HOW TO WRITE A ‘GOOD’ RESEARCH PAPER

Writing a good research paper and getting it published depends on many factors. It requires proper planning, preparation, and disciplined hard work to get published. However, by the end of the day, the quality and content of the article are what matters. Unless the article is of good quality, no journal will be willing to publish it.

Here are some basic tips on how to write a good article that is accepted by a journal.

Topic: Your topic is the first calling card for your article. You must choose your topic carefully based on the recent developments in your field. If you want to publish your article in a journal with a high impact factor, you must also understand that the editors will require an article that will be popular enough for its readers to maintain the high impact factor of the journal. The relevance of the topic and expressing it smartly via a suitable title is very crucial.

Core work: Your article may be based on your recent research activities, or maybe a pure review of the literature. In either case, it must be of top quality. For original research, the results you report are obviously the high-point of attraction. However, given there are many academicians working on the same topic, there has to be some differentiating factor in your research that will make it stand out from the rest. This depends not only on the research question or hypothesis you set for your experiments but also on what you’re finally present in your article. The same research can generate multiple publications depending on how you choose to present it before your audience.

Review of literature: Every publication requires a review of the literature section. While hard-core review papers are based solely on this factor, even research papers require a review of the literature section to set the context. Your review of the literature has to be up to date with the latest developments and ideas in your field. While writing a review of literature, the message is not about how extensively you have read up on your subject but really about the insights you derive from them. A review of literature is all about perspectives developed from existing literature and it should be conveyed in your article.

Understand your audience: For a successful publication, especially in a journal with a high impact factor, you have to write the article from a reader’s perspective. Figure out what would interest a reader to read your article. A good way to go about it is to understand what interested you as a reader when you were doing your research. Reading good articles not only helps develop knowledge on the subject matter but also teaches us how to write. Revisit your references to see how they were written, the language, the questions they addressed, and what attracted your attention in the first place.

Discipline: Proper formatting, referencing, indexing of content, labeling of charts and figures are the basic hygiene for any good article. It is best you inculcate these habits from the very start to avoid excessive revisions later.

Understanding manuscript evaluation by high impact journals

Every academician wants to publish their articles in high impact journals. This in turn makes it extremely challenging as all such journals are flooded with submissions. In fact, for many of these journals, it is a challenge for the editorial team to select suitable articles to publish from the sea of submissions.

As an author, while you already have clarity of what you want to convey via your article, you also need to understand what the editorial board of a high impact journal is looking for to publish. Therefore, it is important to understand the manuscript evaluation process of such journals.

What is manuscript evaluation: Essentially, A manuscript evaluation is an in-depth, developmental, and structural manuscript editing report developed by the editorial team of a journal. It provides a bigger picture of the manuscript by deeply analyzing its many facts and is shared by junior editors with senior colleagues. The manuscript evaluation covers technicalities, like whether the manuscript follows author guidelines, whether proper citations, indexing, and data labeling have been done, etc. All these can be covered by proper manuscript editing at the end of the author before submission.

The other critical aspect of manuscript evaluation is the qualitative assessment of the article. This looks into the structure and organization of the article, the clarity of ideas espoused, the brevity and consistency of the language in which it is written.

Do your basic hygiene check: every author must focus on manuscript editing to ensure a basic standard before submission, especially to high impact journals. Articles written badly, with poor language or paragraphing are automatically rejected. The manuscript should have a clear point of view of the research and should deviate in course of the narrative. Structure and organization of the article, be it in terms of sections, paragraph construction, the flow of a narrative from one section to the other, must be well planned and executed.

Evaluate your work from an editor’s point of view: any editor of a high-impact journal is very conscious of maintaining the high impact quotient of their publication. Therefore, they are not only looking for good quality papers but are also keen to publish papers that they feel will be widely quoted and cited. Therefore, they are also assessing the impact factor of your manuscript. Some of the criteria they have are:

  • Will other researchers be interested in reading the study?
  • Does the article match the journal’s present audience, or help reach out to newer audiences?
  • Does the importance of the advances offered in the article up to the standards of the journal?
  • Does the manuscript add additional value to any discourse or does it just add noise to an already busy field of study?

When you write your manuscript, relook it from the editor’s point of view and check if your research meets these criteria.

Lastly, do remember that it is only after the Chief Editor has passed your manuscript will it be shared for peer review. So, you need to clear it with editors before a field expert actually evaluates your article.