Research Paper: Tips to Improve Your Manuscript


You’ve spent months or years conducting your academic research. Now it’s time to write your journal article. For some, this can become a daunting task because writing is not their forte. It might become difficult to even start writing. However, once you organize your thoughts and begin writing them down, the overall task will become easier.

Organize Your Thoughts

Perhaps one of the most important tasks before you even begin to write is to get organized. By this point, your data is compiled and analyzed. You most likely also have many pages of “notes”. These must also be organized. Fortunately, this is much easier to do than in the past with hand-written notes. Presuming that these tasks are completed, what’s next?

When suggesting that you organize your thoughts, ask yourself what you are trying to convey to the reader. What is the most important message from your research? How will your results affect others? Is more research necessary?

Write your answers down and keep them where you can see them while writing. This will help you focus on your goals.

Aim for Clarity

Your paper should be presented as clearly as possible. You want your readers to understand your research. You also do not want them to stop reading because the text is too technical.

Keep in mind that your published research will be available in academic journals all over the world. This means that people of different languages will read it. Moreover, even with scientists, this could present a language barrier. Always remember the following points as you write:

– Clarity: Cleary define terms; avoid nonrelevant information.

– Simplicity: Keep sentence structure simple and direct.

– Accuracy: Represent all data and illustrations accurately.

For example, consider the following sentence: «Chemical x had an effect on metabolism». This is an ambiguous statement. It does not tell the reader much. State the results instead: «Chemical x increased fat metabolism by 20 percent».

All scientific research also provide significance of findings, usually presented as defined «P» values. Be sure to explain these findings using descriptive terms. For example, rather than using the words «significant effect», use a more descriptive term, such as «significant increase».

Helpful Rules

In their article entitled, «Ten simple rules for structuring papers», in PLOS Computational Biology, authors Mensh and Kording provided 10 helpful tips as follows:

  1. Focus on a central contribution.
  2. Write for those who do not know your work.
  3. Use the «context-content-conclusion» approach.
  4. Avoid superfluous information and use parallel structures.
  5. Summarize your research in the abstract.
  6. Explain the importance of your research in the introduction.
  7. Explain your results in a logical sequence and support them with figures and tables.
  8. Discuss any data gaps and limitations.
  9. Allocate your time for the most important sections.
  10. Get feedback from colleagues.

Source: https://www.enago.com/academy/tips-effectively-structure-research-paper/

The following post from our publisher PC TECHNOLOGY CENTER will also be helpful in preparing your manuscript of the article:

– 7 reasons for the negative assessment of reviewers

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