Writing a good research paper can, at times, seem like a long and demanding process, especially for rookies. If you are determined to get your article published in international journals, there is no need for concerns, as we can guide you through the entire process step by step. Do not despair if you don’t know each stage in advance; it took scientists years of experience, failures, and successes to get it straight. Luckily, all we need to do is step into their shoes and follow the best research paper writing practices.
First of all, you need to get an idea of what type of research are you planning to conduct. Is it qualitative or quantitative analysis, critical review, literature review, or combined? Will it be a meta-analysis, comparative analysis, explanatory analysis, or empirical study? Check our post and learn the differences between the argumentative and persuasive style of writing. Next, take a moment and think about choosing the right topic and submitting an article in a best-suited journal.
As researchers should be selective while browsing through data and avoid using unreliable sources, the same rule applies when deciding on the reliable publisher. If you’re not sure on the suitable format, most of the journals offer author’s guidelines under the section ‘submit an article.’ Browsing through a few publications should provide you with an indication of ‘how it is done,’ listing ethics, referencing, formatting, and length requirements. There are many resources and online journals, so make sure to choose the one best related to your topic in aim and scope, and don’t forget to verify where it is indexed, as this will be crucial further down your scientific and academic career.
Why is indexing essential?
Researchers’ impact is traditionally valued more if they publish in a journal that is indexed in databases, or that has a high impact factor. Indexing will help your paper achieve its primary purpose of being accessible to a broad audience. Being accessible in turn will improve your paper’s reputation, and you’ll become a reliable source of high-quality information. Database research is the first activity researchers undertake as part of their study, and they naturally look to established, well-known databases. Thus, being indexed in a known database in your field will help increase your readership. Once a database indexes a journal, it is immediately made available to all users of that database.
As the journal is preferable to be highly exposed and significantly relevant, and it seems your paper is a perfect fit, many scientists fall in this trap by not being overly realistic. They get their hopes up only to come crashing down, not to say that this is always the case. The review process for journals often does not have a fixed deadline or schedule: though journals may promise things like “quick review in few weeks,” this rarely if ever holds. Unlike the conferences that typically have only accept/reject decisions, journals usually have a rolling review schedule, and reviewers can opt to ask the authors for revisions, meaning that there might be multiple review phases (often limited to three, at which stage the paper is rejected/accepted). In some high impact factor journals, it can take a longer time, sometimes a year, for feedback. If your research topic addresses some current issue and may become outdated if the publication is delayed, don’t be afraid to notify the editorial board and settle a deadline for an answer. Bear in mind that mainstream journals in your field mostly publish articles of well-established figures in the domain with an extensive bibliography, so don’t get your hopes down if you don’t get a quick response. It is not a reflection of your skill or knowledge but a standard selection process. Editors are held responsible for any falsification, so it’s not surprising they are prone to choose papers from reputable experts. That is why a determined researcher has not only a plan B but also a plan C, D, E, etc. Making a list of verified, well sci indexed journals to send your manuscripts is essential. Some of them will claim the right of primacy regarding first publication, so make sure to mention to editorial board if your article is already under consideration for publication with another publisher.
Deciding that should lead you to the next step. You need to find the best and most common online research tools to help you learn to browse key literature fast, collect relevant data quickly, and find up-to-date statistics for your paper. So, let’s sort your research plan and get it to the right path!
What you want to do first is secondary research, as this will be the foundation to build upon later in the process. You will need to take a non-empirical approach involving perusal of mostly published works like researching through archives of public libraries, courtrooms and published academic journals. You can conduct secondary research by analyzing the information given in printed journals, websites, and other types of papers. It will help you form a theoretical ground from which you can, later on, draw conclusions and develop a research hypothesis and a research concept.
IT tools for research in data collection
Best in class, free online research tools for secondary research are Google Scholar, CiteSeer x, and Science Direct. Google Scholar is a free academic search engine indexing academic information from various sources, allowing you to access scholarly literature such as articles, theses, books, abstracts, and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities, and other web sites. Using a CiteSeer x digital library, you can access information on computer and information sciences. It offers many other exclusive features to facilitate the researchers with the research process that include: ACI – Autonomous Citation Indexing, reference linking, citation statistics, automatic metadata extraction, and related documents. ScienceDirect, on the other hand, allows you to browse information on authoritative, full-text scientific, technical, and health publications.
Next, you want to combine your secondary data with primary data you collected yourself. This is where the real art of being a researcher begins, as you dwell into creating, manipulating, and analyzing questionnaires, surveys, interviews, observations, and discussion with focus groups reports. We recommend using some data analysis software and primary research online tools, such as Google Forms, Survey Monkey, and Typeform. Survey Monkey will allow you to create your questionnaires in more than 15 types and analyze them by filtering responses, cross-tabbing responses, random assignment, text analysis, and question & answer piping. If you’re a first-time researcher, you probably shouldn’t ‘go big or go home’ with your software and tool investment. Start humble, as a free version of Typeform named CORE plan can offer you many cool features, including unlimited questions, unlimited answers, custom design themes, and free data export.
Next step: Keep on writing, writing, writing…
Now that you’ve got your concept, literature, primary and secondary research covered, start sorting, and creating. Don’t worry if you get stuck or become unsure of how to stay focused. We’ve all been there. That is where the notion of writer’s block comes from. Once you distribute your data, establish a framework, and start to interpret those numbers and patterns, your insight will grow to be more direct. The important thing is to work through your outline. Coherently organize your thoughts and ideas, and if you’re not sure how to do that, you can always check similar articles.
Scientific social networking: Share your research to get more exposure
It is desirable to be objective, but don’t shy away from taking a critical stand. Data are already there for everyone to tackle with, but a missing link is an original point of view. Yours might be somewhat unique and stand out from the crowd, or your results can mainly be in line with prior findings. In any case, there is always much to contribute theoretically and practically. This is the main ingredient in keeping our knowledge growing and expanding. Who knows, you might find some unexpected allies along the way. If not accidentally, you can always initiate this process. There is nothing wrong with exchanging ideas and opinions with established experts. Luckily, there is an increasing number of platforms for scientific networking, with always growing media outlets aimed at improving the connectivity of researchers, engineers, Ph.D. candidates, post-docs, and students. At best, this may get you a scientific collaboration on new research projects. At its least, it will get your article a more extensive exposure. ‘I share yours, and you share mine’ is not exclusively trending SMN feature for recreational purposes. It is a two-way street most researchers already adopted.