How to Write a Journal Article: An Unconventional Guide

September 26, 2018

How to write a journal article that would set up a young scientist for success? Obviously, this question has plagued many people who long to take the world of science by storm. If you have your first brainchild in a draft version at hand, you must be willing to show it to the world. At this point, we recommend you slow down and vet your article according to all the dos and don’ts that are supposed to improve your manuscript. After all, your reputation in academia is of utmost importance, but don’t take the following journal article writing tips too seriously. They serve to deter you from publishing a raw version of your journal article and are therefore written in a sarcastic manner.

What is a journal article?

Before we move any further, it’s high time we answered the primary question, i.e. “what is a journal article?”. Journal articles are generally defined as scholarly peer-reviewed pieces of writing that focus on research on very specific topics. They are written by professionals who have corresponding expertise in one of the fields of study.

Tips for writing a journal article

If you want to generate hype in academia, follow the tips for writing a journal article that stands out:

Give Little Care to the Works of Other Scientists Who Conduct Researches in Your Field

Literature study lays the foundations for your future work and serves as a solid framework. Before getting down to your own project, you have to carefully collect and study all the available sources because they reflect the current state of things in your field of study. Naturally, you shouldn’t read everything that’s out there; narrow the literature down and select some quality read that would add value to your article.

Don’t Exert Yourself and Plagiarize

If the deadline is looming on the horizon, you’re probably tempted to take the easy road. Why not find a couple of decent studies and rephrase all the info without citing sources properly? Copying some sentences won’t do much harm, will they? No matter how little you want to plagiarize, you’re doomed to be exposed by very elaborate plagiarism detectors. Plagiarism is a short cut to a complete fiasco.

Forget About Key Components

Your article has to meet a set of requirements according to which it has to have a number of sections, each of which should be placed in a logical order. What to include?

  1. Summary
  2. Identification of the topic in question
  3. Description of the novelty/objectives/scope of the given research project
  4. Utilized research methodology
  5. Obtained findings
  6. Conclusions

Disregard Previous Contribution to Your Area of Expertise

An exhaustive literature review, proper referencing, and citing of authors who have worked in your area before you demonstrate that you know the topic you research inside out. It’s also very likely that reviewers for your article are the very authors of previous works on the same or similar topic, so you have to be extremely careful here.

Oversell Your Work

Another problem that many young researchers might face is lack of self-criticism. You’re making your first foray into academia, so you shouldn’t be arrogant. Instead, try to be a bit hard on yourself and identify flaws of your manuscript, then reach out to somebody for tips on how to fix the deficiencies.

Be as Ambiguous as Possible

Consistency and straightforward presentation of the material are the key elements of a quality article. You have to be as specific and concise as possible. Flowery words and super complex sentences don’t always presuppose that an author is highly intelligent.

Prefer Subjective to Objective Statements

Don’t claim anything unless you can verify it by means of facts or findings. Each and every statement of yours should be reinforced by specific data from a credible source.

Ignore Grammar, Spelling, and Other Visual Aids

The text gets the message across, doesn’t it? Why should I make fuss about grammar, spelling, figures, etc.? In fact, impeccably written article demonstrates that you’re a responsible and attentive professional who likes when everything is organized and well-thought-out.

Don’t Bother Reading Editor’s and Reviewers’ Comments

Once you receive feedback from the people who evaluated your article, don’t hesitate to read it and pay heed to it. They’re seasoned enough to make a difference in your career.

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