Structure and style of your opinion paper
The page provides an overview of the structure and style of your opinion paper to be submitted to the African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine. The opinion paper short opinion pieces or personal perspectives (not research papers) on any any primary health care and family medicine topic (between 1000 and 2000 words).
When presenting your article in English. Please use British English, that is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Avoid Americanisms (e.g. use ‘s’ and not ‘z’). Consult the Oxford English Dictionary when in doubt and remember to set your version of Microsoft Word to UK English.
- Language: Manuscripts must be written in British English or French.
- Line numbers: Insert continuous line numbers.
- Font type: Palatino
- Symbols font type: Times New Roman
- General font size: 12pt
- Line spacing: 1.5
- Headings: Ensure that formatting for headings is consistent in the manuscript.
- First headings: normal case, bold and 14pt
- Second headings: normal case, underlined and 14pt
- Third headings: normal case, bold and 12pt
- Fourth headings: normal case, bold, running-in text and separated by a colon.
Our publication system supports a limited range of formats for text and graphics. Text files can be submitted in the following formats only:
- Microsoft Word (.doc): We cannot accept Word 2007 DOCX files. If you have created your manuscript using Word 2007, you must save the document as a Word 2003 file before submission.
- Rich Text Format (RTF) documents uploaded during Step 2 of the submission process. Users of other word processing packages should save or convert their files to RTF before uploading. Many free tools are available that will make this process easier.
For full details on how to ensure your manuscript adheres to the house style, click here.
The structure and style of your opinion paper
The format of the compulsory cover letter forms part of your submission and is on the first page of your manuscript and should always be presented in English. You should provide all of the following elements:
- Article title: Provide a short title of 50 characters or less.
- Significance of work: Briefly state the significance of the work being reported on.
- Full author details: Provide title(s), full name(s), position(s), affiliation(s) and contact details (postal address, email, telephone and cellular number) of each author.
- Corresponding author: Identify to whom all correspondence should be addressed to.
- Authors’ contributions: Briefly summarise the nature of the contribution made by each of the authors listed.
- Possible reviewers: Include, if possible, the names and full contact details (including email addresses) of two or three potential reviewers to evaluate the work (reviewers should not be people with whom the researcher has recently collaborated or published).
- Summary: Lastly, a list containing the number of words, pages, tables, figures and/or other supplementary material should accompany the submission.
Page 2 and onwards
Title: The article’s full title should contain a maximum of 95 characters (including spaces).
Introduction (first-level heading): An introduction is used to define the scope of the essay and to give such background information as is necessary for the discussion of the topic. The following headings can be included in the introduction (if appropriate).
- Background (second-level heading): A brief survey of relevant introductory information to a topic (often historical) serves to place that topic in context for the reader. Depending on the topic, it may also be necessary to define important technical terms or special uses of words.
- Scope (second-level heading): A statement of your interpretation of the topic (that explains how you intend to cover it) can also be included. You can state the development of the subject matter. (Note: please use your own headings and not this as a heading in your essay.) In this section, the logical development of the subject matter must be made apparent to the reader. This should be your critical analysis of the topic, and not long descriptions of a topic. One or two figures and/or tables may be used in support of the text, as it is often possible to convey information more accurately and concisely in this manner.
If appropriate, the author can introduce other headings in the opinion paper to help with clarity and readability of the article.
Conclusion (first-level heading): The conclusion should integrate the major points presented in the body of the paper and provide a summary. It may also suggest further lines of research that might provide the answers to as yet unsolved problems.
Acknowledgements (first-level heading): If, through your study, you received any significant help in conceiving, designing, or carrying out the work, or received materials from someone who did you a favour by supplying them, you must acknowledge their assistance and the service or material provided.Authors should always acknowledge outside reviewers of their drafts and any sources of funding that supported the research.
- Competing interests (second-level heading): A competing interest exists when your interpretation of data or presentation of information may be influenced by your personal or financial relationship with other people or organisations that can potentially prevent you from executing and publishing unbiased research. Authors should disclose any financial competing interests but also any non-financial competing interests that may cause them embarrassment were they to become public after the publication of the manuscript. Where an author gives no competing interests, the listing will read:
‘The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationship(s) which may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.’
- Authors' contributions (second-level heading): This section is necessary to give appropriate credit to each author, and to the authors' applicable institution. The individual contributions of authors should be specified with their affiliation at the time of the study and completion of the work. An ‘author’ is generally considered to be someone who has made substantive intellectual contributions to a published study. Contributions made by each of the authors listed, can follow the example below (please note the use of author initials):
J.K. (University of Pretoria) was the project leader, L.M.N. (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and A.B. (Stellenbosch University) were responsible for experimental and project design. L.M.N. performed most of the experiments. P.R. (Cape Peninsula University of Technology) made conceptual contributions and S.T. (University of Cape Town), U.V. (University of Cape Town) and C.D. (University of Cape Town) performed some of the experiments. S.M. (Cape Peninsula University of Technology) and V.C. (Cape Peninsula University of Technology) prepared the samples and calculations were performed by C.S.(Cape Peninsula University of Technology).
References (first-level heading): Begin the reference list on a separate page with no more than 30 references. The African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine uses the Vancouver referencing style, details of which can be downloaded from the journal website. Note: no other style will be permitted.
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