Writing a journal article

Planning your paper

I suggest several phases to a paper:

  1. Think about what you want to write. When I say ‘think about’, this thinking could take many different forms. Ironically, some people only think clearly when they write, others need a whiteboard, others need to talk things through with their friends. No problem! The strategy does not matter, as long as you come up with a sound logic. Note, however, that if you do write at this stage, don’t become too attached to your writing. This first step is really about clarifying your flow of the argument in your head. Communicating it effectively on paper is a separate step.
  2. Think about where you want to publish your work. This is an iterative process, with two main consequences. One, you may need to re-think how you choose to frame your paper (see section on framing), and therefore you might have to go back to the previous step. Two, you will find that there is a particular word count you need to fit within.
  3. Now that you know the word count, you need to fit the content to the length specifications that you need to work with. See my suggestions for fitting the content of a paper to the prescribed length.
Also see:
  1. Framing your paper
  2. Prioritising content
  3. Fitting the content to the length
  4. Content-to-length-ratio
  5. Structure

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