Quantitative Original Articles - Specific Guidelines

Structure and recommendations for articles with a quantitative approach

Do not include any identifying information about the author(s) in the manuscript. Do not include acknowledgments until the article is accepted.

- Title in Portuguese and English

- Abstract  

Structure: Introduction, Objective(s), Method, Results, Conclusion. Maximum limit of 300 words.

Original research, systematic reviews and meta-analyses require structured abstracts. The abstract should provide the context or background for the study and should state the purpose of the study, basic methodological procedures, main results, and main conclusions. References should not be included and statistical significance values (e.g. p-value, confidence intervals, and other parameters) should not be reported. 

Keywords: minimum of 4 and maximum of 6, mostly validated in browsers of Mesh and DeCs indexing terms. These terms must be related to the concepts being studied.

- Introduction

It should clearly provide a context or basis for the study (i.e., the nature of the problem and its relevance). 

It should present the scientific, conceptual, or theoretical framework used as guidance for the study, identifying and providing an overview of the conceptual model and/or theory, where appropriate. Identify and define the main concepts or study variables. Explain the connections between the scientific hypothesis, conceptual model or theory and the study variables. Explain the connections between the study variables and provide justification for them in theoretical and empirical literature (preferably primary sources from the last 5 years). 

It should include the research objective, research question, or the hypothesis tested in the study in narrative form. 

Only key references should be cited and no data or conclusions from the reported work should be included.

- Method

The guiding principle of the Methods section should be to provide clarity about how and why a study was conducted in a particular way, in such a way as to allow it to be reproduced. 

 Study type - clearly identify the type of study.

Selection and description of participants

Identify: sampling strategies used; inclusion and exclusion criteria; participant recruitment; sample    size (and the population); power analysis or sample size calculation (if not appropriate or not performed, provide other justification for sample sizes). Authors should use neutral, accurate, and respectful language to describe study participants and avoid using stigmatizing terminology.

 Data collection

Present the materials and details of the procedures used for data collection; the options arising from different stages of the study (if appropriate); identify the data collection period (which should be no more than 3 years prior to the submission of the manuscript).

Data analysis

Describe the data analysis techniques, including the computer software used, if appropriate; describe the statistical analysis techniques (in sufficient detail to allow verification of the reported results); provide the measurements for increased confidence in the effect or precision of the estimate; define statistical terms, abbreviations and symbols. 

Validity, reliability and accuracy

Provide types and estimates of assessment accuracy and/or psychometric properties of quantitative instruments. If tools were developed for the study, describe the processes that were used, including validity and reliability testing.

Ethical and legal considerations

Identify any specific ethical issues associated with the research and explicitly state in the text that approval has been given by an ethics committee. If formal ethical scrutiny is not required to conduct the study, it should be stated that it is not applicable.

- Results

Start with a description of the sample characteristics. Separate reporting of data by demographic variables, such as age and sex, facilitates grouping of data for subgroups across studies and should be routine, unless there are reasons not to stratify the results, which should be explained.

Do not only provide numerical results as derivatives (e.g. percentages), but also as absolute numbers based on which the derivatives were calculated.

Provide data on all primary and secondary outcomes identified in the methods section (explicitly for each study objective or research question or hypothesis). Where appropriate, indicate whether each hypothesis was supported or rejected.

Present the results in a logical sequence in the text, tables and figures. Each figure/table must be referenced in the text. Do not repeat all data from tables or figures in the text; emphasize or summarize only the most important observations; tables/figures should be understandable without reference to the text, i.e., all abbreviations should be explained; all tests used must be identified and appropriate values should be provided.

Use graphs as an alternative to tables with many entries; do not duplicate data on graphs and tables.

Use subheadings as appropriate.

Extra or supplementary materials and technical details should be placed on an open science platform such as OSF, to be made available to readers through a hyperlink. 

- Discussion 

It is useful to begin the discussion by briefly summarizing the main findings and exploring possible mechanisms or explanations. The discussion should be drafted with reference to the conceptual or theoretical framework and the existing literature. New and important aspects of your study should be emphasized and analyzed in relation to previous research.

Discuss the influence or association of variables and the limitations of the data. Do not repeat details of data or other information provided elsewhere in the article, such as in the Introduction or Results sections.

Discuss the data in relation to the study objectives, but avoid statements that are not adequately supported by the data and differentiate between clinical and statistical significance, if appropriate.

Highlight how new knowledge can contribute to new conceptualizations or question existing ones. For example, it may: lead to the development of experimental/substantive theories (or even hypotheses); advance/question existing theories or provide methodological depth; or provide data with implications for clinical practice. It is Important to highlight what the work adds to the existing topic.

- Conclusion

Provide real conclusions in response to the study objectives, not just a summary/repeat of the results. Draw conclusions about the appropriateness of the theory/conceptual model in relation to the data. 

State the limitations of your study, including but not limited to sample representativeness and/or sample size and generalizations/external validity of the results. 

Identify implications/recommendations for practice / research / education / management as appropriate, and in accordance with limitations. 

Submission: The article should be submitted together with the checklist for quantitative article proposals, available for consultation in the file Original quantitative article checklist.