Before you begin to write your research article, it is essential to have a clear idea about the intended readers, the impact of your research, and the target journals that generally publish such studies. A suitable set of journals should be selected after factoring in these requirements. Although for most types of studies, you are required to follow the IMRAD format, you should consider making your data as visually appealing as possible for the readers. In fact, many journals insist on providing additional data as supplementary information while submitting your articles. Nowadays, some publishers have even started encouraging authors to use videos to explain their research to the readers, which has made the overall publication process more impactful and interactive.
The key steps in organizing a research article are to first define an overall structure for the manuscript, decide on specific topics or sections, and then finalize the data that needs to be included in your main study. Based on the type of article that you are working, the overall formatting may differ, for instance, review articles require extensive literature research to be provided along with the actual study. Also, to increase the frequency with which articles can be published, many publishers are encouraging different types of formats such as communications in which the article does not require a defined structure, i.e., the IMRAD format.
Why Should Your Study be Published?
When you are looking through your data and the literature you must think of what makes your research different and attractive for researchers. In fact, at the beginning of your research, your hypothesis will be challenged by the current findings, so some of the questions that you should focus on are as follows:
- What is the interest for newer researchers in the data that is being published?
- What challenge can be highlighted in this study?
- Can the study be linked to a trending topic?
- Have I provided solutions to some difficult problems?
If all answers are “yes,” then you can start preparations for your manuscript. If any of the responses are “no,” you can probably submit your paper to a local journal or one with lower Impact Factor.
When responding to these questions, you should keep in mind that reviewers are using questionnaires in which they must respond to questions such as:
- Does the paper contain sufficient new material?
- Is the topic within the scope of the journal?
- Is it presented concisely and well organized?
- Are the methods and experiments presented in the way that they can be replicated again?
- Are the results presented adequately?
- Is the discussion relevant, concise and well documented?
- Are the conclusions supported by the data presented?
- Is the language acceptable?
- Are figures and tables adequate and well designed?, are there information duplicated? Are they too many?
- Are all references cited in the text included in the references list?
The aim of experts in reading a manuscript may be any one of the following:
- Update or expand their knowledge and understanding of the specific topic or subject area
- Learn about new concepts or techniques or obtain detailed information about existing ones
- Seek solutions to problems encountered in the course of their own work
- To evaluate the quality of the content of the article
When describing concepts, methods and results to general experts, sufficient background information should be provided, including any specialized conventions and terminology. This is usually not required for specialized experts, who can be assumed to have a considerable amount of knowledge. For an expert audience, it is essential to provide a detailed description of various parts and processes through the use of appropriate figures and tables.
Articles Written for Laypersons
These are people who possess little or no knowledge of the subject area or specific topic. Therefore, no prior knowledge should be assumed, and extensive and easily comprehensible background information should be provided. The use of technical terms should be kept to a minimum and if any are used, these should be explained thoroughly. Attempt to use examples or analogies with which people are generally familiar, and have a bearing on your article or research. Figures outlining the basic concepts should be presented along with those about specific results.
Laypersons may read your article for several reasons:
- Enhance their general knowledge
- Learn more about basics and current state of knowledge in a specific field with a view towards achieving expertise
- To understand specific concepts or methods with the goal of applying these in given situations
When targeting either experts or laypersons, it is essential that the article be written in such a way that it conforms to the journal style. Further, for improving overall readability and presentation, input from subject-area experts can also be taken into account. This allows you to generate more interest amongst readers and maximize the impact of the article.