Think like a journal editor

Journals usually publish detailed instructions or guidelines on their website for authors submitting manuscripts. However, just following a journal’s instructions and presenting all your data is not enough. 

A good manuscript is more than just a report. I should effectively communicate your findings and their importance and relevance. It is a coherent story that presents:

  • The importance of your study
  • Your research question (or study hypothesis*) *For hypothesis-testing studies; note: there are also hypothesis-generating studies, especially in the social sciences
  • Your objectives
  • Your methods and findings relevant to your research question
  • Your discussion of the implications and limitations of your findings
  • Your discussion of how your findings are different from or similar to those in the literature
  • The importance of your findings
  • Your conclusion (answer to the research question)
  • Your suggestions on how to build on your research

While designing your study and preparing your manuscript, ask yourself the same questions that editors use to screen manuscripts:

  •  Is the topic novel and relevant? 
  • Is the flow logical? 
  • Is your research sound? 

This will guide you in the right direction. It will improve your manuscript’s chances of being accepted for publication in your target journal.

Before submitting your manuscript for publication, consider presenting your work at a conference to see if your study is of interest to the field. You may receive important feedback on how you can improve your study even before you begin writing your manuscript.

Dr. Amin Yousefi-Sahzabi, Edanz education team

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