Monday, 5 April 2021

Some article writing resources

It is surprising how long it can take us to get our heads around structuring a journal article for submission to a new publication. This article contains a few tips and resources which I have gathered from a few excellent writers... whose expertise can help us all.

Firstly, if I am targeting a particular journal which I am not familiar with, I will first download between ten and a dozen recently published articles which use a similar methodology to the one I am using. I record the average words in all the sections, keywords, and any key terms, then consider averages. I will then know what - roughly - to aim for when writing each of the sections, what key words are used with similar methods, and what chapters are used - or not used. The image in this post illustrates the elements analysed.  

By reviewing previously published articles, we also get a feel for the publication's language, and what the journal's target audience is interested in. This review also helps us to become familiar with other writers, as we are going to have to draw on the work of at least a couple of articles published in the journal (Harzing, 3 October 2020). Ann-Wil Harzing also has a great series of 8 articles on how to get published in a new journal, and I am only drawing on the 7th of the series (3 October 2020). 

We also need to think about exactly what goes where when writing. There is a very cool online tool that we can use to help us in our initial structuring of a scientific article in the IMRD format, here, at the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, called "Writing in Boxes".  If we have roughly mapped out what we want to say, we can run our ideas through this little piece of kit, and further develop our article (JPHMP, 2018; JPHMP, 13 June 2018). Even those of us who are not scientific writers can find this tool helps to clarify argument.

There are many other issues that we need to think about when writing, and a great list of resources can be found at AuthorAID (20 October 2020); from how to put together an introduction, to tips to get closer to your chosen editor.

We can all do with a hand up at times :-)



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