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Peer-reviewed research article vs. dissertation

Peer-reviewed research article vs. dissertation: How to write a great paper for publication

You’re writing your dissertation and want to publish your first research article. What is the difference between your dissertation and a publishable article? Working at a peer-reviewed journal, I have seen manuscripts of all types including those that look like they were copied and pasted from a dissertation. Research articles are concise summaries of your work directed at readers who are experienced in your area of research. Dissertations serve as a platform for an evaluation of your expertise and work. If you keep this in mind, then you will have a much better chance of having your work published.

How to write a great paper for publication

First, let’s review four sections of any research paper: introduction, results, discussion, and methods. I have not included the abstract, as this requires an entire blog on its own. Second, I will give you a strategy to develop your paper that will put you on a path for success.

Introductory section

Roles of a dissertation include demonstrating an in-depth knowledge of your field, assessing your ability to define a problem, creating a hypothesis, and designing an appropriate tool to test it. When you are writing a paper for publication, all of these are already assumed. The readers are experts and not on your committee. Your introduction should include a few points to orient the reader as to what is known, what you are aiming to determine, and how. The last sentence of your introduction should state that the objective of this research is to determine whatever you are interested in by using your selected tool.

Results section

The results that are discussed in your research paper need to be restricted to those that are relevant to answering your objective. No matter how interesting a particular experiment may have been, if it isn’t directly related to your research question/objective, it will detract and ultimately sabotage your efforts to have your work published. It will prompt reviewers to question the structure of the research plan and lose focus on the objective. They may even envisage a different paper centered on a new objective. Keep it simple.

Discussion section

The discussion section must not repeat the results. If you repeat the results, then you have consumed your word count unnecessarily and bored your readers. The discussion is the opportunity to address your objective. The discussion should take in account your data, as well as data from supporting studies. It must elevate the work so it can be applied by other researchers. A discussion should include the most relevant limitations of your work and provide an intelligent conclusion.

Materials and methods section

The methods section must include the sufficient detail for someone experienced in your area to replicate your study. It must be concise and should reference previous work, so you don’t have to repeat details. The steps for performing a routine experiment don’t need to repeated, it is adequate to say what was done in a general way with any unusual details expressed explicitly.

Choose your journal and manuscript type carefully

An author must know the audience. In the case of writing a research paper, you must know where the article will be submitted before you start writing. It is imperative that you go to the website of your selected journal and read the instructions to authors. Ideally, templates will be provided so your document will be correctly formatted. Be sure to correctly select the type of manuscript you are intending to write (e.g., original research, review, etc) and verify the word count. These two factors will have a tremendous impact on your manuscript and need to be carefully considered. You may want to switch journals at this point, if it isn’t what you were expecting. I have returned manuscripts to authors without review, because the author failed to submit the article in the correct format or has exceeded the word count. If an article does proceed in the wrong format or with an elevated word count, then it may fail at a later stage simply because the senior editors and reviewers are distracted by the flaws in the manuscript preparation. If you didn’t care to format it properly, then the reviewers are wondering what else is missing.

A practical strategy

With the correct journal, article type, and word count in mind, you should start by writing the results section. Considering the study objective, prepare tables or figures and/or write the results in a concise manner to support the objective, and in parallel, write the methods. Only include the necessary experiments and details. This preparation will logically lead you to write a discussion of the results (not a repeat of the results), limitations, and enlightening conclusion. After reviewing what you have written (results, methods, and discussion), you will see that there are a few sentences required to orient the reader (i.e., someone with expertise in your area) in the introduction. Write the introduction, which will end with your objective statement(s).

Edit for grammar and style

Now that you have prepared first research paper, have it properly edited for grammar and style. Send the instructions to authors with your manuscript when having it edited. When a paper is written poorly, the editors and reviewers are distracted from the content. A good research paper can be rejected, because its message is lost in cumbersome language.

Featured Clients: John Clarence & Thomas Whittle

Featured Clients: John Clarence & Thomas Whittle, authors of The Gold House trilogy

The Gold House Triolgy

Prepare to be astounded, shocked, and thoroughly engrossed by this incredible true story that John Clarence & Thomas Whittle have meticulously, rigorously, and brilliantly researched and written. Edit911 could not be more proud of having been chosen to edit this blockbuster trilogy.

The product of 8 years of research and writing, The Gold House trilogy has been read and reviewed by prominent authors and scholars who support the charges leveled by the authors against the government and numerous individuals.  The books are packed with photos, endnotes, and an index and they are available on Nook, Kobo, Amazon-Kindle, iBookstore, and in a limited hardback first edition, which are available at www.victoriopeak.com.

Working with John was a great experience for me [Marc D. Baldwin, PhD, Owner of Edit911, Inc.].  Because of the magnitude and importance of his huge project, we talked many times on the phone and exchanged dozens of emails to be sure my editors and I fully understood his editing objectives. The end result is a trilogy beyond the reader’s wildest imagination —they blow the lid off a conspiracy of silence in this extraordinary story of government corruption that rivals Watergate.

Needless to say, John and his co-author Tom are extremely pleased with Edit911’s work on their project.

In John’s own words: “The first thing that must be resolved when you begin writing is to determine whether you are writing for yourself, or if you wish to have your ideas and thoughts shared with others…and eventually criticized. If you are merely writing for yourself you really don’t need an editor. But if you want your book to reach the widest possible audience, you need an editor.”

jack portrait

John Clarence

“One reason that I decided to contact Marc Baldwin at Edit 911 was that I came to realize that I was deeper in the woods when I finish writing the books than I was when I started. The Gold House trilogy is a set of complex stories that had to be meticulously researched, but because of the subject matter it was important to stay with it: do the research, compile it, look for corroboration, and then begin writing. I finally found my way out of the woods after turning the final draft over to Edit911. It was the smartest thing I did, aside from writing the books. Shortly afterward Marc returned the manuscripts and it was then that I realized that writing a book is only the first step, and the other steps begin and end with your editor and later a good proofreader.”

“Here is what I learned when I surrendered my manuscripts to Edit911: never write yourself into the story unless absolutely necessary; use simple words to get your point across; never say in ten words what can be said in five; avoid repetitiveness; be honest with your writing; present your work for editing when you have exhausted on resource material that adds substance to the story you are telling; and at all times be honest with yourself when you write about others. These are the lessons I learned from Marc Baldwin at Edit911. His work is extraordinary and has made my work that much better.”

I thank John for his kind words and I also predict that The Gold House will be a major motion picture and result in a Congressional investigation. That’s how big and important this true story is.

Check out The Gold House trilogy in more detail: http://www.victoriopeak.com

And on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Gold-House-book-Trilogy/234711566648998

And YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/victoriopeak

You can also email John directly at: Johnclarence@johnclarence.com

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Edit911 is the world’s finest online proofreading and editing service. Our PhD editors are experts in book editing, dissertation editing, and other document, copy and text editing. Click here to get an instant quote for our editing services, or visit the contact page to discuss your project with us!

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Writing & Editing Humor

Thanks to sites like Pinterest, Tumblr and Facebook, we’ve come across some fantastic writing and editing related memes being circulated. We share them whenever we find them on our Facebook & Pinterest, so join us there if you love writing humor as much as we do! Some of our favorite sites to visit for more are The Oatmeal and Writer’s Write.

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Edit911 is the world’s finest online proofreading and editing service. Our PhD editors are experts in book editing, dissertation editing, and other document, copy and text editing. Click here to get an instant quote for our editing services, or visit the contact page to discuss your project with us!

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing and editing related advice, humor and news!


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Why Grammar Matters on Personal Blogs

Personal blogs — why grammar matters!

For those of us who have a personal blog, we know there is a much satisfaction in sharing our ideas. We spend time planning and writing our blog and we look forward to receiving likes and comments. Some of our blogs may be focused on a “cause” while others may just be a means of sharing life events with many people.

How much time do you spend editing your blog for proper grammar? Does it matter if you write things like “well” when you actually mean “good?” Will it impact your blog or readership if you interchange the words “there,” “they’re,” or “their?” It might surprise you how these grammatical errors might just impact your life.

Here are three ways that poor grammar might be impacting your world.

  1. Many jobseekers and career climbers are unaware that poor grammar is holding back their careers. Numerous online resources are reminding people that companies may not hire people who use poor grammar. Employers will take the time to look beyond your resume and cover letter. They now look at your online history and if your blog presents poor grammar or spelling issues this might be a deciding factor as to why you do not get the job. An employer might call into question your perfectly crafted resume and cover letter if they find other written documents with poor grammar – they will wonder which person they might hire. (Impact of poor grammar – Not Hired)
  2. Likewise, if you are competing for a promotion, your personal blog might be reviewed and quietly used as a reason to not promote you. Promotions often come with a need for increased verbal and written communication and these are skills that most employers do not have time to teach. If you present poor grammar outside of work, employers may worry that you will slip into bad habits while at work. (Impact of poor grammar – Not Promoted)
  3. Documents and blogs that you write in defense of a cause need to be properly edited and formatted. Poorly edited or formatted letters sent in support of your cause will receive less attention. Those who read these documents do not want to decipher what you are trying to say. (Impact of poor grammar – Your impassioned plea for your “Cause” is ignored)

So take a few minutes on that personal blog to make sure the grammar is correct. In the business world, it is very important to have a strong command of English grammar rules and be able to express your thoughts and ideas clearly using the written word. Maybe have one of your blog posts edited by someone who knows the difference between the proper use of “your” and “you’re.”

Grammar does matter, and people do notice.

Do you need a sabbatical?

By Dr. Kevin

Are you feeling burnt out? Do your day-to-day responsibilities at work stand in the way of a goal you have for your life? Perhaps a sabbatical is just the ticket for you. Once the privilege of tenured professors, the sabbatical is now spreading into the corporate world as a means of keeping employees happy, healthy, and productive.

Computer giant Cisco Systems in San Jose, California, experienced a surprising response when it created a pilot sabbatical program six years ago. Employees who accepted a two-thirds pay cut were offered a chance to volunteer for a year in the non-profit sector. Cisco expected 20 or 25 employees to sign up, but 300 made application. In its first year, 80 people were granted the sabbatical and Cisco has now added this program permanently to its benefits package. They are not alone. In 2006, nearly half of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” offered paid sabbatical programs.

The concept of a sabbatical originated more than two thousand years ago as evidenced in the Bible. The Old Testament directs the Hebrew people to let their fields lie fallow every seventh (sabbatical) year in order to give the land and its people rest and maintain maximum productivity (Exodus 23:10-11 and Leviticus 25:3-4). Similarly, Deuteronomy 15:12-14 stipulates that Hebrew slaves were to be freed from service after six years. What is more, their owners were to send them on their way with a generous share of provisions to live on.

The modern practice of granting sabbaticals can be traced back to the 19th century. According to Kenneth Zahorski, in his book The Sabbatical Mentor, in 1888 Harvard University recruited noted philologist Charles Lanman from Johns Hopkins University by offering him every seventh year off with pay. The practice spread quickly in academia and the church. The purpose for the sabbatical was to afford professors and clergy the opportunity to travel, pursue research, reassess direction, renew one’s spirit, and accomplish goals that were not possible within the bounds of normal career routines.

Of course, the benefits of a sabbatical can apply to any vocation and the option has spread, particularly among companies that rely on their employees to generate ideas or expend emotional energy. In general,  publishing, high technology, advertising, consulting, social service and counselling agencies are more sabbatical-friendly than natural resource, manufacturing or finance firms.

Professional “sabbatical coach” Clive Prout describes four main reasons why people take sabbaticals (www.thesabbaticalcoach.com):

Exploring Self and Purpose  – Perhaps the most fundamental motivation for a sabbatical, time free from work allows deep contemplation to answer the question “What gives meaning and purpose to my life?”

Changing Track – Some people sense that their current career path has run its course and in order to avoid stagnation and death of the soul, they can use a sabbatical to redirect their vocation.

Rejuvenation – Other people know that they are on the right track in their life. However, because they are highly motivated, they are prone to overwork and burn out. For this group the sabbatical is an opportunity for renewal. They can return to their life’s work reenergized and ready for more.

Escape – Feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, many people seize the opportunity for a sabbatical simply to relieve stress. They have no plan to sustain themselves when they return to the grind that has worn them down, nor do they follow any strategy to make lasting changes in their professional or personal lives.

Besides the personal benefits, the sabbatical also benefits the company and the colleagues of the individual taking the time away. Having a sabbatical policy aids the employer in both recruitment and retention of qualified employees who are seeking more than simply a high salary. Upon return from a sabbatical, the employee often brings new direction, greater creativity, fresh energy and increased loyalty. While veterans of many years are away on sabbatical, junior colleagues who fill in get the chance to expand their skills, demonstrate their talents and earn greater confidence from others. In this sense, the sabbatical becomes a developmental opportunity for all.

Even if your employer does not have a sabbatical policy in place, it may be possible for you to arrange paid leave if you plan ahead. Some businesses and education boards offer self-funded sabbaticals. In these situations, employees have a portion of their income withheld over several years. They are then able to use these savings to fund extended time off. The employer continues to provide health, insurance and pension benefits during the sabbatical.

So, write that book. Sail around the world. Volunteer on a short-term mission. Learn a new language. Explore a different culture. Nurture your soul. Refresh your spirit. Regain your health.

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Edit911 is the world’s finest online proofreading and editing service. Our PhD editors are experts in book editing, dissertation editing, and other document, copy and text editing. Click here to get an instant quote for our editing services, or visit the contact page to discuss your project with us!

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