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How to Plan and Start Writing a Journal Article from Your Academic Research

How to Plan and Start Writing a Journal Article from Your Academic Research

by Dawn D. Boyer, Ph.D.
February 01, 2019


In doctoral programs, graduates are exposed to professional and academic research writing to prepare for dissertation and academic journal article writing in residencies. Once a graduate completes a program, it is imperative to ‘publish’ in the academic world for consideration for tenured positions seeking employment within universities that are heavy on research, publishing, and grant-applications.

How to Plan and Start Writing a Journal Article from Your Academic Research: Why Publish?

Most doctoral students are lucky to have not been required to publish before graduating (a requirement in some ivy-league universities!). In my second-year, program-mandated residency, the two-week curriculum was heavily developed around the APA Style guidebook (6th). There was also a required submission of a journal article or a book review. Graduates could not submit the article to any magazine – it had to be an academic journal with peer reviewed articles.

How to Plan and Start Writing a Journal Article from Your Academic Research: Research.

So, the additional research begins. Performing a literature review for research is tough. Try figuring out which of thousands of journals have recognized credentials, are peer reviewed, have not already over-published the topic, and to which you can submit an article based on your research! That’s the hard part. If you have already performed a dissertation-based literature review, you may want to list those journals that seemed to have the richest articles related to your dissertation topic.

Identify about 30-40 journals and go through back-issues (via online, subscription databases) to determine the main topics on which articles concentrated. Are any articles redundant to your research? Can you find an absence of articles about the topic? Journals avoid topic redundancy and strive to provide academic subscribers fresh material. Print about 5-10 articles that mirror your dissertation or research subject.

How to Plan and Start Writing a Journal Article from Your Academic Research: Dissection.

Now dissect those articles. If you are able to track down the original committee-approved dissertation from which the journal articles were created, you can compare and contrast what was included in the article, what was left out, and what the authors supplied as a well-defined conclusion from research. Don’t read the dissertation word-for-word; instead compare ‘chunks’ or sections. Did the author keep the entire article a concise, brevity-based, academic research report? Did the article summarize the theory and hypothetical questions in the first few paragraphs? How much of the article described the literature review? How much of the article content was devoted to describing data collection methods, research population, and methods of research? How much of the article was devoted to conclusions?

Dissect the article submission parameters – usually available on the journal’s website. This will be brutally intense (warning – could cause writer’s block and mental distress!). Each journal has exact requirements for a maximum number of words in the article, placement of footnotes (in-text or end), writing styles (APA 6th, MLA, Chicago), and font sizes (Arial, Times New Roman, or other) that must be followed for the article to get past the gatekeepers. (I once spent six hours formatting an article – but it was accepted!)

How to Plan and Start Writing a Journal Article from Your Academic Research: Article Exclusivity.

Some journals want exclusivity on an article. Read the author’s submission guidelines to see if the article must be (and remain) exclusive to that journal. Once the article is printed, in some cases, the journal has copyrights to the article as it was submitted. Other journals allow duplicate submissions to other journals while your article is in the review queue. If the article is identified for publication, even though parallel submissions were approved, the author may get a request to pull other submissions so they can have the exclusivity. The author may need to write the article in two different styles, viewpoints, or wording to enable them to submit the article(s) to more than one journal simultaneously.

How to Plan and Start Writing a Journal Article from Your Academic Research: Quality Assurance.

The last step is to spell and grammar-check the article as many times as you can bear before submitting. Your professional status is at stake here; the journal can’t risk their reputation by publishing garbage; and it is not their job to correct your errors.

When a submitted article gets through the gatekeeper, the paper will then be submitted to a review panel of peers – SME’s and/or Ph.D.s (or equivalent) who review the article for content and academic professionalism. The peer review could take a week to a month (or two). The author may receive a notice from the journal representative, with anonymized peer review comments providing constructive criticism for improvements. The author can complete the recommendations and resubmit. (Be sure to re-do the spelling and grammar checks!)

How to Plan and Start Writing a Journal Article from Your Academic Research: Once Accepted.

The last piece is the journal accepting the completed submission. Articles are placed in a publishing queue. Depending upon how often the journal publishes, the publication date could be within six months to two years. Authors can cite themselves in their curriculum vitae, with a (tbd) publish date, the name of the article, the journal’s name until the article is published, then add in the page and doi identification numbers later.

How to Plan and Start Writing a Journal Article from Your Academic Research: Alternatives.

Those who have a hard time publishing could also team with other academic authors. If you are still in school, ask around to your professors to inquire if any of them need assistance on research or writing an academic paper in exchange for adding your name to the article. Many graduate students get published this way as they learn the ropes for publishing on their own.

Good luck in your writing and your academic publication pursuits!

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About the Author

Bettyjo BoucheyDawn D. Boyer, Ph.D.
Dawn D. Boyer graduated from Old Dominion University in 2013 with a Doctor of Philosophy in Occupational and Technical Studies, concentrating on Training and Development in Human Resources. She has published over 750 books, including a textbook, Human Resources Practitioners in Government Contracting Guidebook (2016). She currently assists authors with editing, ghostwriting, and publishing through her consulting firm, D. Boyer Consulting (www.dboyerconsulting). as well as assisting Ph.D.s convert their dissertations to commercial books via The Babb Group (https://shop.thebabbgroup.com/products/academic-publication-service).