Engineering and technology research papers are an absolutely integral course requirement for scholars in these fields. As a physical science, engineers approach research in different ways. The research is more application-oriented and less theory-oriented.
Although it is essential to explain the theory behind the collected data, the physical results are considered more important than the explanations of the respective theoretical arrangements. For this reason, the steps for writing an engineering and technology research paper are slightly different from those in fields such as the social sciences. This blog is specifically for engineering and technology professionals looking to publish in Scopus indexed journals.
- What Makes For A World-Class Engineering & Technology Research Article
- Although writing engineering research papers may seem basic and less encompassing, the process should pay close attention to a number of elements that determine the accuracy and relevance of the research involved.
- These elements include –
- A Compelling Research Message
- The message is a central part of an engineering research paper.
- Research authors need to understand what they intend to accomplish in their research and stick to it until the end.
- Generally, engineering research papers seek to change people’s views on a particular problem.
- To achieve this, research authors need to make sure that the problem they are dealing with is interesting, complicated, and that they have found an appropriate solution.
- They need to make sure the message is relevant to their target audience, and the solution is original.
- Structuring The Article Clearly & Making The Outcomes Abundantly Clear
- Organisation and clarity are two crucial elements when it comes to writing an engineering research paper.
- When it comes to good organisation and clarity of results, a researcher’s engineering research paper should ensure that the message communicated is clearly stated from the outset.
- A well-written engineering research article does so sequentially, providing adequate detail.
- It is vital to note that no new set of information should be introduced along the way.
- This is important to ensure that the research paper is completely predictable.
- In itself, a proper approach requires that research authors first make their point and then provide supporting data.
- This is applicable for every one of the other sections and paragraphs.
- Supporting Data On Research Outcomes With Adequate Theoretical Information
- This involves providing the reasons for the collection and the status of the data used in the engineering research paper.
- Since these articles are prone to scholarly endeavours, it is important to explain the theory behind the data.
- This helps to illuminate the scientific research nature of the research paper.
- Theoretical explanations can be provided by exploring all possible interpretations and explanations of the data, referring to previous studies, and developing a hypothesis supported by the data collected.
- Eliminating Any & All Ambiguity & Offering Substantial Data To Back Claims
- It is crucial that authors be as brief and concise as possible when writing their engineering research papers.
- Research authors should avoid words or phrases that do not add value to the point raised.
- They need to be specific and ensure that all parts of the research paper serve the intended purpose.
- To ensure this, more reliance should be placed on numerical tables to relay relevant data and information.
- They should also strive to support their mathematical and textual presentations with tables and graphs.
- Attending a high-level 2023 upcoming international conference is sure to offer more insights on exactly how research authors can accomplish this.
- Ideal Structure Of A High-Quality Engineering & Technology Research Paper
- Most high-profile engineering and technology journals and academic publications require that manuscripts submitted to them must meet specific minimum standards before they can be published.
- Papers that fail to meet these minimum standards will generally be rejected by editors without even undergoing scientific peer review.
- These guidelines are provided to authors who have little or no experience in preparing scientific articles to ensure that their submission meets these minimum standards.
- A lot of these journals offer access to examples of well-written articles that should serve as models for the less experienced writer to emulate and learn from.
- Before setting out these minimum standards, it is important to highlight two significant imperatives.
- The first is that a manuscript should never be submitted for publication without first passing the author’s internal quality assurance mechanism.
- This may amount to verification by the author’s supervisor(s) or manager(s) or maybe a more rigorous procedure.
- Additionally, the article should be read carefully by all authors (not just the first author) as all authors are jointly responsible for the content of the article.
- Secondly, before writing a manuscript to submit for publication in an international journal, research authors should consider whether the purpose of writing the article is simply to expand their publication list for their next review or for their CV.
- If they are firmly convinced that their work can contribute something relevant to science in their field, then they can continue.
- Key Insights On Tech Research Publishing To Take Note Of
- Research authors shouldn’t just sit down and describe what they did.
- Sometimes even well-written manuscripts are rejected by reviewers owing to their lack of novelty, i.e., the reviewer asks, “what have I learned from this paper that I didn’t know before?”
- Many reviewers will notice that an author recently published a very similar article that differs only slightly from the one he was asked to review.
- This attempt to resell what has already been done is considered bad practice.
- Potential authors should note that, in a group of three or four reviewers, there is a high probability of having an equally knowledgeable reviewer.
- Besides, research authors should –
- Never submit an article that has already been rejected by another journal, as it could end up on the desk of a previous reviewer who rejected their manuscript.
- Never submit a manuscript to two journals at the same time, hoping that it will be accepted by only one. Besides being grossly unfair (they’re wasting a newspaper’s referees’ time), they can also hurt themselves. There have been cases where both submissions were sent to the same referee for review. Some journal publishers may decline to consider future submissions from authors who deliberately ignore this rule.
- Write in a clear and direct style – obscure wordings and overly long sentences quickly annoy the reader and may lead them to believe that the author’s thoughts are unclear. Sometimes self-criticism can help; authors should ask themselves: Do I understand what I just wrote? Reading articles by other authors can help develop a good writing style. (Of course, one should not copy the text of another author’s work.
- An engineering and technology research article should never be too lengthy, even when a journal does not prescribe a maximum length.
- Today’s readers usually don’t have time to read long articles.
- They instead wish to read articles that convey a single key message with concise text.
- The only exception is review articles which are generally more detailed.
- Recent policy changes regarding the ethics of scientific publications require that no advertising material be included.
- Authors should respect the ethical rules of a scientific publication provided in the ‘Guide for Authors’ prescribed by a journal.
- For good reasons, a scientific publication must have a definite structure which will be described in the following sections.
- The Title
The title of an engineering research article should be as short as possible and be descriptive of the content of the article. Normally, the title should not contain acronyms, as the vast majority are not known to the general public.
This applies in particular to acronyms invented by the author.
- The Abstract Section
The abstract should be a concise overview of the content of the article that explains –
The key problem addressed,
The approach to this problem, and
What was achieved?
The abstract shouldn’t contain acronyms, nor should it be used in section headings.
Authors should avoid referencing other publications in their abstracts; their place is in the main text.
An exception, however, to this rule may be a reference to a very important work by another author which served as the basis for their article.
- The Keywords Section
Keywords should cover the content of the article. Their importance is often underestimated – the keywords give the profile of an author’s article for the databases and must therefore be chosen with care. Most engineering and technology journals and publications have a long list of keywords.
- The Nomenclature Section
An article containing many formulae and, therefore, mathematical symbols requires a list of symbols used in these formulae. Otherwise, a reader always risks getting lost. These lists must be placed on the second page of a manuscript, and if acronyms are used, these should be furnished in a separate section of the nomenclature.
- The Presentation Section
Essentially, this section provides the rationale for the work a researcher has performed.
The existence of an author’s article implies that there is an unsolved or even new scientific problem to which they have devoted their work.
It follows that they should provide a concise presentation of state of the art in the field, citing relevant literature.
But they shouldn’t just provide a lengthy list of references. It should become evident in this section that they have digested what they referenced.
It appears, especially in articles by younger authors, that literature older than, e.g., five years, is not taken into account. As a result, older jobs are overlooked, which may have already solved their problem.
This is a question of significance – quite often, editorial teams at top journals receive articles that “reinvent the wheel”.
This and the question of other people’s undigested work is where reviewers can be particularly picky, perhaps because they haven’t referenced some of their work.
At the end of this section, they should briefly describe the void they filled and how they did it.
- The Methodologies Section
Here (or otherwise at the end of the Introduction), the presentation of the objective of the work and the methodologies used to achieve it are described.
Authors have to describe why they chose a certain material(s) and why they chose the particular methods used to characterise the material(s).
It may be necessary to exhibit drawings of the specimens with units (SI units only).
If standard specimens have been tested, a reference to the pertinent standard may suffice.
For a very comprehensive test program, a matrix-like table can provide a good overview.
Samples can be from ingots, semi-finished products, or components; their orientation and location in the source material must be specified.
ASTM and ISO offer standard designations for these.
The following information is required –
The type of tests that were carried out and the test conditions, for example –
The parameters that have been varied;
The quantities that have been measured and their methods of measurement with –
The quantities that have been evaluated and the procedures for evaluating them should also be described.
It is essential that all the testing procedures and/or additional theoretical work are presented in such a way that it is possible for anyone (with the necessary expertise) to duplicate these tests and/or theoretical work.
This is a crucial contribution to good scientific practice.
The Results Section
The best way to present results is to show them in clear diagrams.
Usually, the results should not be presented in the form of diagrams and tables.
Sometimes, however, it can be useful to have the results in numerical form, especially if they will be used for later evaluations.
These tables can be placed in the appendix. In any case, the double presentation must be considered with caution.
Of course, the experimental outcomes should also be described in words, but authors should not write what the diagrams already clearly describe.
Additional Tips For Theory/Computer Work
The above comments and recommendations are also valid for theoretical and computational work.
In articles based on calculation work, usually, the finite element method, the mesh (or network), the type of FE element used, as well as the boundary conditions and the input parameters, must be provided.
A person experienced in numerical analysis should know the limitations of their methods and models.
In articles on analytical work, authors should not just present derivations over a number of equations and pages; an explanatory text illustrating the course of their thought is absolutely necessary; otherwise, they will lose their reader’s attention.
The reader should be able to immediately understand the content of the author’s work without following the derivations in detail.
The correctness of the equations must be verified by intermediate calculations.
As in the case of experimental work, the simple description of certain numerical or analytical derivations without taking into account the theoretical (physical) context is normally not sufficient to justify a publication.
Merely reporting pages/tables of numerical results, like endless data of experimental work, without effort to ascertain, or at least hypothesise, the underlying meaning, or to fit empirical equations to the results, belittles an author’s work and has no value to the reader.
For an author to compare a numerical result to someone else’s numerical result can be informative, but it doesn’t quite prove anything.
Even generally accepted numerical results were later found to be incorrect (perhaps one made the same mistake or used the same bad assumption as the original authors).
Verification by comparison with already well-known solutions and validation by comparison with experiments are mandatory.
Good experimental work, even when using well-established methods, will at least deal with new test subjects –
For analytical work, in which case this is not so, the originality of theoretical contributions can be a critical issue.
- The Discussion Section
This section requires a lot of skill because it brings order and interpretation to the results.
The study of the effects of the variation of the parameters on the experimental results examined leads to conclusions on the mechanisms of the events studied and to the development of physical models.
This, in turn, can function as a basis for further analytical and/or numerical work, either in the presented paper or in future work.
This is definitely an important aspect of one’s contribution – merely reporting experimental results without attempting to investigate the underlying mechanisms is of little value, and such work will normally not be accepted.
Authors should remember that every experience is based on a pattern, even if they are not aware of it.
The objective of this section is to exhibit the knowledge gained from their work and to put their results into perspective by comparing them to state of the art described in the Introduction.
An author’s results will thus contribute to the overall knowledge of the field studied.
Where possible, schematic representations of the model(s) developed are a very versatile tool for conveying the message of the work undertaken.
These can be real eye-catchers, grabbing the reader’s attention and motivating them to read their articles.
A compilation of numerous diagrams and colour images does not give a scientific result.
A newspaper article is not a PowerPoint presentation. The order of the data and the systematic presentation and interpretation of the results is an intellectual effort that must be made by the author and not by the reader.
There are instances where it may be best to discuss the relevance of results in conjunction with their presentation in the results section.
- The Conclusion Section
As the title suggests, the conclusions drawn from the research work described in the document are described in this section. Research authors should try to be as concise as they possibly can.
A frequently used style is to start with a few sentences to summarise the work program and then list the main conclusions with bullet points.
Sometimes this section is misinterpreted as a repetition or rephrasing of the abstract.
This is not an acceptable practice. Part of the summary is a summary of the Conclusions section.
- The Acknowledgments Section
Acknowledgments are due to financial sponsors as well as colleagues who have supported the author in some way below the level of a co-author.
A printed “Thank You” is an inexpensive way to express professional collegiality.
- The References Section
Before composing their list of references (and also before citing them in the main text), research authors should check the reference style required by their chosen journal.
This information is generally provided in a journal’s ‘Guide for Authors’ section.
- Non-Native English Speaking Authors Have To Adapt
- This is a somewhat tricky point; on the one hand, no one expects authors whose native language is not English to deliver a manuscript in perfect English.
- On the other hand, a manuscript written in below-average language gives a bad impression, and the reader may be forced to conclude that the quality of the content follows the quality of the language.
- If the scientific content of a manuscript cannot be sufficiently assessed due to poor quality English, the manuscript will be rejected.
- In any case, for the definitive acceptance of a manuscript, sufficiently correct English is an essential necessity.
- Common errors are the misuse of the article (‘a’ and ‘the’) and the misuse of tenses (for instance, changing from past to present during a sentence).
- In many cases, even seemingly small deviations from correct language can obscure the true meaning of a statement.
- If an author is not experienced in writing manuscripts in English, they should consult the instructions for authors in the journal.
- Non-native English speakers eager to have their work published in globally reputed research papers will do themselves a world of good by participating in an upcoming international conference in 2022.
- Maintaining Thorough Professionalism All Throughout
- When writing an article, authors should put themselves in the reader’s shoes, so they can explain what they have done, asking themselves –
- Why have I covered this topic?
- What did I do?
- What did I get out of my job?
- How to interpret the results?
- Authors should avoid at all costs –
- Sloppy writing, e.g., many typos, poor style, tiny illustrations, poorly written equations;
- Long text containing redundant statements;
- Too many similar illustrations; and
- Making their manuscripts appear sloppy.
- When writing an article, authors should put themselves in the reader’s shoes, so they can explain what they have done, asking themselves –