Ten Tips for Effectively Writing a Research Paper for Peer-Review
Writing a research article for peer-review and then publication is a lengthy and time-consuming process. Researchers and postgraduate students are required to write and publish a certain number of research papers related to their thesis or dissertation work during the time of their study. So it is important to have a good approach to writing a research paper effectively, and in a way that would increase your chance of acceptance for publication at a reputable journal. The following are ten simple tips which can help significantly when writing your research paper.
I read as many articles as I feel required before to beginning the task (whether simulated or experimental) or during it. Once the task is completed and I have obtained publishable results, I discontinue reading articles. I try not to read any articles throughout the writing process, except those that I am citing. This is to ensure that whatever I write is either my own original concept or my own perspective of an already-existing idea. If I chose to read studies while drafting my own, there is a possibility that my writing will reflect the authors’ understanding, which is not very nice.
I write as often and as little as my mind permits at any one time. Thus, I may produce a few phrases or three pages in a single day. If I’m having difficulty finding the correct words or thoughts, I stop writing and try something different. This enables me to keep a high standard of writing.
Prior to beginning to write my document, I always scribble down the paper’s outline on a scrap of paper, indicating how I want the work to flow. I specify which figures or tables should be included and which findings should be presented. I always give my paper a title before I begin writing (its a personal choice).
Each of us has a few terms that we frequently use in technical writing. I’ve noticed some terms that I use often in my articles and am attempting to replace them as much as possible with their counterparts.
I edit (as in format) my Matlab findings, create my graphics in MS Visio, maintain my references in Mendeley or EndNote, and write in latex (or MS Word). Occasionally, I’ll use MS Paint to blend figurines. Always check that the resolution of your figures is enough.
After drafting each paragraph, I read and re-read the whole document (or at least the new portion) to verify that the work flows well and stays thorough throughout.
It is critical to strike a balance between the amount of old material (that is not your contributions but is based on other people’s work) that you actually write in the article (with appropriate citations) and the amount that you just quote without going into depth. At times, it becomes vital to paraphrase passages from other authors’ works to aid in the comprehension of your own.
As I continue to add text and data to my paper, I salivate over the elegance of latex documents. Or I sometimes use MS Word since it is easier.
Be quite truthful and candid in your citations. I have no qualms with mentioning a study that is more than 30 years old if it was that article that aided me and not a much later review piece.
Finally, I proofread and edit to eliminate spelling and grammatical issues. I also check whether what I am trying to present is written in an easy to follow manner by my readers, ensure coherency between paragraphs and sentences, improve academic tone, ensure sentences are concise and simple, and recheck sentence structure.