Guidelines – Reflections

Reflections are articles written about a particular topic in medicine or science that has had a profound impact, is controversial, or is an emerging new concept or approach to medical science and care. They can be conceptual and are intended to introduce a fresh perspective that generates thought and dialogue and contributes to sustaining the relevance of medicine and medical scholarship to current issues. Reflections are relatively unstructured but should clearly indicate the topic or thesis being addressed,  its significance, and supporting background information;  present a cogent argument for the author’s position; and identify implications and recommendations for change or action. In addition, artistic pieces may be submitted under this type of article.


Order of Sections

  1. Title Page
  2. Abstract (not required)
  3. Body of Article
  4. References
  5. Figure/Tables


Manuscript Limits

  1. Total Length: up to 1500 words (not including abstract, illustrations, and references)
  2. Abstract Length: up to 150 words
  3. Table/Figure Limits: up to 3 tables and figures
  4. References: up to 30 references


Title Page

The title page should carry the following information:

    • Article Title (concise information about the study, limited to 100 characters)
    • Author Names (Mark D. Smith B.S.1*, Jeremy Michael Howes M.S.2, Jessica P. Masters M.D. Ph. D.1,2)
    • Institutional Affiliations of all authors in order of appearance in author names (1 College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA. 2 Dept. of Internal Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA)
    • Contact information for corresponding author(s) including address, email, phone, and fax. The corresponding author should indicate clearly whether his or her e-mail address can be published. Corresponding author(s) is indicated with asterisk by name in author listing; the medical students should be corresponding author.
    • Short Title (50 character limit shorter title for headers)
    • Key Phrases – Relevant words or short phrases that aid search engines or indexes in finding your work (use MeSH headings if possible). Use key phrases that are not present in the title. Maximum of 6, e.g. (Pemphigus, Bullous Skin Disorder, Autoimmune, Blistering, Skin Diseases, Monoclonal Antibody)
    • Disclaimers, if any
    • Word Count: Abstract and Body (excluding abstract, illustrations, and references)
    • Table and Figure Count
    • Source(s) of support in the form of grants, equipment, drugs, or all of these
    • Conflict of Interest Statement



Abstracts are not required in reflections, but if written, should be a concise and accurate summary of the article. As in other article types, abstracts are the only substantive portion of the article indexed in many electronic databases, and the only portion many readers read. Authors must be careful that they accurately reflect the content of the article in the abstract. This description should include:

  • Context or background for the study
  • Purpose, basic procedures, main findings, and principal conclusions
  • Emphasis on new and important aspects of the study or observations
  • No references, illustrations, or references to illustrations are allowed in the abstract
  • The abstract should be structured with similar headings as in the main article (e.g. introduction, patient profile, interventions, conclusions), but if the reflection does not possess headings or sub-headings, a freeform abstract is permitted


Body of Article

This article type is unrestricted in its formatting, and the main portion of text will go here. The text may be divided by subheadings marked in bold.



Please see the directions for formatting References.


Illustrations (Figures and Tables)

Should follow the same format as mentioned in the General Guidelines.


Copyright Notice

The Medical Student Research Journal is a scholarly journal by medical students supported by Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

Authors grant unrestricted copyright license to MSRJ while retaining full copyright to their works. This means authors may distribute their work at their discretion, but may not alter the final product as published by MSRJ. Permissions for reproduction of final published article are granted by MSRJ, while pre-publication works are distributable at authors’ discretion.

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This page was last updated on 2/15/2014 KCP.