Whether you’re finishing your master’s degree or Ph.D., it’s not uncommon to want to turn your thesis into a journal article and start your career as a published author. Every researcher contemplates doing this to build their reputation, share their work with the community, build credibility, and make their research more accessible.

However, while using your thesis as a basis for a journal article is expected, the process of changing a thesis to a journal article is not easy. Some assume this process is a simple copy and pasting job, but this could not be further from the truth. The aim, audience, length, and structure differ between theses and journal articles, making the conversion a challenging and lengthy process.

This article will discuss how to write a journal article from a thesis and the considerations you should keep in mind.

Thesis vs. Journal Article: What’s the Difference?

Theses and journal articles are very different bodies of work. While a thesis is an academic document committee members and professors review, a journal article meets journalistic standards and is reviewed by peer reviewers. Additionally, while a thesis contains chapters and is quite lengthy and detailed, a journal article is divided into different sections and is more succinct. Theses also differ from journal articles since they include all findings, while journal articles usually have results relevant to the hypothesis and research question.

How To Turn a Thesis into a Journal Article

Because of the many differences, the thesis to journal article conversion isn’t a simple process. However, adapting your research into a journal article is possible if you go through the proper steps. We’ve outlined these steps in detail to make the process easier for you.

Select the Right Journal

The first step in converting a thesis to a journal article is picking an appropriate journal for your work. Your research needs to be within the scope of the journal. The journal should also be accredited, have a relevant target audience, and be one that your peers can access. When choosing the right journal, you can think about the acceptance rate for articles, its reputation, and whether it covers other similar topics.

Additionally, you need to understand the journal’s reference style, structure, and guidelines, so you can tailor your article to meet requirements. When you’re selecting a journal, you can look at your reference list, to begin with. You can also speak to colleagues or your academic advisor for suggestions or look through an open-access journal database like the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Other resources for finding suitable journals include Elsevier’s Journal Finder and the DOAJ open access journal matcher.

Shorten Your Thesis

A thesis is much longer and detailed than a journal article. To successfully turn your thesis into a journal article that’s ready to be published, you have to rewrite it in more concise language. You must choose the relevant research in your journal article without adding unnecessary details. It’s essential to paraphrase your work without distorting the meaning or conclusion you’re attempting to convey.

If your thesis addresses multiple research questions, it’s often best to tackle this in different journal articles. When writing a journal article from a thesis, narrow the focus to your primary research question or topic. You may have to not only eliminate large chunks of text but may have to remove entire sections. This is normal since you’re condensing a large document to about one-third to one-fifth of its length. Brevity is essential, but don’t prioritize this at the expense of clarity. Keep in crucial data but ensure you’re focused on the topic at hand instead of supplemental topics.

Turn Your Introduction Into an Abstract

With a thesis, your introduction is sure to be a lengthy one. The thesis to journal article process will see you transform your introduction into an abstract. These are usually between 150-250 words, so it’s imperative that you’re succinct and target key points that are attention-grabbing and focus on your primary research question. You can use both the introduction and the discussion sections from your thesis to write the abstract for your journal article.

Write a New, Brief Introduction

While you’ll still need an introduction to your journal article, this differs from an introduction to a thesis. In addition to focusing on a single research question, you must pare down the literature review to studies that directly relate to your hypothesis and specific topic. Your introduction must make the hypotheses, aims, and research questions clear.

Keep the Methods Section Short

Theses go into immense detail about methodology. This isn’t the case with journal articles. One of the most important things to keep in mind when learning to write a journal article is to keep your research approach short and sweet. You must provide enough information for readers to understand how you collect and evaluate data. However, you don’t have to explain how the methodology works. Instead, you can reference supplemental materials or other studies that have used similar methods.

Report Findings in a Concise Manner

Your main findings should be covered in the results section concisely. Instead of reporting every analysis you’ve run, narrow your results down to the main findings directly related to your research question and hypotheses. One way of doing this is through tables.

Don’t Repeat Results in the Discussion Section

Avoid repeating the results in the discussion section. This section must deal with how the findings impact your conclusion. To strengthen your journal article, focus on how your research and conclusions support or expand upon previous research. Ensure you address any limitations in your study and provide insight into future research. Topics to discuss include sample size, methodology limitations, validity, reliability, and more.

Only Include the Main References

Your master’s or Ph.D. thesis will likely consist of all the works you’ve referenced. However, when writing a journal article, citations will be limited. Thus, you must choose the most recent and relevant ones. One helpful tip is to include meta-analyses and reviews since these cover more literature and reference prior studies.

Thoroughly Edit the Final Manuscript

Clarity is key when editing your final manuscript. You must have sound arguments, a concrete voice, and concise but comprehensive findings. In addition to this, it’s also recommended to have a second pair of eyes edit the final journal article for spelling, grammar, and verbiage. This ensures your research is presented in the best light possible. Whether it’s a proofreading service, a colleague, or a friend, this step can save you from research rejection <internal link to article on common reasons for research rejection>.

This step is especially important if the journal’s publishing language isn’t your native language. We know this process can be a difficult one. Therefore, if you want to maximize the chances of your journal article being published, you can opt for Edit911’s professional journal article editing services. Edit911 also specializes in transforming theses and dissertations into publishable books and articles. Reach out to us for additional information here.