Writing Journal Articles

How to write a journal article? 

Why publish?

Publishing research in a peer-reviewed journal is one of the fundamental tasks of an academic, be they a novice or a seasoned researcher. You may have many reasons for doing so; for instance, you may want to disseminate a novel finding, a new theory (or a modification to an existing one), or a novel methodology (such as the development and validation of a new questionnaire). The process can, however, be extremely demanding. To make this task easier for you, and to explain how we at Ultimate Proofreader can help, this section describes the key steps that are involved and important considerations that need to be made at each stage. 

First things first – who is the target audience?

The first and most vital step is, of course, to decide upon the purpose of the article and which elements of your research you wish to focus on. Intrinsically entwined with this is the need to consider your target audience. Are they academics in the same field, researchers utilising the same methodology, practitioners, or a niche/more general audience? Are you writing a report of your research, a critique of existing theory, or a review of studies in a particular area? A clear understanding of your goals will enable you to select the journal in which you wish to publish. This will require you to be familiar with the readership and ethos of this journal. Once you know this, you can tailor your article accordingly, which will greatly increase the likelihood of your work being accepted. 

Getting your message across

Having selected a journal, the next step is to familiarise yourself with the ‘in-house’ style. This is best achieved by reading a selection of articles that have already been published, as this will give you an idea of what the editors are looking for and what style to adopt. A key point to consider is the way in which academics effectively get their message across ‒ articles that try to cover too much, are poorly structured, or are written in an obtuse style are unlikely to be accepted. The focus of your work needs to be crystal clear and presented to the reader in a coherent and understandable style. Ideally, you will have one central point to make or idea to convey, and that is what you want the reader to take away with them. At Ultimate Proofreader, we can help you with this. As lay readers we can judge whether your article is clear, concise, coherent, well structured, and written in high-quality English. If it is not, we will edit and, where necessary, reorganise what you have written to ensure it flows better. If there are phrases and/or sentences that are difficult to follow or understand, we will highlight these. Where appropriate, we will also make suggestions for improving certain elements of the paper.  

Formatting and structuring your article

Having decided upon the content and composed a first draft of your article, you then need to consider the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the paper in terms of how it should be structured and formatted. Journals typically publish a list of guidelines and stipulations for prospective authors – it is essential to read these thoroughly and ensure you adhere to them without deviation. Failure to do so will lead to the automatic rejection of your paper, no matter how stellar the content. Aspects you will need to consider are the word count (DO NOT exceed this), the headings and sub-headings you must use (which dictate the structure of your paper, the format and length of the abstract, the formatting requirements for tables/diagrams, the referencing style that should be used [Harvard, APA. OSCOLA, Chicago], and the rules regarding the use of fonts and font sizes. At Ultimate Proofreader, we will assist in this process by checking your work to ensure it meets all the requirements of a specific journal. If it does not, we will edit, restructure, and reformat your work so that it is ready for submission. A particular issue academics face is dealing with an unfamiliar referencing style. Our experienced editors are familiar with all the main referencing formats and will be able to format your work accordingly.

Ensuring your work is perfect

Whether you need help with the structure and style of your work, or assistance with the formatting and referencing requirements of a particular journal, our team of qualified and experienced proofreaders and editors will ensure your article is as perfect as it can be prior to submission. As a leading journal article proofreading and editing service provider, we take pride in the fact that hundreds of researchers have successfully published their work as a result of using our high-quality services.