Briefly explain why this topic is important, where the amount of description needed will depend on the journal audience. A general journal needs a broad overview, while
a specialist journal requires more insight.

Describe what is known from the published literature. For well-researched topics, cite systematic reviews or meta-analyses. For more recent work, cite original studies. Ensure you have these references to hand and re-read key points to be confident you cite them correctly. For organising and annotating references, use one of the free reference management systems (Zotero or Mendeley). Based on your evaluation of the literature, identify the research gap that your paper addresses.

Many journals now request authors describe the literature search used to identify papers which inform the study or contribute to a formal literature review. For example, see the ‘evidence before the study’ section of the ‘Research in context’ box at the beginning of the Kruckow et al. paper in eClinicalMedicine.

Specify your research objectives or the question(s) you aimed to answer. Formulate research questions. Instead of using research questions, one or more hypotheses can be used.