Monday, November 10, 2014

How To Write for an Academic Journal

Having a paper accepted for publication in an academic journal is an exciting event that comes with a personal sense of achievement. Not only does it validate an academic’s knowledge but it is also a source of industry exposure. Writing in a journal is not impossible but does take preparation like other types of writing. Those who publish in journals not only offer a sense of expertise but also a level of academic writing skill.

Writing at a level that will be published by a peer-reviewed journal requires a significant investment of time. It will take at least a month to write a solid piece of academic literature. The quality must be near perfect depending on the genre of the journal. The topic should contribute a unique perspective or piece of knowledge to a wider body of literature to create relevancy.

(Step 1) Pick Your Topic 

Having some sense of your topic before writing will make a huge difference in the amount of effort and time it takes to complete your work. Some journals will require you to have a broader “how to” approach for industry readers but most will require you to be very narrow in your focus. 

One of the best ways to find your writing focus is to spend time reading on a particular topic that interests you. Find a general interest and start reading until you come across something that you wouldn’t mind learning about yourself. Uniqueness improves your chance of getting your work published while interest will help ensure that you have enough motivation to complete your topic. 

(Step 2)  Find The Journal Genre  

One you have your topic you should start looking at the type of journals that publish works in that genre. Seek open access journals and peer-reviewed journals from your academic library. Read articles that are printed in the journal to discovered insight into what the journal is seeking. Review their paper submission requirements to better align your writing. 

(Step 3) Build an Outline

 Each paper should have an abstract, introduction, body, and conclusion. Building an outline helps solidifying you’re thinking by better managing how information connects together to create a final product. It will also ensure that you are actively seeking information that will benefit your paper without wasting time on dead ends. 

(Step 4) Start Researching

Try and find information that fits under the topical headings within your outline. This will help ensure that you’re not wasting time browsing information that isn’t relevant for your work. Look at libraries, Google Scholar, and even news articles when they are relevant. Try and seek a citation for every couple of paragraphs. Peer-reviewed articles are typically the best and are more scholarly in orientation. 

(Step 5) Start Writing

Writing is an art form and a science. It is important to use an active voice and ensure that you are discussing concepts concisely. Grammar, spelling, punctuation, formatting, and sentence structure should be strong. When you have your draft you may want to share it with others and ask them to help you proofread. A few obvious mistakes will raise the chances your journal submission is rejected. 

(Step 6) Submission

 The type of journal you are submitting your work will have a definitely impact on the quality and time-frame of publication. Peer-reviewed scholarly journals that have a strong reputation in the market are the best for raising credibility. They will not ask you to pay for anything but are exclusive and difficult to be approved. As a beginning writer you can also consider less than premium journals to practice your skills and obtain a few notches under your belt before going after prestige. The choice is yours.

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