Librarians or journal editors themselves will readily provide you with these competitiveness indicators. For example, the American Psychological Association APA publishes an annual report containing most of this information regarding the journals it publishes, usually in the August archival issue of the American Psychologist. Data from 28 APA journals were presented in the most recent report 1. None of the above journal characteristics are necessarily good or bad.
Their importance is in matching the manuscript optimally to the goals and characteristics of the journal. Many times, I write manuscripts that would not be appropriate for a highly competitive or widely distributed journal. For example, I once gave a speech that I thought was unique and deserved to be in print. I chose a journal with limited circulation, one that was not very competitive but was happy to receive my submission.
Now, I frequently distribute copies of that article and it is another peer-reviewed publication on my resume. Now it is time to narrow down the list of potential journals by comparing their characteristics to those of the dissertation or other existing or hypothesized work product.
This is a multi-step process. To begin, consider the ultimate goal in publishing the manuscript. Is it to influence clinicians' behavior? Then, focus on journals that are geared toward clinicians and be prepared to write a short article, as clinicians are busy people.
Is it to inform a particular group e. Then, focus on journals that are commonly read by those audiences. Is the content applicable to a wide audience? Then focus on journals that are generalized, not specialty journals, and journals that have wide circulation. However, these are often among the most competitive journals.
Alternately, a very specialized topic may demand a specialized journal. Is the goal to introduce an audience to a topic that they would not normally think or care about?
Then, consider publishing in a journal geared toward audiences who are interested in the general topic of the manuscript e. Is the goal simply to get something into print that is worthwhile but not particularly sophisticated or influential, rather than never publish it at all?
That is a fine goal; a less competitive journal may be a wise choice in that situation. Compare the list of journal characteristics to these and other such questions, noting in each case whether a given journal on the list seems to be advantageous, disadvantageous, or neutral. This process should narrow down the list of journals by at least half, leaving you with no more than 5 — 7 journals still under consideration.
Some journals publish this in each issue, others only once per year. Most journals will have this document on their website. Study that page for additional information that can further narrow the list of journal options.
The instructions page may contain lists of topics that are welcomed or discouraged, information on page limits, and descriptions of the different types of manuscripts it welcomes e. Some journals have several sections, each one devoted to a different type of manuscript. Do not limit the conceptualization of journal-worthy publications to full-fledged research studies. There are many types of articles that journals welcome. Certainly, there is a style that will match any fresh idea or experience one would like to impart, no matter how much that idea or experience differs from a conventional research study.
After considering the above factors as they relate to the dissertation or intended manuscript, narrow down the journal options to three or fewer. If the final choice is not obvious by now, it may be helpful to contact the journal editor to discuss the nature of the intended submission and whether or not the editor thinks it is appropriate for the publication.
Editors are proud of their journals and, in some sense, are like talent scouts in that they are always on the lookout for appropriate, quality submissions, especially from new authors. Most will give generously of their time and advise or guide in this matter.
Send the editor a brief e-mail describing the essential features of the proposed manuscript i. This is a more neutral approach than attaching a copy of the manuscript and asking or implying that the editor should review the entire article.
This brief e-mail is simply seeking a quick opinion on whether a manuscript such as the one planned or actually completed would be welcome for review. If that particular journal does not seem appropriate, the editor may advise on how to alter the manuscript so that it would be more appropriate or give advice on alternative publication outlets that would be more appropriate.
After a final decision has been made on the most appropriate journal for submission, ensure that the manuscript conforms to the characteristics, style, and preferences of the chosen journal.
Also, follow exactly the instructions given to potential authors. The following method has proven valuable in helping writers pare down their dissertations to manageable size, yielding a manuscript that reflects the most essential elements of the dissertation but also complements the characteristics, style, and preferences of the journal that was chosen as the preferred publication outlet.
As will be described below, after the bullet point list is created, a number of strategies are used to distinguish essential bullet points from unessential ones based upon the views, motives, and knowledge base of the intended readership of the chosen journal for submission, and not from the author's viewpoint. Finally, the remaining bullet points are organized according to a functional outline of the manuscript.
The manuscript first begins to take shape through compiling a list of several dozen or so bullet points, each one identifying a fact, issue, finding, or other detail that must be written about.
These bullet points are chosen and organized in a fashion that will allow the manuscript to flow smoothly and logically for the intended reader. It is imperative to understand that the manuscript is not being written for yourself nor for a dissertation committee nor even for the journal editor. The manuscript is being written for the average reader of the chosen journal. Do not begin this exercise until carefully considering what this average reader is like and, in particular, what they need to know and do not need to know e.
This image of the average reader should emerge readily from the previous investigation into the characteristics of the journal selected for the submission. For example, when writing for a deafness-related journal, I do not need to plan on a bullet point explaining how the linguistic structure of American Sign Language ASL differs markedly from English.
When writing for a journal outside of the deafness field, I may well need to include such a bullet point in order for later topics in the manuscript to make sense.
To create bullet points, read through the dissertation or other starting material and list as a bullet point each of the issues, topics, or findings written about, one-by-one, from start to finish. Commonly, each bullet point will capture the essence of an entire paragraph or more of text. The content of a bullet point should never be repeated. Try to limit each bullet point to a dozen or so words. Do not bother listing any issues, topics, or findings that will not be included in the manuscript being written.
Working from a dissertation, one may end up with a list of or more bullet points. Here are a few examples of bullet points that emerged from the dissertation of one of my mentees. Her dissertation was a study on minority women's experiences in prenatal care. After generating the bullet point list or, better yet, during that process, apply the following three tests to each bullet point to determine if it truly is essential to the manuscript or whether it can be eliminated.
Be very conservative here; the goal is to eliminate as many bullet points as possible, perhaps up to half of the bullet points that the dissertation generated. However, save this longer bullet point list, in case at a later time it is decided to add a point back in or if a reviewer asks to explain something further.
Remember to think of the average reader of this particular journal when applying this test. Ideally, the final list will have no more than 40 bullet points. Writers who are beginning from scratch, not from existing material like a dissertation, obviously would skip the above step of creating and then winnowing bullet points based upon a pre-existing work.
However, creation of a bullet point list from one's ideas alone, and testing each point as explained above, is still an excellent approach for preparing to write a manuscript of any kind.
Whether starting from a pre-existing document or from scratch, the following functional outline is next used to organize and further modify the list of bullet points in preparation for writing. Below are the elements of a functional outline for a typical research manuscript, such as one being developed from a dissertation.
The outline headings below would differ a bit for other types of manuscripts, such as theoretical articles. Regardless, the purpose of the functional outline is to guide the author in selecting and organizing bullet points in ways that will assure that the manuscript is cohesive and flows logically for the reader.
It is important to note that the headings of the functional outline do not exactly parallel the traditional headings of a research article. Instead, the functional outline reflects the order of narrative flow that is common in academic writing. It is recommended to organize the bullet point list in accordance with this functional outline. Subsequently, the actual manuscript headings can be selected in ways that make the most sense based upon the content of the work.
When considering each section of the functional outline, move or label bullet points as belonging to that section. After completing each section of the functional outline with the appropriate bullet points from the list, review them in accordance with the functional description of each section provided below and assure that there are no significant gaps missing information and no extraneous points that deviate from the purpose of that section.
Putting a dissertation together can seem intimidating. Complete dissertations contain a multitude of sections, or chapters. Full dissertations are usually written at the PhD level and the average length can range between one-hundred to two-hundred pages. Dissertation chapters go through several revisions while the candidate works on each piece with an academic supervisor. Before you write the abstract, you should have a good idea and solid outline of what you want to research.
Be prepared to run through several revisions, depending on feedback from your academic committee, academic supervisor, or as changes occur to other portions of the dissertation. Briefly state what your general topic is about and give some background information on it. Depending on the academic discipline, the thesis could be stated in the form of a hypothesis.
In general, your thesis should be one sentence and state what results you believe to be true and why. Provide a brief analysis of the data and relate the results back to your thesis. Writing the introduction for a dissertation is far more intensive than that of a typical essay or research paper. With a dissertation, save the final draft of the introduction for last. This way you can pull out the most important pieces of information from each section of the dissertation. Define your main research problem or question.
You need to be succinct, but also provide enough background on the problem or question to allow your audience to grasp the subject matter. Include a summary of your actual research study, including the data results. You will also want to include a summary of your literature review or at least a few citations from the literature that are a good representation of the existing research on your topic.
Remember to not rely too heavily on citations, but to be strategic about which ones you use and how you use them. Include information on whether the data results supported or disproved your thesis, as well as whether the results raised additional questions. Were there any restrictions to the study that might have impacted the results? For example, are you going to be looking at the theoretical or practical side?
Are you going to be looking for common ground and patterns, or take on the role of critic and sort through what is feasible in practice and what is not? Finally, Decide what information and analysis to include in your writing, and what to omit. First, decide what your objective is in order to determine the problem the literature review will address. To critically evaluate the role of the electoral college in the national presidential election.
Your chosen scope will come into play during this stage. On the other hand, if you choose a narrowed focus, you could spend the same amount of time trying to find sources that fit your criteria. Beyond searching for sources through electronic databases, remember to consult your peers and academic advisors. Also, see if you can locate the sources cited in some of the references you initially find. Determine what to take and what will best serve the purpose of the review, going back to your objective and problem.
For this example, a historical structure would be appropriate as you could start with the earliest examples and work your way through to the present. Your point of view is taking the perspective of one side, so in this case it would also be appropriate to cite information that takes the other side of the argument and then critically evaluate the validity of that information. You would likely need to discredit the validity by citing opposing evidence.
You can analyze the information using quantitative methods, qualitative methods, or a mixture of both. This stage involves revising the information, including what is kept intact, and what is tweaked, reduced and eliminated. Peer reviews and field experts can be an invaluable resource during this stage, especially prior to submitting the review to an academic committee.
You may need multiple revisions once the academic committee or dissertation supervisor reviews your work. Do not be discouraged by the revision process, as the supervisor and committee are there to help refine your dissertation to increase its chances of becoming publishable material. After you finish your literature review, look at the notes you made about the information. What unfulfilled question appears to be the most promising in terms of testability?
A restricted diet of 1, to 1, calories per day leads to a simultaneous decrease in body fat percentage, overall weight, and muscle weight percentages. A restricted diet of 1, to 1, calories per day does not lead to a simultaneous decrease in body fat percentage, overall weight, and muscle weight percentages. Is your question going to be making a prediction, describing an observation, or describing a pattern?
This will determine how you write the hypothesis and shape it. The independent variable can best be identified by isolating what factor is causing a difference, or what factor represents a polar-opposite difference. Be sure to sync your hypothesis with your methodology covered below. It might also make sense to have access to participants who currently have an unhealthy or high percentage of body fat.
The next section should explain how the data was collected and how the data was analyzed. Be sure to also give a description of your technique.
Explain why your data is reliable and others can trust its accuracy. Also, explain the reasoning behind limitations to your sample size and analysis. An example would be why only one type of demographic was surveyed. Think about how you want to organize your discussion into various sections, either by the eight points of discussion mentioned previously in this guide or by combining some of those points into larger chunks. Also, determine what results you will present in graphs and charts.
Will those be inserted into the body of the discussion or be included in the appendices? Be sure to evaluate the meaning of your results and discuss whether those meanings are significant. The second set of sections should discuss whether personal or outside biases impacted the results. While you should work to mitigate these biases, acknowledge any suspicion of them. Spend time showing your reader why your results are relevant, and why and how the results could impact the field.
A discussion of the limitations should state the limitation s in terms of the methodology or approach, followed by an explanation of how the methodology or approach could be expanded. Did your results bring up any questions the results themselves were unable to answer? Discuss those questions here and also suggest that these questions could be developed into future research studies. Alternatively, did your results indicate the need for a follow-up study? If so, briefly discuss what that follow-up study will need to entail.
The conclusion should instill the main idea you want your readers to take away from your study. You should discuss your dissertation structure and content with an academic advisor or supervisory committee. Samples of written dissertation discussions can also help immensely, since samples demonstrate structure, content and tone.
Also, by presenting your main findings before your secondary findings, your readers can get a better sense of what they can take away from your research. The main findings should not only be more prevalent in terms of recurrence, but also significance. Secondary findings will not necessarily make as much of an impact as your main findings, but are either worth mentioning or raise questions about the need for additional research.
The roadmap you provide to your readers should be contained within the first paragraph of the results section. Tell readers exactly what they can expect to read. Ideally, the roadmap will consist of one paragraph and provide readers with a complete outline of your results section. The data results you captured that reflect on your study in a positive way can be the beginning of your second paragraph.
Your primary results in the positive category should go first. If you are presenting visual aids in the appendices, make sure you refer to them in the paragraph. The data results that retract from your study will need to be presented in a similar fashion. The best way to determine what is primary versus what is secondary is to ask whether the results tie in with your research question.
Do the results provide an answer to the research question? The main point to remember is not to confuse the results section with the discussion section, if they need to be separate. Pull out the main points of each section, revisit your thesis, look for weaknesses you can strengthen, and think about your recommendations and how your research is different from others.
Think about why your research and its results matter, not only to you and your academic discipline, but to the community at large. In other words, how does it make a difference? The first part of the conclusion section needs to review the most significant information from each section of the dissertation. How will this data have an effect?
What do you believe that effect will be? Were they what you expected and why? Do the results prove an idea that was previously unproven or thought of as unlikely? Think about these questions when in the final writing stage, or editing stage of your dissertation.
The concluding paragraphs should state the most significant factor about your study and how future researchers could possibly expand upon it. Writing a conclusion can be both simple and complex.
Writing a full dissertation can be an exhaustive, but exhilarating process. The task will probably seem daunting, but luckily there are several outside resources including our writer help section , and our dissertation help page.
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The dissertation conclusion is designed to remind readers of the major points of your dissertation The remaining parts of the conclusion will include a main inference about the information contained within the dissertation, a reiteration of the research study’s limitations, a reiteration of the practical and/or theoretical impacts, and your own opinion about the information presented in the dissertation.5/5. Journal writing is Metaphysical A philosophy wherein your thoughts have an impact on your life and the universe. Deals with principles of reality transcending those of any particular science Allows you to have a level of control over your destiny Proof comes from personal experiences.