How to Write your Final Paper

Scholarship results in a publicly accessible project that allows others to build on your work and advance knowledge in the field. Presenting your work can impact change and future direction. Scholarship of Integration students accomplish this by presenting their work in the form of a Final Paper.

This section describes the structure for your Final Paper. The format should be 12-point Calibri font, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins. The length is typically 10 pages at minimum. This includes a title page, a separate page for your abstract, the main text, and your tables. The reference list (i.e. your bibliography) is not included in the page count.

The Title Page should include the title of your paper, your name, your Faculty Mentor’s name, academic term, and year. For example:

The Association of Hormone Replacement Therapy and Stroke: A Narrative Review


James Johnson, BS


Faculty Mentor: Jane Foster, MD

Fall 2018

Submitted in fulfillment of

III Scholarship of Integration

The title you choose should be brief and narrowly focused. It will become a permanent part of your curriculum vitae, so give it considerable thought. It does not need to be identical to the title on your proposal.

The Abstract is a succinct summary of the paper in 250 words or less. It should have the headings: Purpose, Methods, Results, Conclusions. Write the abstract last. This is when you have the best overview of your paper.

The Introduction provides a rationale for why your study was done (usually 3-5 paragraphs). Start by introducing the topic and what is known. Then identify what is unknown (the gap in knowledge), leading to the specific research question at hand. Next, clearly articulate your research question. Why is this question important to answer? Justify your answer with data if possible. If have been prior literature reviews on your question, describe them, emphasizing their strengths and limitations, and explain why there is a need for a new review on the topic. If there have been no prior reviews, describe any reviews with questions similar to your own that might apply. By the end of the introduction, the reader should understand what your study is about and why it is an important study to do.

The Methods section must contain enough detail to enable another investigator to replicate your study. This section must describe:

  1. The research question, including aims and hypotheses (the latter if relevant).
  2. Your search strategy (i.e. search terms, databases used, how your initial strategy was refined to your final strategy)
  3. Inclusion and exclusion criteria and rationale for each
  4. Data abstraction (i.e. what information you gathered from each article)
  5. How you synthesized the results (i.e. if you divided results by themes, how did you choose these themes? If you divided results by study design, why did you choose to do so?)

The Results section is where you organize and synthesize the data you have gathered. Use the following structure: Literature found, characteristics, study quality, and synthesis.

Literature found: Describe the number of studies identified in the search, the number included and excluded, the number remaining for full review, the number of final papers selected for your synthesis, and any special issues that arose during this process. This should be accompanied by a PRISMA diagram (

Characteristics of included literature: Describe a few (three to five) of the most salient study features. For example, types of journals they were published in, themes they could be divided into, types to studies, etc. Include a table of these characteristics (see Table 1 in the Example Tables at the end of this section).

Study quality: If this was a systematic review or meta-analysis, describe the most important aspects of study quality. For example, how many were of high quality, what was the scoring range of the papers as a whole.

Synthesis: Present the results of the narrative (for narrative or scoping reviews) or quantitative data analysis (for meta-analyses). The synthesis narrative should distill the evidence into a clear message for readers. Before you start writing, decide how you will group the literature. Are there themes that your articles fall into? Do they best group by study design? Consider the question you are trying to answer with your literature review as you consider how to group your results. Tips on organizing your results can be found here:

Articles that support a similar point (either favorable or unfavorable to the overall conclusion) should be grouped together rather than listed individually. For example, ‘It appears that intervention X improves outcomes. Five randomized trials addressed this issue; four found favorable results and one found no significant difference.’ Discuss differences between the studies (i.e. such as in design, participants, interventions or instruments) that might have influenced the results.

Finally, this section should include an evidence table that contains information on the key features of each included study (see Example Table 2). In this example table, there are columns for the first author, year, and study design, and a short description of the study population. For example, if we were studying the effect of hormone replacement therapy on stroke, you might have a table that included “post-menopausal women aged 50-85.” Under therapy or exposure, you might write “cyclic hormone therapy.” For outcomes, you might write the variables: incidence of ischemic stroke and incidence of hemorrhagic stroke. For results, you could report odds ratios, relative risks, incidence or other measures. The purpose of your review would guide you as to which to select. The comment column is for information that affects the interpretation of the results. For example, were results adjusted for age?

If you have more than 20 studies, consider dividing your evidence table in the same manner that you grouped your synthesis. For example, a section for randomized control trials, a section for case-control studies, and a section for meta-analyses.

The Discussion is an interpretation of the results. Divide the Discussion into at least four sections pertaining to: summary, integration with previous reviews, limitations, and implications for practice and future research.

Summary: Begin by providing an answer to your research question. Recap (but do not restate) the most important results, including key uncertainties if any.

Integration: discuss how the present review supports, contradicts or extends the findings of previous relevant reviews. In addition to considering reviews in the present field of study, it is often helpful to draw parallels with findings in other fields (e.g. clinical medicine, other education topics, or non-medical education)

Limitations: Acknowledge the review’s limitations and unique strengths. How do the limitations influence the results of your review?

Implications: Outline two to four main points that can be immediately applied in practice or will provide a starting point for future research. Note that there is no need for a separate conclusions section; the implications are your conclusions

References should be in AMA (American Medical Association) style and cited throughout your paper where relevant (i.e. the synthesis section of the results). Insert the bibliography at the end of your paper, also in AMA style, and ensure that references are not listed twice under different numbers. If you need help with reference software, please consult with our Health Sciences Librarian, Rachel Blume.

Example Table 1: Study Characteristics

Characteristic Number (%)
Study Type
   Prospective Observational Study # of studies / # total studies (xx%)
   Retrospective Cohort Study  
   Cross-sectional Study  
Study Location  
   North and Central America  
   South America  
   Prenatal Care  
   Maternal Health  
   Infant Health  


Example Table 2: Evidence Table of Included Studies

** This table is typically in landscape orientation

First Author, Year Study Design and Study Population Therapy or Exposure Outcomes Results Comments



For an example of an excellent Scholarship of Integration paper, click hereNote, this paper includes a meta-analysis (Figures 2, 3, 4), which is not a requirement for Scholarship of Integration.