents9. Design and production
Open this folder and view contents10. Dissemination
Open this folder and view contents11. Organizational and legal issues
Open this folder and view contents12. Evaluating quality and usefulness
Open this folder and view contents13. Partnership and collaboration
Open this folder and view contents14. Keeping records and creating a memory
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix: Electronic sources of information
 

7.3.6 The first draft

The first draft should be developed around the central questions identified when an outline was prepared for the topic, using the results of the literature search to see if you have the information you need. Constantly keep the reader and target audience in mind and aim to produce a draft that is as concise and clear as possible, avoiding ambiguity. The Healthlink Worldwide guide to good writing5 is a useful reference on wording, length of sentences and priorities for information presentation. Aim to build the article logically and make it easy for the reader to understand how and why you have drawn your conclusions.

The ISDB experience in training sessions is that an article should not be too long if it is to be easily understood by readers. You may be able to split a long article in to two parts. Box 7.4 presents a few tricks drug bulletin editors use to simplify technical explanations.

As an author, during the writing phase you are on your own. The first step in quality control is up to you. Reread and check the draft carefully before sending it out for review. The cleaner the draft, the more relevant reviewers’ comments will be.

Box 7.4 A few ways to simplify complex articles

• Include less important facts as footnotes.

• Use boxes for practical tips, information aimed at specific readers, or to highlight a risk for patients.

• Use titles and subtitles to summarise information and provide clear conclusions. This allows readers to skim an article for key messages.

• Be obsessive about cutting and shortening sentences, especially on very technical topics such as analysis of clinical trials.

• Avoid superlatives. A therapy is rarely THE absolute best choice in any circumstance. Instead, provide clear therapeutic strategies and facilitate choice.

• Separate clear description of facts from editorial comments.

• Use the right verb tense to distinguish between things that are already known and things that should still be tested.

• Ban words that are too technical and avoid unnecessary use of abbreviations.

• If you use tables or graphs, make sure that labelling and headings are simple and clear.

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