What to think about before you start to write a journal article


When planning to write an article it’s very
important to bear in mind the four A’s: Aims, Audience, Awareness of existing work,
and to be able to Articulate your ideas clearly. Publication of articles is crucial in terms
of self-advancement for career purposes as well as self-satisfaction, for the reputation,
status and perhaps funding of researchers own institutions, and globally it’s very
important because publication of research results is how knowledge and understanding
gets disseminated. It can then be used, tested, and turned into policy by people well beyond
the normal communications range of the individual. Having decided what it is you wish to communicate,
the next crucial decision is to whom: fellow professionals, policy makers, general audiences
of non-professionals, each of which has to be addressed in very different ways. That
in turn translates into the question where do I publish the article? There are numerous
journals which are specialised in scope, either within a particular discipline or a particular
community of practice, or perhaps focusing on a particular geographical region. It is vital when writing an article that you
don’t simply cover your own work, but that you contextualise it in relation to the existing
literatures, political debates or current policy issues, which you can use to anchor
or frame your arguments. Referencing the work of others when you cite them, or quote them
directly is very important. Plagiarising or self-plagiarising can lead to damage to your
own reputation, or indeed the reputation of the journal if they have to withdraw something. It is important to think clearly about the
structure. You have to have logical development across the sections of your article, and think
carefully about the relative length of each of them. Specific journals have clear requirements
and obviously you need to follow those if provided. A good tip would be to leave both
the introduction and the conclusion to the end. By the time you have written the main
part of the paper you will know what it is you are introducing and what the key messages
are that you are wrapping together in the conclusion. You can find help from a variety of sources
while writing your paper. One would be through peer review among your fellow students or
early career researchers or perhaps get a second opinion from a more senior colleague
or mentor. Conferences or workshops would be another, online resources or editorial
forums (which some journals provide) another. The sense of pride that one does get upon
receiving your article as published is incredible, which makes all the struggles to get over
that finished line well worth it.

7 thoughts on “What to think about before you start to write a journal article”

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  2. Respected Sir,
    I want to ask you that sometimes when we select any journal for our paper then we have to fill the details of reviewers. Please guide, how to search the appropriate reviewer. Since I don't know anybody then how can I give the names of the reviewers.
    Please sir give me your worthy suggestions so that I can continue my work with more enthusiasm.

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