How to write research paper for journal publication 2023

Writing a research paper and having it published in a reputable peer-reviewed publication is a crucial part of the careers of many research scientists, engineers, technologists, and scholars from most other disciplines. It is also a vital part of the scientific enterprise. Something this critical needs to be executed well. Nevertheless, most scientists and engineers don’t think of themselves as good writers, so how can the average researcher go about writing a decent scientific paper? The great news is that it isn’t necessary that you’ve got to be a professional writer to write a decent research paper, but you do have to be a prudent one. And while the creativity that often characterizes good science sometimes spills over into the writing of that discipline, in general, good research writing doesn’t necessitate creative writing. In particular, writing for a peer-reviewed scientific or technical journal requires learning and performing a specific formula for presenting scientific work.

Understanding the three pillars of science can be seen as the combination of three essential elements – 

  • a common collection of expertise (both facts/data and theories); 
  • a method of assessing the effectiveness of scientific theories by comparing the predictions of these theories to observation/experiment; and 
  • a philosophy of skeptical inquiry and the firm belief that all scientific knowledge is tentative and subject to modification when posed with new evidence. 

This decomposition of science into a body of knowledge, a method, and an attitude is useful in evaluating the “scientific” content of a given behavior. If one of these three pillars of science is lacking in an activity, it cannot be claimed that the activity is scientific. The growth of scientific knowledge is mostly incremental – we build on past knowledge more often than we displace it. Thus, the first pillar of science – a common collection of knowledge requires mechanisms for the dissemination and preservation of knowledge within the scientific community. By far, the most important mechanism used today is scientific publication. Although there are many forms of scientific publication, the most important is the peer-reviewed journal article. The objective of this blog is to help authors produce good academic research articles and manage to have them successfully published in their preferred journals.

If you’re thinking of writing a scientific paper for peer review and publication, what should your first steps be? Ideally, you have thought about the possibility of writing and publishing at the start of your educational research for journals project, as early planning can help you avoid problems later. But first, you should ask yourself about your motivations for writing a scientific paper.

Understanding The True Significance Of Writing & Publishing A Research Article

Writing a research paper and having it published in a peer-reviewed journal is no easy task, even after all the blood and sweat that goes into undertaking a research study that produces publishable outcomes. So why do people do it? What inspires authors to go through the writing process, then the peer review process, in order to get their work published? There are two types of motivations. These are – altruism and self-interest, and most research authors combine the two.

  • Altruism

Peer-reviewed scientific publications are the most prevalent method for the dissemination and archiving of scientific advances (books, conference presentations, and academic teaching are other common means) today. Science develops and advances through a common collection of knowledge that is constantly challenged, revised, and expanded. Most researchers (this includes engineering in the broadest sense of science) have a burning desire to contribute to the development of their discipline, which is often their main motivation for becoming a scientist. Publication is usually the easiest way to make such a contribution and is, therefore, highly motivating (and satisfying) for most scientists.

  • Personal Objectives

Publishing can even bring tangible benefits to an author, providing self-interested motivation to write and publish an article. Publication may be necessary for career advancement and often comes with direct or indirect monetary rewards. The familiar “publish or perish” paradigm in academia adds a proverbial stick to the career advancement carrot. But even without these obvious professional motivations, almost all human beings yearn for recognition for their efforts. A lot of researchers are very motivated by the reward of peer recognition. They’re happy to see their work used and referenced and proud to publish in journals that they respect and admire. Research paper writing services come in handy for people with this motivation.

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Balancing Altruism & Personal Objectives

Selfish motivations aren’t inherently bad or even fundamentally worse than altruistic motivations. Any properly regulated and well-functioning “market” (to use economic parlance) aligns self-interested and disinterested motivations as much as possible. Every author has a combination of these two categories of motivation. The problem arises when altruism and self-interest are not balanced. 

In particular, if self-interest becomes so strong that it becomes selfish and overwhelms the altruistic goal of scientific progress, the whole scientific enterprise may suffer. In the academic world, as in the economic world, systems that promote a greater disparity of “wealth” contribute to unbalanced selfishness. A win-win situation, where only scientists with top-rated papers published in top-rated journals have a chance of getting jobs, tenures, grants, and students, will skew motivations toward self-interest. Some universities actively apply both pressures to their professors. The result can be a continuum of wrongs – 

  • lack of motivation for replication experiments, 
  • bias against zero outcomes, 
  • increased prevalence of fashionable and safe science versus creative exploration, 
  • unnecessary bickering over priority, 
  • preference for competition over collaboration, 
  • lack of transparency and full disclosure, 
  • conflicts of interest, 
  • double publication, 
  • plagiarism, and 
  • outright fraud. 

With the exception of outright fraud, most journals witness all of these wrongs in manuscripts submitted for publication. Where some or all of these wrongs are up or down today is unknown. 

The best way to combat imbalanced self-interests is to find ways to constantly remind yourself why you became a scientist or engineer in the first place – to make a positive difference in the world. If you keep your altruistic motives always close and never compromised, self-benefits can come. 

  • Nothing Trumps Comprehensive Literature Research
    • A new research project almost always begins with desk research, or at least it should. 
    • The objective of research is to evaluate the state of our common knowledge on a subject before embarking on a quest to add to that knowledge. 
  • Since science is either confirming or disproving existing knowledge or developing new knowledge, a thorough understanding of the current state of common knowledge is essential. 
  • In addition, this literature research will form a basis for your citation goals.
  • Note that literature research is not about finding relevant articles but about reading relevant articles. 
  • Unfortunately, literature research is rarely done as well as it should be. Here are some tips for improving literature searches –
    • Undertake literature research before undertaking your own research and certainly before writing the article.
    • The next most promising articles to read are often those referenced in relevant articles you have already found.
    • Searching in fields outside your discipline (this often means searching for different search keywords, which one discovers recursively by reading literature outside of one’s discipline).
    • While your memoir of previous articles worth citing is a good start, no one ever knows the full breadth of the literature, even in the smallest of niche areas. Don’t just rely on your memory.
  • When you complete the manuscript, look for recent publications on the topic.
  • Often other researchers are working on similar topics and may have published articles that should be read to ensure that your manuscript captures the latest common knowledge in the field. 
  • Starting literature research always leads to a difficult question – “when’s the right time to stop?”. 
  • There’s no end to the useful research material one can keep discovering. This is the nature of modern science. 
  • Knowing when to stop (or pause) desk research and start new work is a matter of judgment and experience. 
  • Those people scouring the web for topics such as ‘how to write research article writing‘ and related terms should understand the value of literature research before proceeding to write.
  • Devising A Strategy For Undertaking Research & Implementing The Strategy With Publication As The End Goal
    • Most projects begin with the goal of writing an article as a consequence of the work, or at least with the idea that it might be a possibility. 
    • If so, research should be planned and executed with publication in mind. 
    • One of the essential requirements of a scientific article is to document the work in adequate detail so that readers can follow the logic presented and validate the conclusions drawn. 
    • In addition, the authors of a published article must be inclined to defend the work against criticism, and therefore they must have available for later review the raw data used and meaningful details of the experimental procedure.
  • Above all, these objectives require good laboratory record-keeping.
  • Traditionally, the “lab notebook” was made use of for this very purpose. However, these days it is often a virtual notebook of well-organized digital files. 
  • Knowing what you may need from these records for writing a google scholar research paper can help you keep your records. 
  • For example, if you look at the requirements for what is necessitated in a method section of an article, you will know what record keeping is needed to facilitate the method section writing process. 
  • Raw data is often manipulated, reformatted, filtered, summarized, and graphed before being presented in a publication. 
  • It is almost always required that data be archived at each of these different stages. 
  • You haven’t got to be in a position to publish a chart where the “picture” of the chart is the only thing left of the original data.
  • The Keys To Writing A Compelling, Engaging, & Impactful Research Article

Experienced authors have a distinct idea of ​​what is required to write a good scientific article, and so they devise a strategy for and undertake a research project with the requirements of publication in mind. For those with less experience, it is recommended that you read this blog at the start of a research project to ensure that you can meet the most crucial conditions of writing and publishing your work.

  • Precise Formatting & Methodical Research Are Ingredients Of World Class Research Writing
    • Writing is, by nature, a creative process. 
    • It would seem a great choice for the scientific researcher when coupled creativity together with critical thinking is the key to success.
    • Alas, many scientists do not consider themselves skilled research writers, finding the task of writing both daunting and arduous. 
    • For readers not already experienced in writing articles for scientific journals, there is a secret to learn – you don’t have to be a great writer in order to write a decent scientific article. 
    • This is the reason – there is a formula for structuring and organizing a scientific paper so that the scientist/writer can concentrate on what they’re best at – the science – and bother less about the writing. 
    • A writing formula can seem like a recipe for mediocrity, and in some contexts, that would surely be true. 
    • But for the scientific article, the focus should always remain on the science, with simple tools and words to effectively convey the information. 
    • Over the past 350 years, scientific journals have developed a distinct style, structure, and organization (look up any research papers website for more on this) that make it easy for both author and reader to get what they need – effective communication of scientific ideas. 
    • A huge difference between journal-based scientific writing and the diverse forms of writing seen elsewhere is the very limited scope of this medium. 
    • A scientific article does not have to be everything for everyone. 
    • It’s a narrow genre with a narrow (though very significant) purpose. 
    • A particular scientific community isn’t a random sample of humanity but a subset that shares an established and understood fundamental scientific background, a widely agreed upon set of common objectives, and an already established set of mechanisms for communicating scientific information. 
    • By following the standard structure and organization of a scientific research article, the writer is limited in many ways. 
    • But these constraints free up the author and reader to concentrate on the content, which often culminates in a good article.
  • Being Aware Of The Skeletal Structure Of A Scientific Article 
    • The vast majority of articles published in scientific journals today follow a fairly simple structure. 
    • With a few variations, most articles use an “IMRaD” format –
      • Introduction
      • Method (experiment, theory, design, model)
      • Results and Discussion
      • Conclusion
    • This format is so ubiquitous that it is often surprising to see a paper that deviates significantly from it. 
    • Of course, there are numerous variations on this theme, and the structure is intended to further the goal of communication, without ever hindering it. 
    • There are two main advantages to following the IMRaD structure – it makes it easier for the author to organize the content of the article, and it makes it easier for the reader to discover the information they are looking for opportunistically. 
    • The following sections examine each of these standard sections in more detail. 
  • Writing An Introduction That Pulls Readers In
    • The Introduction section must offer insight into what the significance of a research paper/article is and why readers should bother devoting their time to reading it. 
    • However, it is still necessary to answer these two questions. 
    • Thus, an introduction must inform the reader about the subject of the article and motivate him/her to continue reading. 
    • An article must meet four criteria before being published in a scientific journal –
      • The contents of the research paper/article must correlate with the journal’s scope.
      • The quality of the article (method and implementation of the research, and even the writing) must be adequately high.
      • It must present new results (with the exception of review articles and others).
      • The results must be important enough to be worth reading (and therefore publishing).
  • Of these four criteria, the author must clearly claim three in the introduction (scope, novelty, and importance). 
  • Quality is implied and must be demonstrated, not explicitly claimed.
  • The basic introductory flow begins with the general and then moves to the specific. 
  • The introduction to the research paper goes through three phases –
    • Establish a territory (what is the area of ​​work, why is this area important, what has already been done?),
    • Establish a niche (signify a gap, raise a question, or challenge previous work in that territory) and fill that niche (describe the purpose and announce the current research; 
    • optionally summarize the findings).
  • An alternative structure of these three parts of the introduction makes use of –
    • topic, 
    • problem, 
    • solution (for engineering), or 
    • subject, 
    • observation/discovery, 
    • explanation (for science). 
  • Some articles end the introduction with an overview of the article, although there are researchers who don’t really prefer that style.
  • Section headings are more impactful than a table of contents in prose form. 
  • Some common pitfalls when writing an introduction include providing unnecessary background information (telling the reader what they already know or don’t need to know), overstating the importance of the work, or do not specify the research questions that this article attempts to answer. 
  • Participating in an international conference 2023 should help you network with veteran research authors who’ll be glad to offer you more advice and suggestions on this. 
  • Offering Conclusive Insights Into The Execution Of The Research Through The Methods Section
    • The Method section (sometimes referred to as the Materials and Method section) describes how the results were generated. 
    • It should be detailed enough that an independent researcher working in the same field can reproduce the findings sufficiently to allow validation of the conclusions.
    • Often this does not require explicit step-by-step instructions but instead references to previous publications that provide such details.
    • For some research articles, it is the method that is new. 
    • For this case, a much more detailed description is needed. 
    • For standard or well-established methods, naming the method may suffice. 
  • There are really two interrelated goals at work – the reader must have the ability to reproduce the results and the ability to judge the results.
  • Although very few readers attempt to replicate another’s experience, most attentive readers attempt to judge the validity of the work they read. 
  • Internal validity means that the conclusions drawn are supported by the results presented. 
  • External validity has to do with the extent to which conclusions can be generalized (rather than being applicable only to the narrow confines of this single work). 
  • Without a meticulously written method section, it isn’t possible to evaluate the veracity of the work. 
  • A “method” is used here more widely than an experimental method.
  • The method may include the development of a theory (either as necessary background or as a new part of the document), the establishment of a specific device design, or the development or description of a tool modeling to use. 
  • A common variant of the IMRaD structure separates the theory (or design or modeling) into its own previous section before moving on to the experimental method. 
  • A good method section should not only describe what was carried out and how it was done but should also justify the experimental design.
  • What’s the reason for opting for the chosen method instead of all the possible alternatives? 
  • Statistical considerations, such as sampling plans and analytical methods used, should be explained. 
  • If raw results are not presented, a description of data reduction procedures is required. 
  • Also, think about how a figure or diagram could be used to illustrate or summarize the methods. 
  • A common shortcoming of method sections in many journals research papers today is the abandonment of the reproducibility goal.
  • Usually citing economics as a guiding principle, the method sections are often too brief and lacking in detail. 
  • Very rarely do method sections offer clear explanations for why a certain approach was preferred over other alternatives. 
  • No one reproduces the work of others anymore, or so we think. 
  • This attitude is erroneous and often self-serving. 
  • Some researchers may not want their results replicated and, more specifically, may not want the validity of their results questioned. 
  • Some might wish to hide certain details for various commercial reasons. 
  • However, the furthering of scientific knowledge necessitates both reproducibility as well as the capacity to assess the quality and veracity of published outcomes. 
  • A thorough and detailed method section is the first and most important step in achieving both of these goals. 
  • Other common pitfalls when writing the Method section – including results in the Method section, including superfluous details (unnecessary for enabling reproducibility or judging validity), or treating the methods section as a chronological history of how the entire research project was carried out. 
  • Nailing The Results & Discussion Sections Helps Leave A Lasting Impression In Readers’ Minds
    • The results of an article, if included in its own section, should be very short. 
    • It is merely a presentation of the outcomes generated through methods highlighted in the previous section. 
    • This is organized in a manner that makes the findings easily digestible for readers. 
    • Often, these results are presented in the form of tables and/or graphs.
    • Well-designed tables and figures require very little supporting text in the body of the document, so the results are usually combined with a discussion of them in the results and discussion section. 
    • A crucial goal when reporting results is to clearly identify results that are new (never previously published) while properly citing results that have already been published.
    • The evidence cannot be explained. 
    • The objective of the Discussion section is to offer an explanation of the findings of the study and show how they help answer the research questions posed in the introduction. 
    • This discussion usually goes through the steps of summarizing the results, discussing whether the findings are as expected or completely (or partially) unexpected, relating these findings to those of previous studies, interpreting and elucidating the findings (oftentimes by comparison to a theory or model) and to make assumptions about their generality.
  • The Discussion section reverses the format of the introduction, moving from specific (the results generated in this work) to general (how these results demonstrate a general principle that is more broadly applicable). 
  • Any problems or shortcomings encountered during the work should also be discussed, especially if they may influence how the results should be interpreted. 
  • Potential mishaps to watch out for when writing the results and discussion section include –
    • lack of organization;
    • presenting results that are never discussed; presenting a discussion that does not have any connection to any of the findings; 
    • presenting results and discussion in chronological order instead of in a logical order;
    • ignoring results that do not support conclusions, or drawing conclusions from results without strong logical arguments to support them.
  • Ending On A Strong Note
    • The Conclusions section provides a brief summary of the findings and discussion, but it should be more than just a summary. 
    • After showing how each research question posed in the introduction has been addressed, it is worth highlighting the implications of the findings and explaining the significance of the work. 
    • The objective here is to provide the most general claims that can be supported by evidence. 
    • This section should be reader-focused, avoiding a list of all the things “I” or “we” have realized. 
    • When writing this section, imagine a reader reading the introduction, skimming through the figures, and then jumping to the conclusion. 
    • The conclusion should precisely convey the key message(s) that the research author hopes to convey. 
    • It should not repeat the arguments advanced in the results and discussion, only the final and most general conclusions.
    • While the results and discussion section is often quite long, the conclusions section is usually short. 
    • The second goal of the conclusion is to offer a future perspective on the work.
    • These can be recommendations to the public or a roadmap for future work. 
    • A small amount of speculation may be appropriate here as long as it is relevant and clearly labelled as speculative. 
    • Some common pitfalls when writing conclusions are the repetition of abstract (this is why a lot of veteran research authors are constantly looking to refine the skill of writing an abstract for a research paper), repetition of background information from the introduction, introduction of new proof or new ideas not encountered in results and discussion, repetition of arguments advanced in the results and discussion, or failure to address all of the research questions posed in the introduction. 
    • Because a conclusion should be more than just a summary, there are researchers who prefer “Conclusions” as the title of this section to “Summary”.

Condensed Rules

  • Rule #1

Understand What You Hope To Achieve Before Doing Anything

  • First and foremost, you need to be absolutely clear about the writing task in front of you. 
  • Your mentor or research guide should have given you this information – the theme or idea on which the research paper should focus. 
  • Minimum word count or page length. 
  • In the case of published research papers for students, a research paper can be just a five-paragraph essay, while for graduate students, a research paper can even be more than fifteen pages.
  • How your research should be cited.
  • Subjects accepted and not accepted.
  • Layout (including structure, double or single spacing, font types/sizes, etc.).
  • Other requirements, including process details, topic submission, etc.
  • Time limit.
  • Knowing and understanding these details ahead of time means you won’t have to revisit your paper and edit any work. 
  • If you’ve any questions or if anything is unclear, contact your guide/mentor before beginning. 
  • Approach the globally renowned IFERP research consultancy if you’d like professional assistance in this regard. 
  • Rule #2

Pick A Topic That’ll Have Everybody Wanting To Know More About

  • Since each research paper involves the study of different approaches, hypotheses, techniques, etc., you should make sure that the topic you think you would like to write about has also been studied by others. 
  • Otherwise, you will certainly have to spend double the time and effort to arrive at substantial search results.
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  • That doesn’t mean you should avoid these difficult topics, especially the ones you’re passionate about. 
  • If your instructor is willing to help and provide step-by-step instructions on how to undertake it properly, you’ll certainly want to take the plunge. 
  • This could show the teacher that you’re ready to take on the extra work and may even boost your grade for making the extra effort.
  • Another crucial thing is to pick an interesting topic so as not to get bored with your research work and not complete it. 
  • Jot down a few questions about your topic that intrigue you enough to want to find the answers. 
  • If you are unsure how you can turn these questions and answers into your document, talk to your professor for instructions.
  • For some courses, you will need to submit your topic idea in advance. Instructors may request this because they want to be sure that there are not too many students covering the same topic and that it is what they are looking for. 
  • If you’ve got to make an appointment with your teacher to come back to the subject of your homework, don’t wait until the last minute! 
  • Others might have already grasped it, and your teacher will notice that you are procrastinating. 
  • Approach the best research papers writing services provider if you’d help with this. 
  • Rule #3

Begin Your Hunt For Reliable Sources

  • To dig deeper and make sure that your research is founded entirely on proven facts and statistics, it is essential to use only verified sources of information.
  • Make the most of these popular services, such as –
    • Google Scholar, 
    • Google Books, or 
    • Microsoft Academic. 
  • They make it possible for you to find scientific articles, journals, books, or other types of research material. 
  • Simply enter a search query and browse the list of relevant links. 
  • Here is a short list of other useful websites –
    • Use many websites with .gov or .edu extensions.
    • Online libraries with detailed category listings are also worth checking out. You’ll be able to discover high-quality material in minutes. Pick your preferred category and click on the search button. It’s that simple.
    • If you decide to refer to a particular term and unearth when and how the term appeared, try encyclopedias. By checking out or, you can also learn the most accurate facts about the achievements of scholars, the theories they developed, historical dates, and more.
    • Of course, you can always use your institution’s library too. Sometimes the professors/librarians will already have compiled lists of suggested readings that could assist you with your assignment, and you can definitely talk to the librarian if you need help finding something.
  • If you use multiple sources, be sure to keep track of all of them. You may wish to write a short note next to each one on your list saying exactly what you’d like to use it for. For instance, one source might contain a paragraph on immigration laws, while another contains a quote on theories on the origin of life.
  • Rule #4

A Long Paper Isn’t Necessarily A High-Quality One

  • A 15-page article can seem daunting. 
  • Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you should try to use trickery to make it look longer than it should actually be. 
  • High school teachers and college professors know about them, and they might cause you to get a lower grade or even fail the assignment. 
  • They will notice.
  • Some examples –
    • Using a different font identical to the requested font but marginally larger
    • Use of 13pt font when a 12pt font is requested
    • Spacing slightly larger than requested (1.1 paragraph spacing instead of the 1 requested)
    • The margin increases
    • No twitch

Adhering to these rules will certainly help you nail your research paper writing. One final suggestion would be – don’t procrastinate. It means hurrying through every step of the process. Writing a research paper can involve a lot of legwork, and questions may arise. If you keep it until the day before the research paper submission deadline, you could run into serious problems.

Not everyone is good at writing, either by nature or by inclination. For those of us who don’t moonlight writing articles for Forbes and other renowned publications, writing a good article in a scientific journal is always within reach. A very useful tool is to organize your article according to the IMRaD model and to follow the general advice listed above. Of course, if the nature of your work requires a different structure, you shouldn’t be afraid to change and invent. But most of the time, structuring your article according to the standard organization most commonly used in scientific journals makes the writer’s job easier and the reader’s time more efficient.