Most research papers share a common structure (with slight variations per journal). The guide of journal explains how to create a journal article and why getting them right can boost your chances of publishing success.
- In English language.
- In a word processing file using MS Word for Windows® (.DOC, .DOCX).
- The full article must be at least 8 but not more than 16 pages or 40,000 characters with spaces.
- Abstract. Give a concise summary, not exceeding 1200 characters with spaces, of the paper: aim, research focus, research methods, the results and main conclusions and recommendations.
- Keywords. Choose up to four key words or phrases and located them in alphabetic order just after the abstract of your paper, separated by commas.
- Paper size should be A4 with the following margins: top, right and bottom – 20mm, left – 30mm.
- The text should be typed in one column using Times New Roman, 12 pts, Normal with single line spacing, left and right justified. Between paragraphs sapcing 12 pts.
- The first lines of the paragraphs should not be indented.
Writing an effective scientific paper is not easy. A good rule of thumb is to write as if your paper will be read by a person who knows about the field in general but does not already know what you did. In addition to the science, pay attention to the writing style and format, prepare your manuscript regarding the journal requirements for text, table formatting, and references style (APA references style).
“IMRAD” Components: a Basis for reports and papers. IMRAD stands for:
Introduction, Results, Methods (procedures), Discussion, Conclusion.
Adapted from http://writingcenter.byu.edu
- name and surname
- e-mail address
- affiliation (the name, department and the address of your institution)
- ORCID number
A good introduction is relatively short. It tells why the reader should find the paper interesting, explains why the author carried out the research, and gives the background the reader needs to understand and judge the paper.
Specifically, the introduction defines the nature and extent of the problems studied, relates the research to previous work (usually by a brief review of the literature clearly relevant to the problem), explains the objectives of investigation, and defines any specialized terms or abbreviations to be used in what follows.
Remember that the introduction leads logically to, and clearly states, the hypothesis or principal theme of the paper.
The introduction should be relatively brief; recommend less than 500 words. Avoid repetition: do not repeat the abstract in the introduction (and introduction in the discussion). Do not go into an extensive literature review; two to four most relevant and recent citations should be adequate to corroborate a statement. Do not repeat well-known facts nor state the obvious.
The purpose of this section is to present in a simple and direct manner what has been done, how, and when, and how the data were analyzed and presented. This section should provide all the information needed to allow another researcher to judge the study or actually repeat the experiment. The simplest way to organize
this section is chronologically; include all necessary information, but avoid unnecessary details that the readers are supposed (ought) to know.
The section should include the following though not necessarily in this order:
- Description of the study location;
- Design of the experiment/study;
- Assumptions made and their rationale
- Statistical and mathematical procedures used to analyze and summarize the data.
Methods followed should be described, usually in chronological order, with as much precision and detail as necessary. Standard methods need only be mentioned, or may be described by reference to the literature as long as it is readily available.
Modifications of standard techniques should be described. If the method is new it should be described in detail. Do not include excessive description of common procedures.
Special attention may be paid to ensure that:
- Ambiguities in abbreviations or names are avoided,
- All quantities are in standard units,
- All techniques are described, at least by name if they are standard, or in as much detail as needed if you have modified a standard technique or devised a new one,
- Irrelevant and unnecessary information that does not relate to the results or confuses the reader is avoided.
The Materials and Methods section is presented usually in past tense. There is no standard ‘‘rule’’ on the use of active or passive forms; use your personal preference.
This section presents the new knowledge; therefore, it is the core of the paper.
Note that the Introduction, Materials and Methods sections are needed and designed to say why and how the author/s arrived at what is presented in this section, the meaning of which will then be explained in the Discussion section.
Thus, the value of the paper depends on what is contained in this (Results) section, and it must be presented in an clear manner in just the right number of words, neither more nor less. It is usually easiest to follow the results if they are presented in the same order as the objectives are presented in the introduction.
Some guidelines on presenting the results are given below:
- Present the results simply and clearly;
- Report only representative data rather than (endlessly) repetitive data;
- Do not report large masses of data; reduce them to statistically analyzed summary forms and present in tables or figures along with essential statistical information to facilitate understanding and comparing them;
- Repeat in the text only the most important findings shown in tables and graphs; in other words, do not repeat in the text all or many of the data presented in tables and figures;
- Include negative data—what was not found—only if useful for interpreting the results;
- Cite in the text every table and figure by number;
- Include only tables and figures that are necessary, clear, and worth reproducing.
This is the section where the authors explain meanings and implications of the results.
A good discussion should:
- Not repeat what has already been said in the review of literature;
- Relate the results to the questions that were set out in the Introduction;
- Show how the results and interpretations agree, or do not agree, with current knowledge on the subject, i.e., previously published work;
- Explain the theoretical background of the observed results;
- Indicate the significance of the results;
- Suggest future research that is planned or needed to follow up;
- Deal with only the results reported in the study;
- Stay away from generalizations and conjectures that are not substantiated by the results presented;
- State conclusions with evidence for each.
The Discussion section is written in both present and past tenses. Current knowledge (from literature) is stated in present tense, whereas the work being reported and discussed in the paper (your own work) is presented in past tense;
Mismatch between stated objectives and discussion/conclusion is a very common problem in many manuscripts. Analytical insight is what we should strive for in the Discussion section, but unfortunately, it is difficult to describe how to accomplish that. Lack of such insight is evident when authors simply state—often repeat—the results, and make superficial statements such as ‘‘this work agrees with the work of author X (some unknown author’s work, published several years earlier)’’ as though the objective of research was to see if the results agreed with some other author’s (obscure) work published 20 or more years earlier.
Conclusions should, rather than just repeating results, state well-articulated outcomes of the study and briefly suggest future lines of research in the area based on findings reported in the paper. In poor writing, it is not uncommon to find conclusions such as ‘‘more research is needed before conclusions can be drawn.’’ In that case, why publish a paper from which conclusions cannot be drawn? Discussion can be used to state the conclusions.
This short section is for thanking the institutions and individuals who helped significantly in the work reported in the paper. This may be in a general way to a granting agency that supplied funds or a laboratory that supplied materials, or in a specific way to a person or persons who gave you advice or helped you in data collection or analysis, or any other significant manner. This is also the place to mention the genesis of the paper, i.e., if it arose from a thesis or dissertation.
Preparing a proper reference list is one of the most tedious aspects of finalizing a manuscript for publication. References section and text citations should match perfectly.
All citations in the text and all references must be meet APA styles (American Psychological Association – more information).
Please, use automatic citation maker for citation and references: automatic APA citation maker.
Recommending: minimum 5 references have to be from Web of Science Databases or Scopus
Any additional information that is relevant to the paper, but is of secondary importance, may be added as Appendix, subject to the journal’s policy.