Topics that should be avoided when writing a research paper

Selecting a topic for a research paper might be difficult, but there are some characteristics that can help an author to avoid wrong research topics. A topic should be fascinating to the writer/author and helpful to an audience, however; there are some topics that should definitely be avoided. For example personal information and personal stories, topics with a lack of approachable information, too narrow topics, too broad topics and controversial/political topics, same-sex marriage, religion/race, etc.

Below is a list of topics that one should avoid while picking up the research topic:

  1. Beyond scientific comprehension

Some issues, such as those relating to theology, are beyond the purview of scientific understanding; you may be interested in one of these areas, but there will be no outcome.

  1. Personal data and narratives

Unless you’re famous or have at least one book written about you, you can’t write a research paper based on your own biography or life stories. A research paper necessitates conducting research, which necessitates having certain sources to draw from in order to complete it properly.

  1. Topics about which no information is available

This may seem self-evident, but you can’t create a research report about a topic if you don’t have any data. As a result, you won’t have enough information to produce a good report.

  1. Topics that are too narrow

You don’t want to choose a topic that is difficult, if not impossible, to write about simply because it is too restricted. You can simply write about “volcanoes as a future source of energy,” but writing about “how deep Vesuvius is and why it is thus” will be far more difficult because it is just too precise.

  1. Topics that are too broad

You may feel as like you are drowning with information on your subject, yet you are unable to write anything down. That’s because there’s so much information out there that it’s difficult to tell what’s vital from what’s not. In contrast to writing on the economy in general, the free-enterprise system might be a good topic to choose. The economy is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of data and concepts to write about.

  1. Topics that have been proven in the past

Not every research paper needs to make a ground-breaking discovery. However, picking a topic that is apparent or has previously been established isn’t exactly difficult. Choose a topic that is intriguing and requires multiple sources to support it, rather than one that is based on popular information.

  1. Topics with untrustworthy sources

Strong, dependable sources are used in high-quality research articles. They’re no longer reliable if you can only discover information from one source or if the sources you’re using are extremely biased. Make sure you don’t choose a topic that is based on a single point of view, as this can be readily refuted or debunked.

Conclusion

To summarize, you should keep in mind that you will be given a limited amount of time to create a research paper and will have to do it entirely on your own. You can seek assistance from others, but ultimately, writing the research paper is your responsibility, and you must complete it on your own. So pick a realistic topic and limit it down to a manageable size so you can complete it in the allotted time. Before you choose a topic, consider your interests, but bear in mind that if the issue you’re interested in isn’t practical, it’s probably not a smart choice for your research paper. Choose your topic, but rely on your instructor to help you finalize it because she can assist you based on her experience, which you lack.

What is the Method Section of a Research Paper?

The method section represents the various procedures used to prove the research question or hypothesis.  It represents the experimental procedure conducted during the course of study in a detailed manner so that the reader can understand and if needed can reproduce. The method section is a specific and integral part of a research paper.

  • Importance of method in a research paper?

It provides the opportunity to judge the authenticity and reproducibility of the experimental procedures.

  • The framework of Method Section

The integral components that make a method section are participants, apparatus, and procedure.

Participant: It represents the animal, human being, or every specific substance on which experiments were conducted. It also represents the structural, functional, or any specific attribute of any entity that is examined.

Apparatus: It is the instrument used to conduct the study.

Procedure: It’s the step-by-step process of doing some activity to obtain results. The outcome whether positive or negative is reported. Generally, the procedure is repeated multiple times to ascertain the reproducibility of the results.

  • An important point to be mentioned while writing the methods?

Experiments conducted on human subjects should have clearance from the ethical committee. Some journals ask for ethical approval numbers as a mandate criterion for the submission of the article. Also, informed consent from the patient is a mandate in the case reports and other types of manuscripts as it may contain pictures from recognizable parts of the body.

Also, the Manuscript should comply with the Declaration of Helsinki and IRB guidelines. The former is a set of ethical guidelines from the world medical association while the latter protects the rights of human subjects participating in any research venture.

  • Extensive Literature searches

Databases such as Medline, PubMed, Google Scholar are pioneer repositories to get explore relevant Methods as per the research question of your article. The collection of context-specific and precise keywords is the important component that ascertains successful outcomes without being carried away from the topic.

  • What should be incorporated in a Method Section

Provide in-text citation

The past work that has been referred to for using a particular method should be cited in the method section to give due acknowledgment to the concerned author.

Source of participants

The details from where the non-human subjects came from should be mentioned. Details such as the total number of animals, Number of male/ female counterparts, sex, age, mating history, medical history are few attributes that should be mentioned. In the case of human subjects, the place of study such as hospital, medical college details should be mentioned. If any database or repository was used to procure medical records of participants then the details should be provided.

Inclusion / Exclusion

The basis for the elimination or incorporation of any parameter should be mentioned.

Grouping of participants or subgroup formation

Any subgroups that were formed for specific testing or any modification of protocol to emphasize some facts are also mentioned in the method section.

Study Design

An author should in detail, describes the step-by-step preparation conducted during the course of the study. The particular chemicals, Drugs, instruments, kits, dyes used along with their brand details should be mentioned. It should give a detailed overview of each and every step such as the number of washings, incubation time, amount of solvent, etc. The aim is to provide necessary details so that the study can be reproducible.

Statistical analyses

Details of statistical tests used in the study should be mentioned.

  • Pits fall in writing Methods

Unnecessary information should be avoided. The background of the study should be in the introduction and not in the methods.

An author should emphasize how the methods helped them to address the research question.

Any hindrances that were faced while performing the experiments and how modification helped to overcome the same should be mentioned.

  • Conclusion

During the course of experimentation, an author should not overemphasize the instruments and should write the methods as and when the experiments were performed to avoid missing any details.

The 4-Step chaperone to publish your research articles

Performing a scientific work not only needs intellectual ability but demands time investment and dedication. After scarifying festive, family time, and a good night’s sleep, the hard-earned work is worth to be published.

  • Be aware of social spam 

One of the examples of misutilisation of technology is the speed of illegitimate and fake journal websites. They lure authors with fake promises of fast and hassle-free publication. We should be aware of fake emails and promotional emails of these fake websites. Rather should search individually by opting for authentic websites such as PubMed, SCOPUS, DOJA, or can even visit the particular journal website if You know the ISSN Number or website details.

Any basic and important query pertaining to APC, word count, review time, and type of article are mentioned with clarity within the reputed journals.

  • Search for high compatibility journals 

Aiming at the best-fit journals means having the utmost clarity not only regarding the objective of the research question but also on the AIM and SCOPE of the selected journal. Your work should sync with the domain of expertise of the journal. At the same time, you should maintain a realistic approach regarding the impact factor and quality of work. The best-fit journal is one that not only is par with your research interest but has less review time, is economical, guidelines are easy to comprehend, the submission process is straightforward and hassle-free, and lastly can positively assess and accommodate your generated work.

  • Clarity on the submission process 

You should have a list of the documents needed while the submission process such as cover letter, title page, highlights, supplementary data, patient consent, Copywrite form, etc. Also the format of submission such as its vial online or email ID based should be accessed before handed. An inventory of the needed document while summiting and password combination should be maintained.

Journals vary in reference formatting, along with a representation of figures and tables within text or as separate images. Journals can ask for American / British English containing manuscripts with a specific font, size, and margin of the doc or Latex file or can have specific template for formatting.

  • Appealing cover letter and Manuscript TITLE 

The cover letter should be written in a polite manner highlighting the gist of the paper. It should also clearly state regarding the authentication of the submitted work, non-submission in multiple journals, authors contribution along with mailing address of the corresponding author.

Similarly, the Title gives the 1st glimpse of the article therefore should be informative but not clumsy, compact, eye-catchy, and original in content.

Publications of Clinical trials in Scientific Journals – Mandatory

A large number of clinical trials are conducted every year however researchers get limited excess of these data.

  • What are clinical trials?

These are the study conducted on a large group of people to evaluate the efficacy of drugs in a particular disease or test a particular surgical procedure or even in behavior analysis. They are effective means by which scientists understand the pros and cons of any drug or treatment strategy.

United States Food and drug administration (FDA) initially gives the approval to begin the clinical trial. The texts are performed in the laboratory animals to get a preliminarily set of information pertaining to the study; subsequently, human trials are followed based on efficacy and safety.

Publishing Clinical trails

Conducting clinical trials is aimed to get the needed scientific intervention within a requisite time period to acquire sufficient scientific evidence which can shape our scientific understanding. Clinical trials are published in medical journals or are part of clinical trial registries.

However, as per reports around 50 % of trials remain unpublished post-completion.

  • Clinical trials on kids and young subjects to evaluate a drug should not just remain as a piece of data in gov. It is due to the potential value of the information that cannot be accessed by the general public until it gets published. Also, the due repotting of clinical data in the context of kids can be lifesaving also.
  • The publishing of Clinical trials should be a mandate, as the scientist by delaying or not publishing the data are predisposing the life of many innocent people especially if a drug is investigated for studies for its potentially dangerous side effects.
  • Also, companies conduct clinical trials to hype up their products. If the company product is not performing well then most likely they keep hanging around.
  • Clinical trials not getting published as the researchers don’t find the results very interesting to be part of a peer-reviewed journal. Results having novelty or not should be a part of a publication.

Writing the Results Section of a Research Paper

Writing a result section is the most straightforward and apprehends to be the easiest part of writing a manuscript. However, in real situation, it can turn into a nightmare if the authors get confused about the “research question” over which the project was designed. 

  • What is the result section?

It is the supportive evidence of the hypothesis or the ideology stated by the author. It gives a clear, concise, and impartial fact-based interpretation of the aim and objective of the manuscript.

Important points while writing RESULTS

  • Reiteration of the aim and objective of the manuscript

A short paragraph at the beginning of the result stating the focus of the paper is essential to keeps the audience focused.

  • Sub-sectioning of the result section

To effectively organize the results section subsection focusing on various data or aspects of analysis can be designed. The division can be based on the “The core objective or research question asked in the manuscript” OR on the basis of statistical significance quantification methods.

  • Results should be an unbiased representation of the observation

The results depiction should not be influenced by the author’s will. It should be clear, logical, objective, and impartial reporting of the facts. It should answer the research question by the analysis and interpretation of obtained data. The interpretation should be statistically correct or significant.

  • Tables / Figures for deciphering results

Results should contain good quality none pixelate figures to support the research finding. Properly labeled tables that summarize the finding and analysis are crucial parts of the results. The presentation of results should be clear and to the point.

  • Representation of statistical correct data

Results represent the statistical accurate data that is authentic and not obtained by chance. The statistical test should be completed represented and only significant data should be the part of results. The raw data should be provided as supplementary data for a better understanding of the reader.

  • Comparing profiling of the observations with similar articles

To support the hypothesis or research question we can site the reference of the similar findings of other authors in the result section. However, plagiarism is not allowed.

  • Results should be written in past tense with a conclusion of the observation

The results are mentioned in the past tense as the observations are first made and then penned down. The result should end with a concluding paragraph to reinforce the finding in the minds of the author.

Duplicate or Simultaneous Submission and Publication

It is mandatory for authors to agree with the publication ethics while submitting their research papers for peer review to a journal. The articles submitted for publication must be original and must not have been submitted to any other publication. However, it is often seen that the authors disregard this requirement and submit the same research paper (or with minor modifications) to two or more journals. Like plagiarism, the duplicate submission can be of different types: exact duplicate, partial duplicate (substantial), or duplicate with minor changes (article title, references, or authors).

Issues with Duplicate Submission

Duplicate submission is an unethical practice and violates the copyright norm. It leads to the wastage of editorial and review resources. The publication record of the author includes misleading information. The same research paper appearing in two journals raises questions about the reputation and peer review policy of the journals. Another similar practice involves splitting up a single study to publish multiple articles (salami-slicing), to increase the number of publications.

Avoiding Redundant Publication

For authors: If the two research papers are not the exact copy of each other and the author wishes to submit them to two different journals, then the author must:

  • Disclose the details of each paper to both the journals
  • Inform both the handling editors (managing editors) that a similar research paper is under review in another journal (use cover letter to inform).
  • Explain the distinct difference between the two research papers and why two research papers were produced instead of one from the same topic
  • Do not replicate content from other published paper
  • Each paper must address separate research questions.

 

For journal’ reviewers:

  • Always use text-matching or plagiarism tools for screening redundant publication
  • Check the extent and nature of overlapping
  • Major overlapping: identical or very similar findings and/or evidence that authors have sought to hide redundancy e.g. by changing the title or author order or not citing previous papers)
  • Minor overlapping: overlapping in the methodology section or re-analysis of the data
  • Inform the editor about the redundant publication

 

Dealing with Dual Submissions

While working on two different manuscripts that use the same dataset, or if the article is going to be published in different languages, always let the editors know about the plans.

Contact corresponding author in writing, ideally enclosing signed authorship statement (or cover letter) stating that submitted work has not been published elsewhere and documentary evidence of duplication.

Contact author in neutral terms/proceeds with review expressing concern/explaining journal’s position. Explain that secondary papers must refer to the original and request a missing reference to the original and/or remove overlapping material.

In conclusion, ultimately, there’s no need to send out the same manuscript to multiple journals at once. It’s against most publishers’ policies and will only cause delays or even retractions.

How to Publish Research Papers in Highly Indexed Journals?

Most students and researchers struggle to publish their research work in a suitable and highly indexed journal. Lack of knowledge in organizing the paper, selecting a journal, formatting as per guidelines, and revising as per reviewer’s instruction are the reasons for such struggle. Getting published in prestigious, high-impact academic journals is a highly competitive proposition. However, these challenges can be avoided by following the below instructions:

Writing a research paper

Choosing the appropriate topic is the primary step of writing a research paper. A good and relevant topic must be selected with a narrow and interesting focus area, and yet wide enough to find sufficient data. Prepare an outline, note down all the information or ideas that must have come to mind while going through the literature review. Prepare a draft, organize the information collected. A rough draft must be prepared where the ideas are written in an unfinished form. This helps organize ideas and determines the final format of the paper. The draft must be revised as many times as possible to create a final product. The final document thus created is the first draft of the research paper.

Selecting a journal

Verify the scope of the target journal; even a remarkable, novel research work is likely to face rejection if the research topic doesn’t align with the scope of the journal. The quality of any journal is assessed based on the number of abstracting and indexing services. It is recommended to adopt a balanced and realistic approach while choosing the best journal.

Formatting

A research paper must be formatted so that it complies with the guidelines of a journal or style manual. Prepare your submission according to the specifications set out in the Author Guidelines of your chosen journal. Ensure that the word count falls within this range, not above or below it. The author’s information must be provided with a brief abstract and keywords. Further, the text must be arranged in headings Introduction, Methodology, Results, Discussions, and conclusion. Cite the references in the text as per the guidelines and list them after the conclusion. All the other necessary information regarding ethics, conflict of interest, funding, the acknowledgment must be provided on the title page.

Submission

Before submitting the research paper the author must have all the mandatory information required for submission. Kindly read the checklist provided on the journal site and prepare the documents accordingly. Once the information is collected, proceed with the registration step and complete the submission carefully.

Cover letter and Abstract

The abstract should be prepared carefully and encompass the aim and scope of the study; the key problem to be addressed and theory; the method used; the data set; key findings; limitations; and implications for theory and practice. A cover letter speaks about the uniqueness of the research work that has been carried out, what makes the findings of the research study of deep significance to the future of the discipline, and why the research methodologies employed to carry out the research are extraordinary and profound.

Conclusion

All the above criteria must be considered if aiming to publish a research paper in a highly indexed journal. High-impact and highly indexed journals accept less than 10% of the research papers submitted to them, hence, proper attention, planning, and careful implementation are required to improve the likelihood of getting their work published.

What are the most popular reasons editors usually reject your paper for?

Rejection hurts! Especially if it involved rigorous hard work for a long period of time with many author’s contributions. There can be several reasons for rejection of the manuscript, such as overlooking of journal’s scope, understanding the communications made by the editor can ascertain the reason for failure.

The technical reason for journal Rejection!

  • Plagiarized content in the manuscript

Copying other’s work as own is ethically incorrect. Nowadays, publishing houses are very stringent about the authenticity of the work and take advanced measures to keep it checked prior to the publication of the article.

  • Lack of Authenticity

The editor can reject your article if you have exactly reproduced the work already published. As it shall be boring for the authors and hence not the “cup of tea” for the journal.

  • Inessential Publication

In case you try to publish what u have already published or the majority of work the article quotes your previous work then very likely the editor will reject the paper.

  • Lack of Worldwide significance of the content

The majority of the journal specifies in their aim and scope, regarding the global audience base. Hence, the article should be well framed keeping in mind the worldwide perspective.

  • Multiple submission of the manuscript to different journals

The author should make sure after getting a clear NO from one journal shall opt for other as multiple submission is a potential danger to your reputation and career. Furthermore, is a wastage of the reviewer’s time, also you have delayed someone else’s chances of manuscript assessment.

  • The core component of manuscripts such as materials and methods or results are missing

Each section is equally important as all cords joined can only make a sensible story.

  • Figures and Table are blurred

The data is the evidence of the stated hypothesis.

Hence, following the needed journal’s guidelines in the content of figure, table, graph, chart formatting is crucial for the audience’s clarity.

  • Non-accordance with the journal Guild lines

Journal has guidelines stating the format in which the manuscript should be arranged, be it the font, line and page numbering, or Vancouver style for reference citation. Sometimes, Highlights or graphical abstract is demanded by the journal to accomplish publication. The author should be well aware of the Journal specification and shall abide by it.

  • Manuscript Length

Poor fit with journal guidelines for manuscript length in terms of the type of paper can reject the article. For instance, a research article that should be no more than 5000 words including abstract, main text, and reference should be stringently followed to avoid rejection.

Topic lacks accordance with Journal’s audience

The content in the manuscript does not suit the audience or reader of the journal can lead to journal rejection.

Manuscript interpretation is difficult

Sometimes the author wants to convey his study but lacks the ability to put forward the results or the theme in an appropriate way. Also, the author loses the flow or consistency during the course of execution of research as result the interpretation and correlation among the results to build a story gets distorted.

Lack of concrete hypothesis in the “introduction” of the manuscript

The hypothesis or question behind the work is missing. Very often, the hypothesis doesn’t fit with the content of the paper or is poorly formulated.

Inaccurate data interpretation and result analysis

There can be flaws in the methods and material or the sampling. Significance value and statistical analysis calculation can be incorrect.

Flaws in language, and writing style

Grammatical correct and scientifically appropriate words are critical and important aspects of scientific writing. The idea or theme of the paper along with the results should be presented incorrect language. Peer review by friends, family, and colleagues can contribute in an effective way towards scientific writing. Editing services can be a great help by providing writing assistance. For, instance “Reseapro” a well know client service provider can give a new refreshing look to the manuscript by providing assistance in terms of substantive editing, copy editing, and even rewriting the manuscript. Also,  the decision-making in terms of “what type of correction can make an article get published” is also addressed by taking insights from experienced editors.

Inappropriate referencing style

Formatting of text citation and bibliography of the manuscript needs the following styling guide with a precision of on the dot.

The discussion and conclusion should justify the objectivity of the work

The discussion is the climax of the manuscript. It should justify the objective of the paper by giving a valid and in-context explanation of the results.  Furthermore, should render scope for further research. Conclusion, on the other hand, represents summary in a compact way with specific and context-appropriate information of the manuscript.

Journal is highly selective with plenty of good ones piled up

Sometimes journal already has plenty of good copies lined up and may reject a not so-so work if it has a more promising one on a similar topic. Sometimes, the research submitted is a very common topic and has already been published extensively in recent issues and hence may not be prioritized.

Ethical dispute

Ethical clearance is a must for successful publication. Patient consent forms or documents supporting ethical committee clearance while conducting experiments on animals are highly valued pieces of evidence that speak about the authenticity of the work.

Conclusion: Manuscript Rejection table is governed by multiple factors. A careful and thorough assessment of the editorial communication can render insights toward the needed measures to be taken for attainting authorship.

How to publish your research paper in a journal indexed under SCOPUS database?

Founded in 2004, SCOPUS is one of the largest indexing databases for journals and books in the medical and life sciences field. Over 25,000 journals and 200,000 books are indexed under the SCOPUS database. Publications are the primary metric for success in the research field. Publication in a high-impact and peer-reviewed scholarly journal is the ultimate aim of a researcher to demonstrate his/her credibility. Popular and reputed databases such as SCOPUS indexes the journals by considering several factors; regularity (issue release frequency), type of review process (peer-reviewed or not), and reputation of the journal. Hence, publication in a SCOPUS indexed journal can be challenging. The following section describes a step-by-step process that will help you to publish your research paper in a suitable journal indexed under the SCOPUS database.

Performing search in the SCOPUS database

It is effortless to search for SCOPUS indexed journals under a specific category or with a keyword on the homepage (https://www.scopus.com/sources.uri). One can search for a specific journal just by providing simple details such as –

  • The specific subject of interest,
  • Title or Keyword of the specific journal/publication,
  • Name of the publisher, and
  • ISSN code

However, if one is not sure of these details, he/she can perform a broader search by selecting the specific subject area of the research.

Identifying the target journal

Check for the aim and scope of the journal, examine the nature of the journal, and ensure its peer-review process. Research about the journal performance and understand the review and publication timelines. Confirm whether your target journal is indexed in SCOPUS by performing a search in the database, as mentioned in the above section. Keep ease, quality, reach and impact at the forefront of your mind and look for the appropriate publishing models (Open Access or Subscription-Based).

Preparing the research paper based on journal guidelines

Author guidelines are made available by the author in the author’s information or about the journal section. Follow the guidelines provide while formatting your paper and attach a cover letter (must) and mention the reason if any of the given instruction is not followed. Always limit the number of tables and figures and remove additional information to concise the data. Prepare figures and tables carefully and format exactly as mentioned in the guidelines. The length of the manuscript must be considered while formatting. An ideal length for a manuscript is 25 to 40 pages, double spaced, including essential data only. Write a concise and straight-to-point conclusion. Do not just repeat the abstract; the conclusion should explain the novelty of the research and the future aspects.

Submitting Your Paper

The final step is to submit the final formatted paper to the target journal via the submission portal. A good and complete understanding of the journal’s terms and conditions is required while submitting your paper. One should be aware of where to submit a paper, submission deadlines, submission fee, or open access fee, and any other procedural necessities to follow before submission.

In conclusion, having a research paper published in a Scopus indexed journal is of great importance for researchers. Researchers require carefully preparing and understanding all the requirements for formatting and submission. The requirements for scientific publication in a SCOPUS indexed journal are very high, and every researcher must understand this before submitting their work for review.

ManuscriptEdit helps authors and researchers at every step of their publication journey by offering dynamic and customizable editorial services including Proofreading, Formatting, and Journal Recommendations and Submission.

Should I reply to an editor after a paper has been rejected?

Communicating with journal Editor

It is crucial to develop and maintain a professional understanding with the editor. Although, it’s true that the author generally is hesitant to communicate in the context of the manuscript status. Clear professional discussion on the other hand can be the best way to restrict overthinking by the author and also gives a clear view regarding the fate of the manuscript.

Accepting the unexpected “Manuscript Rejection”

Although, manuscript rejection sets in a sense of failure, and for some time the author goes through a period of “trans” where the acceptance of manuscript rejection is deliberately denied or in some cases is not completely accepted. This is very much normal if its continues for a small period of time. However, a mind full reply to the editor is a must.

Steps to assimilate rejection and “Move on” by replying to the editor

  • Although how depressing or heart-wrenching it may seem, making oneself prepared or the mere thought of writing back to editor post rejection is the 1st step to recovery.
  • The author by deciding to write back to the editor makes up his mind to also read and re-read the loopholes of his work. The latter is the deciding act which in due course of time makes the researcher scholar an “Author”.
  • Once the pitfall or gaps of the paper is ascertained, next crucial aspect is to frame right, affirmative, context-appropriate answers or viewpoint in a polite and elaborate manner to the editor.
  • The author must gracefully accept the rejection and take the comments or query as the “stepping stone to success”.

 

Why replying to the editor is important to post rejection:

  • It’s an important step to become a successful author as it evolves collecting and introspecting the critics.
  • Rejection always does not mean “END OF THE WORLD”, generally the editor recommends the work to other related journals wherein the focus and aims gels better most appropriately with the content.
  • A rejection email by the editor also clarifies the line of undertaking the researcher should take in the future. A free and frank discussion can go long way not only to accomplish your desire to publish but also reboots the positive spirit.

 

Conclusion: It’s always better to reciprocate than to regret. A frank, free, detailed discussion with the editor regarding manuscript rejection can shatter the clouds of disappointment and manifest new zeal and confidence warranted to become a successful author of a peer-reviewed article.