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Guidelines for Submitting a Paper
For Duggan, Young, Burgin or Lawrence Award

The American Respiratory Care Foundation (ARCF) is pleased that you have chosen to submit a paper. Some of you may be seasoned writers, while others have never attempted a project of this magnitude. For those seasoned writers, this document will help you focus your topic, organize your paper, find reference sources and statistical methods, and guide your use of references from the scientific literature.

The papers submitted to the ARCF are either 1) literature reviews, 2) limited clinical investigations, or 3) essays. The presentation of papers in these three categories is quite different.

Literature Reviews

A literature review is just as its name implies: it is a review of the scientific literature that has been written on the chosen topic. Perhaps the most difficult part of writing a literature review is the selection and narrowing of your topic. It would be difficult in a brief presentation to comprehend the literature on a topic as broad as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as there have been hundreds of articles written on the topic. Therefore, this topic is considered be too broad. Conversely, if one were to choose to review a topic that had surfaced just within the last year, it would probably be difficult to find a substantial number of articles to complete a valuable review. The writer’s task is to begin with a broad topic, then narrow it down considerably. For instance, if you are interested in mechanical ventilation, this is a very broad topic. But if you are interested in positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP) implementation, the amount of literature is much more manageable. An excellent review of PEEP devices was presented by Kacmarek et al., in the December, 1982 issue of Respiratory Care, Chest, and American Review of Respiratory Disease, to name just a few.

Once you have chosen a topic, you next begin to gather references. An excellent description of how to gather and use references was published by Bob Fluck in the book by Chatburn . Once you have gathered and scanned the references, an outline of the review is prepared. If there are certain areas of your topic where the reference material is weak, ask your librarian or a faculty member to assist you in strengthening this area, or consider deleting the area if it is not essential or too peripheral.

After carefully reading the reference articles and making notations relative to the outline, you are ready to begin writing. Style is a big concern in literature reviews and, if you have read other reviews, you will want to closely follow one of the other authors’ styles with respect to how each component is developed. Numerous revisions of your paper will probably be necessary, so ask a faculty member or supervisor who has had some writing experience to read your drafts and make suggestions. Once you have completed this, you will be ready to prepare your list of references as described later.

Do’s and Don’ts for Literature Reviews


  1. Find a five-to-ten year old review on the same topic to provide a basis for your review.
  2. Use computer databases to find what has been written on your topic since the earlier review.
  3. Find and use a mentor to assist you in organizing and writing your paper, or follow a model.
  4. Narrow your topic to avoid those that have hundreds of references in the past few years.
  5. Read the literature review chapter in one or more research methodology texts.
  6. Base your review on a minimum of 20 references, with emphasis on current works. Give credit to the originators, not a contemporary author who may have merely cited the original work or just popularized the concept.


  1. Submit reviews that are based predominantly upon textbooks or monographs. This is not acceptable.
  2. Submit a paper that has run-on sentences, poor grammar, or typographical errors.
  3. Use dated references, except when providing the historical framework of your topic. References more than ten years old may be of little value.

Clinical Investigations

Clinical investigations differ from literature reviews in that they add some amount of new knowledge to the literature and are based upon some type of research activity other than database search. The report of a clinical investigation consists of an introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, summary and references. The February, 1984 and December, 1985 issues of RESPIRATORY CARE offer excellent guides for research paper preparation.

In the introduction, the researcher presents the work that has been done previously, the research proposal or question, and possibly a hypothesis. The materials and methods section is a detailed presentation of how the researcher intends to gather data, analyze it, and relate it to the previous findings. The results section is a presentation of the data in the form described in the methods section. The discussion section is an elaboration, expansion, or explanation of the results to the extent necessary for clarity. Otherwise, it is a statement with regard to the significance of the results. This includes comments on how the results relate to previous work and what impact the results may have on the field to which it relates.

Do’s and Don’ts for Clinical Investigations


  1. Collaborate with someone who has completed a clinical investigation before (physician, faculty member, colleague).
  2. Consult your institution’s Human Subjects Committee if your project involves patients in any way.
  3. Read the chapters on clinical research and statistical methods in good reference sources.
  4. Allow yourself at least six to nine months to conduct your study and prepare your report.


  1. Replicate studies that have already confirmed your hypothesis numerous times.
  2. Submit a paper that:
    1. Does not conform to the format of a clinical investigation.
    2. Has run-on sentences.
    3. Has poor grammar.
    4. Has typographical errors.


General Instructions for Submission

I. Publication Categories

The ARCF will accept scholarly work in the following categories: Clinical Investigation (original research, evaluation of a device, method, or technique) or Review of the Literature: comprehensive, critical reviews of the literature and state-of-the-art of a topic that has been the subject of at least 20 published reports. If there are more pertinent works, be sure to include all of the relevant information in your review.

II. Manuscript Preparation

The paper is to be typewritten and double spaced, with pages numbered. Carefully proofread the manuscript for completeness, clarity, grammar and spelling.

III. Manuscript Structure

  1. Research article
    1. Introduction including a brief comment about relevant previous work and a statement as to the purpose of the current study
    2. Materials and methods
    3. Results
    4. Discussion of results
    5. Summary and conclusion
    6. References
  2. Evaluation of Device/Method/Technique
    1. Introduction including statement of the purpose of the current evaluation
    2. Description of device/method/technique
    3. Evaluation method
    4. Results of evaluation
    5. Discussion, summary, and conclusion
    6. Product sources
    7. References
  3. Review of the Literature
    1. Table of contents or outline
    2. Introduction
    3. History
    4. Body of paper
    5. Discussion and summary
    6. References

IV. Tables and Illustrations

Photocopies of tables and illustrations are acceptable, provided they are clear and properly referenced. Photographs of items having multiple contrasts do not photocopy well. Consider including, in a neat fashion, an original photograph from the literature, or provide the item, device, or process in question as a line drawing.

V. Abstract

An abstract is a summary of the paper in 200 words or less. The abstract is placed on a separate page preceding the title and introduction. The abstract is headed by the title of the paper and the word “abstract.” Follow the form used from any article in RESPIRATORY CARE.

VI. Statistical Analysis

Use an abbreviation only if the term occurs several times in the paper. Write out the full term the first time it appears, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. Thereafter, employ the abbreviation alone. Never use an abbreviation without defining it. Do not create new abbreviations unless absolutely necessary.

VIII. References and How to Type Them

Use references to support statements of fact, indicate sources of information, or guide readers to further pertinent literature.

Cite only published work(s) accepted for publication. When listing an accepted, but still unpublished work, designate the accepting journal’s name followed by “(in press)”.

In the text, cite references by superscript numerals (half space above text), not in parentheses. The first reference cited in the text is number 1, the next is number 2, etc. In the reference list, place the cited works in the same numerical order.

For the reference list, obtain author names, article and book titles, dates, and volume and page numbers from the original cited articles and books, not from secondary sources such as other articles’ reference lists, which often are inaccurate.

Type references in medical-journal style. Examples appear at the end of these instructions. Abbreviate journal names such as in Index Medicus. A list of many journal-name abbreviations was published in RESPIRATORY CARE 1988;33:1050 (November 1988).

List ALL authors’ names. Do not use “et al.,” to substitute for names, except for those articles which have more than five authors, in which case list the first three followed by “et al.,” to indicate the reference has six or more authors. Identify abstracts, editorials, and letters as such. See examples below.

Personal Communications, Unpublished Papers, and Unpublished Observations: List unpublished items in parentheses in the text, not in the reference list.

Examples of How to Type References

Note: Although the examples here are printed with single-spaced lines, please double-space references in manuscripts. Also, note that words in article titles are not capitalized, except proper names. Some journals employ a different style.

Standard Journal Article

1. Sheperd KE, Johnson DC. Bronchodilator testing: An analysis of paradoxical responses. Respir Care 1988;33:667-671.

Corporate Author Journal Article

2. American Association for Respiratory Care. Criteria for establishing units for chronic ventilator-dependent patients in hospitals. Respir Care 1988;33:1044-1046.

Article in Journal Supplement

(Journals differ in their methods of numbering and identifying supplements. Supply sufficient information to allow retrieval.)

3. Reynolds HY. Idiopathic interstitial pulmonary fibrosis. Chest 1986;89 (3,suppl): 139s-143s.

Abstract in Journal

(Abstracts are not strong references; when possible, full papers should be cited. When cited, abstracts should be identified as such.)

4. Lippard DL, Myers TF, Kahn SE. Accuracy of pulse oximetry in severely hypoxic infants (abstract). Respir Care 1988;33:886.

Editorial in Journal

5. Rochester DF. Does respiratory muscle rest relieve fatigue or incipient fatigue? (editorial). AmRev. Respir Dis 1988;138:516-517.

Letter in Journal

6. Smith DE, Herd D, Gazzard BG. Reversible Bronchoconstriction with nebulized pentamidine (letter). Lancet 1988;2:905.

Personal Author Book

7. Nunn JF. Applied Respiratory Physiology. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1969.

Note: to specify pages cited in a book, place a colon after the year and then list the page(s). Examples: 1969:85 (one page), 1963:85-95 (series of continuous pages), 1963:85,95 (separate pages).

Corporate Author Book

8. American Medical Association Department of Drugs. AMA Drug Evaluations, 3rd ed. Littleton CO: Publishing Sciences Group, 1977.

Book with Editor, Compiler, or Chairman as ‘Author’

9. Guenter CA, Welch MH, eds. Pulmonary Medicine. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott, 1977.

Chapter in Book

10. Pierce AK. Acute respiratory failure. In: Guenter CA, Welch MH, eds. Pulmonary Medicine, Philadelphia: JB Lippincott, 1977:171-223.

Use these guidelines as you prepare your references. This is the format used for articles in the journal RESPIRATORY CARE. You can see how they are used by reading some articles in any issue. Other reference styles are available, but for the convenience of the reviewers and the possibility that you may want to submit your paper to RESPIRATORY CARE, it is advisable to use these guidelines. If you are an AARC member, you will already be receiving RESPIRATORY CARE. If you don’t currently receive this publication, we invite you to become a member or borrow a copy from a colleague who is a member.

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