Because I edit a journal and also review articles frequently, I get to see (and read) a significant number of articles. Unfortunately, I am also witnessing a lot of blunders that are repeated again and over again, and this occurs with authors who have years of experience writing as well as others who are just starting out.
This essay is intended for you if you are in the early stages of your research career and are looking for some advice on how to produce an article that has a better chance of being published. This post may serve as a helpful reminder of what you should do and may provide tips on what to improve in your writing if you are in the middle of your career yet sometimes discover that reviewers comment on the style of writing that you use.
The following are some of the most frequent errors made by authors while they are preparing a paper for a journal:
1. THE ART OF WRITING AN ABSTRACT THAT IS NOT AN ABSTRACT IN TERMS OF STYLE
An abstract must adhere to a set of guidelines. An abstract is not only a condensed account of the work that was done. An abstract does not provide a summary of the work's context. Every abstract ought to have the following five components: a statement of the problem, a purpose for the study, a strategy or techniques, results, and conclusions.
When I read abstracts, it is very common for there to be a sentence missing from the end. In the event that your abstract does not provide a response to the question "What are the implications of your answer? Is it going to change the world (unlikely), be a significant "win," be a nice hack, or simply serve as a road sign indicating that this path is a waste of time (all of the previous results are useful)?", then it lacks conclusions and is not an abstract in terms of its stylistic presentation.
2. NOT INTRODUCING THE TOPIC
Do not make the assumption that your audience is aware of the significance of the matter that you are researching. When you are introducing your work (in the area labeled "introduction"), you need to address the primary difficulty that your effort is primarily geared toward resolving. Where do you see the significance of your work in the real world?
Why should one choose to study this subject? Why should any of us even be concerned with this matter? In the introduction, explain to the reader why your work is important, and then refer back to this section's contents in the discussion part. In order to properly introduce the subject matter, you cannot begin by discussing past experiments that are linked to yours, mathematical formulas, or theoretical frameworks.
3. CONFUSING ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY WITH LITERATURE REVIEW
Whether I had a penny for every time I receive or evaluate a paper that contains an annotated bibliography rather than a literature review, I would have a million dollars by now. I'm not sure if this is one of the problems that are common in my field, but if I did, I'd be a millionaire by now. To speak more seriously, the purpose of a literature review is, as the name suggests, to review previously published works.
An examination of the existing written material is required. What events took place in chronological order within your industry? Who is in favor of this, and who opposes it? Are you able to create an overview table that summarizes the information? In order to produce a literature review, you will need to do an analysis of the existing literature. The following is an example of what would be included in an annotated bibliography: "Author X tested Y and discovered Z. Author A tested B and found C." etc. etc. Do not make this error.
4. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FORMAT OF EITHER A THESIS OR A RESEARCH REPORT
A research report details the findings of various experiments or other types of study. A journal paper goes one step further than a conference or seminar presentation in that it requires you to place your work within the context of the existing body of knowledge, critically discuss your results, and place your work within a theory or explain the mechanisms that lie behind what you observed. Simply reporting the results is not sufficient.
A thesis will typically include more information than an academic journal article does, as well as more subsections. If you keep the same titles as your thesis and then simply summarize the contents of the paper, you will end up with a journal article that lacks flow and has a structure that is split up. Alter the format, and convert your journal paper into a work that may function as its own piece of writing rather than merely a synopsis of your argument.
5. NOT FRAMING YOUR WORK IN THE EXISTING BODY OF KNOWLEDGE
This observation has been stated by me numerous times throughout the entire piece. The review of the relevant literature provides an overview of the existing body of knowledge. In the section of the paper where you discuss your methodology, you should justify your decisions by referring to the existing body of information.
When you conduct your analysis of the results, you should make connections to the various theories and models that are contained within the existing body of knowledge. During the discussion portion of the paper, you should describe how your work either adds to, contradicts, or affirms the existing body of knowledge. Your work ought to be grounded in the arena to the greatest extent that is possible.
6. NOT PROVIDING AN IN-DEPTH DISCUSSION
When you finally come to the discussion section of your paper, do you find that you are exhausted from all of the writing? When I finally get to the discussion section of the paper that I am now writing on, I find that I am beginning to feel quite exhausted. On the other hand, the reader ought not to be aware of this. If you find that you are growing weary of the subject matter, set the paper aside for a week or two, and when you come back to it, you will have fresh eyes.
In your discussion, you should provide a critical perspective, highlight the wants of information in your field, discuss which practical applications your work has, link back to the significance of the topic covered in the introduction, and embed your work within the existing body of knowledge. It is not an afterthought to have this discussion. In many cases, the conversation is what differentiates your work from a study report in its entirety.
7. PLACING NEW INFORMATION IN THE SUMMARY SECTION
There should never be any new information included in the section labeled "Summary and Conclusions." If you want to discuss your results, you should do so in the part labeled "Discussion." The reader who is interested in determining whether or not it is worthwhile to read your work in greater detail should focus on the section of your paper titled "Summary and Conclusions." In this section, you should summarize the most essential issues discussed throughout the rest of your paper; you should not leave any section unreviewed.
8. USING REFERENCES THAT ARE INCOMPLETE
Be sure to arrange your references in accordance with the style guide of the magazine you will be submitting to. This is an absolute must. If you follow the style guide correctly, you will reduce the likelihood of receiving a desk rejection or a choice to send your work back to you. Even if you use software to format your document (which you absolutely should do), you still need to verify to make sure that everything is formatted correctly. If the records in your database are not accurate one hundred percent of the time, then your reference won't be accurate either.
9. SUBMITTING WITHOUT DECENT PROOFREADING
Again, even if you are sick of working on a book and simply want to send it in, make sure that you have a little bit more patience and that you have worked out all of the issues. The appearance of carelessness is conveyed by work that has numerous typos and problems in punctuation, grammar, and spelling. As a reviewer, there are occasions when I have to exert a lot of effort in order to read material that has not been proofread properly.
When the writing is so sloppy that it makes it difficult to understand the contents of the document, I may have the want to just give up and suggest to the authors that they rework the document before I reread it. Be sure that the work you submit is well-written so that the focus will remain on the substance and the science rather than the writing. In the event that it is required, seek the assistance of a specialist.
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