Courses Repository - Full Resource Record Display
Title: Biomedical manuscript writing and literature review
Keywords: Research
Medical & Clinical sciences
Country: Germany
Institution: Germany - Institute of International Health, Berlin
Course coordinator: Dr. Jonas David Finger
Date start: 2023-06-12
Date end: 2023-06-16
About duration and dates: One week plus ca. three days for the assignment (submission deadline two weeks after the face-to-face week)
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Face to face
Course location: Institute of International Health,
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Campus Virchow-Klinikum
Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin, Germany
ECTS credit points: 2 ECTS credits
SIT: 60 hours SIT
Contact: 30 hours (15 of lectures and 15 tutorials)
Self-study: 30 hours (10 private reading, 20 written assignment)
Language: English
Description: At the end of the module the student should be able to:
● demonstrate how to review the literature (how to identify and critically appraise relevant articles)
● demonstrate how to avoid plagiarism
● appropriately summarize, paraphrase and reference research content
Assessment Procedures: Students are required to complete several formative assessments, i.e. exercises during the classroom-based activities before they are allowed to submit the summative assignment.

The summative assignment is a written narrative literature review for a pre-defined research question students choose themselves, ca. 2,500 words. Students need submit the assignment 2 weeks after the classroom-based activities (if not otherwise agreed on). They will be marked using an evaluation matrix with predefined assessment criteria. We also use a web-based service to detect plagiarism. The pass mark for the assignment is 60%. Students will receive an individual feedback on the final assignment, and two grades based on their overall mark. One according to the German (absolute) 6 point decimal grading system (1.0 [excellent/sehr gut] – 6.0 [not sufficient/ungenügend], pass mark: ≥ 4.0 [sufficient/ ausreichend]) and one according to the (relative) ECTS grading system (A top 10%, B next 25%, C next 30%, D next 25%, E lowest 10%).

If a student does not achieve a pass mark, he/she can revise the assignment considering the comments provided in the feedback and resubmit. A second re-sit is allowed but may be linked to conditions set by the Committee of Admissions and Degrees, such as attending the course the following year again (no additional fees).

Master students of the tropEd programme should note that they may not to use the written narrative literature review for their Master thesis.
Content: The module is designed to equip students with knowledge about the basics of biomedical manuscript writing, to enable them with the practical skills to review the literature and to train them how to avoid scientific misconduct. Students are requested to bring their own research question.
Theoretical part (Day 1-5):
1. Systematic literature review
- Definition of research question/eligibility criteria
- Development of search strategy
- Title/abstract/full text screening
- Data extraction/quality assessment
- Synthesis of results/meta-analysis
2. Scientific misconduct
- Forms of scientific misconduct (fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, …)
- Motivation to commit scientific misconduct
- Responsibility (author, institutions, journals)
3. Scientific writing
- How to avoid plagiarism, fabrication and falsification?
- Paraphrasing, Summarizing, Referencing
- Style
- Good and bad practice examples
4. Critical appraisal
- Guidelines to strengthen the reporting (STROBE, PRISMA, CONSORT, …)
- Checklists for different study designs
5. Biomedical publishing
- Journal landscape and selection
- Publication impact assessment (Impact factors, H-index)
- Authorship
- Submission/review process
Methods: The course uses participatory learning based on lectures with short exercises, short group work and discussions (15 hrs) and tutorials (15 hrs) as well as self-directed learning (10 hrs reading and 20 hrs writing exercises).
Prerequisites: Successful completion of the core course, and basic knowledge in epidemiology, statistics and quantitative methods, respectively.

English TOEFL test 550 or 213 computer-based or 79/80 internet-based or IELTS band 6.0.

The students are requested to install the reference manager software “Endnote” on their private notebooks and to watch the “Pubmed” and “Mesh terms” tutorials on “” website. In addition, they need to select a research topic and define a research question before the start of the course (this will be communicated to the students in detail when they receive confirmation of participation).
Attendance: Max. number of students: 20
Students have to attend 85% of lectures and tutorials
First come, first serve
Participants are selected on a first come first served basis
Deadline for application: 8 weeks before module start
Deadline for payment: 4 weeks before module start (if not otherwise agreed on)
We shall confirm the module 6 weeks before the module starts which is subject to a sufficient number of applications (minimum 8).
Late applications will be considered as long as places are available.
Application forms can be found here:
Fees: 550.00 EUR TropEd MScIH students and alumni
687,50 EUR for others
None available
Major changes since initial accreditation: Overall, the course concept worked as intended and was very successful which is demonstrated by the increasing number of applications over the course of the past five years. Thus, we did not implement any major changes since initial accreditation. Several guidelines and the course materials used were updated but the course contents and learning targets remain unchanged.
Student evaluation: Student evaluated the course in general very positive and confirmed that it equipped them well with necessary writing skills to draft their Master thesis successfully.
Lessons learned: The feedback provided by the students was considered to constantly improve the teaching methods and weighting of the course contents delivered.
tropEd accreditation:
Accredited in December 2017 and re-accredited in March 2023. This Accreditation is valid until March 2028.
Remarks: Key readings:
- Page MJ, McKenzie JE, Bossuyt PM, Boutron I, Hoffmann TC, Mulrow CD, et al. The PRISMA 2020 statement: an updated guideline for reporting systematic reviews. BMJ 2021;372:n71. doi: 10.1136/bmj.n71.
- von Elm E, Altman DG, Egger M, Pocock SJ, Gotzsche PC, Vandenbroucke JP. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies. The Lancet. 2007;370(9596):1453-7
- International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (available from:, accessed: 2017/09/27). ICMJE. 2016.
Email Address:
Date Of Record Creation: 2017-12-17 15:11:47 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2017-12-17 20:33:35 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2018-06-27 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2023-03-10 13:21:14 (W3C-DTF)

Fifteen years of the tropEd Masters in International Health programme: what has it delivered? Results of an alumni survey of masters students in international health

L. Gerstel1, P. A. C. Zwanikken1, A. Hoffman2, C. Diederichs3, M. Borchert3 and B. Peterhans2

1 Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
3 Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health, Charite – Universit€atsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany