Design Manuscripts

Design manuscripts describe the research design and methods planned or used in a study. Evaluation plans for methods, systems or procedures may also be reported in this way. These are often published during the conduct of the study and comprehensively describe, as in the case of a protocol summary, the research problem statement and research questions, the research approach and rationale, setting in which the research is conducted, research and experimental design, methods and procedures used to conduct the research. Articles communicating study designs should state the research reporting guidelines appropriate for the research design and follow the design-specific elements in the research reporting guidelines in the manuscript. Research reporting guidelines for a wide variety of research designs are available from the Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research (EQUATOR ) Network.

Design manuscripts should indicate the point in the research process at which the manuscript was written and must include a statement regarding plans for sharing the research results and lessons learned. 

The structured abstract for a research design manuscript should contain the following sections: Study objectives, Research design, Methods for study conduct, and Results sharing plans.

Word count limit: 2000 words

Structured abstract word count limit: 250 words

Table limit: 3

Figure limit: 2

References: required and unlimited

Research design articles will be peer-reviewed according to a standard review rubric specific to reports of research designs .