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Workshop, May 2007

Publishing Articles: Resources and Recommendations

Dr. Karen Adams

Fellowship Communication Program Contacts

Dr. Amanda Gable, Director


Dr. Karen Adams, Fellowship Advisor & Writing Specialist



Recommended Resources

Silyn-Roberts, Heather. Writing for Science and Engineering. Oxford: Butterworth-

Heinemann, 2000.

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th edition. New York:
Modern Language Association, 2004.

Journal Articles: Format

Make reading easy by

Avoiding long sentences and paragraphs
Using appropriate headings to make scanning by the eye easier.

Remember—there is more information than people have time to absorb. Be clear and

Classic AIMRAD pattern for articles

Materials and Methods
Results (and)

Describe content in fewest possible words
Make title focused, short, but long enough to let reader know what is in article.
Include all key information—the title may be what appears in a database.
Title should make sense and not be ambiguous.
Types of Titles
Titles can include key conclusion of study
Title can state what article is about but not give key conclusion
Titles can have two parts joined by dash or colon—first part describes overall content and
second part describes specifics

Title Problems
Uninformative, too general, ambiguous-- does not indicate content of article
Too long and too much information

Title Page
See what journal requires--there are requirement variations. Usually included
Title of article
Name(s) of author(s)
Author title, department, institution
Corresponding author with contact information

Key Words
Key words are used for electronic indexing and abstracting services.
Know what the key words are for your article.
Both general and specific terms may be used.
Some journals require key words to be listed on title page.

One-paragraph overview of article
Navigational tool that includes keywords and main points
250-300 words for journal article--information—not a description of article’s structure
Brief methods statement
Reports quantitative results and a conclusion that places article in context

Abstract Format
Introductory statement--place article in context. Avoid statements of generally known
Methods--state what techniques or means of analysis were used
Results--include your conclusion about what your work means
Recommendations (if there are any)

What Not to Have in an Abstract

Anything that is not in the article
Tables, figures, references
Stock or trite phrases
Non-standard abbreviations
Too much detail or too much vagueness
Gaps in logical flow
Descriptions of the structure of the article

Brief but allows reader to understand background without going to outside literature
Provides context for results discussed later
May include relevant references
Needs to be tailored to audience
Shows scope of problem and how you address it
Defines specialized terms

Introduction Format
Tell a story and provide a sense of logic
Beginning—briefly summarize relevant current knowledge and support with
Middle—state what is not known or define problem about what is known by pointing
out conflicting evidence
End—state purpose and summarize your approach

Introduction To Do List
Make main point obvious
Cite pivotal references
Stay focused—not too short, not too general, not too long
Summarize approach used
Define specialized terms

Materials and Methods

This section is a good one to write first.
Describe procedures, design, and rationale.
Give enough detail for someone to repeat the work.
Enable reader to judge validity of results in context of methods used.
Do not include results.
Use past tense to describe experimental work (Cells were placed….).
Use present tense to describe common features (All three cell families show….).
Include critical detail but not trivial detail.
Consider the possibility that illustrations may be clearer than text descriptions.
Give enough information for reader to understand method used.

Results—Core of the Article

Many readers look at this section first after reading abstract.
Present results—do not discuss them.
Give readers enough data to draw their own conclusions.
Determine what is enough detail.
Do not interrupt this section with irrelevant detail.
Present data only one way—do not repeat in text what you have in tables, graphs,
Illustrations and captions need to be self-explanatory.
Point out trends.
Acknowledge results that do not support your hypothesis.
Do not cite references in this section.

Discuss—do not simply restate.
Present the answer to the research question you stated in introduction.
Include context--show relationship of your observations with works of others.
Draw conclusions—point out exceptions or lack of correlation when they occur.
Summarize evidence for each conclusion.
State limitations of your methods or study design.
State important implications.

Discussion Format
Beginning—state aim and briefly summarize results. Have main point at the beginning
—do not try to build up to it.
Middle—state subsidiary points in descending order of importance
End—present conclusion, its significance, and any criticism of your work


Thank those who helped with the article.

Include people’s first names or initials, title, department, and institution.

Cite sources at appropriate places in text
Number references—repeat original number if cited again
All sources are listed at end of article in numerical order.
Be sure a reference in text is in list of references at the end and that dates are same.
Cite all materials used--journal articles, conference proceedings, books, theses,
laboratory documents, newspaper articles, publicity materials, government documents,
web pages (include the date you accessed the web page since sites change), visual and
audio materials, letters, and oral interviews
Place for complex material that would interrupt flow of document
Should be present only if information serves a specific purpose
Should be well structured
Related material should be together
Give each appendix a number and a title (Appendix 3: Cell DNA Structure)
Text should mention each appendix

Tables, Graphs, Figures

Check basic statistics.

Be careful about using the word significant. It needs proof of some kind.

Experiment to see which format presents your information most clearly.

Publishing an Article: Choosing a Journal

Find appropriate journal for your field and topic. Consider e-journals as well as hard
copy publications.
Read sample articles and determine audience for this journal.
Look at FAQs and manuscript requirements.
Read sections on manuscript submission and how editorial decisions are made.

Submitting an Article
More than 1750 journals use online Manuscript Central.
Consider average lead time. Special issues may cause delay.
Look carefully at submission process.
Observe format and size limitations.
Text, tables, figures, and images may need to be submitted separately. Be certain
they are in correct format.

Working with an Editor

Editors often work in teams. You may receive more than one set of corrections.
Some (not all) editorial changes are negotiable. Talk with the editor and explain your
view if there is a difference of opinion.
As author, you are responsible for correct data and text. Proof read with care.