How to Prepare a Successful Manuscript for Publication

How to Prepare a Successful Manuscript for Publication

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To successfully develop a manuscript, you should strictly follow the structure suggested by your target journal. If a structure is not suggested, the following structure should be used to develop your research based manuscript.

Structure of a Research Based Manuscript

  • Title:

    • A descriptive, clear, informative, and inviting title
  • Abstract:

    • Research context, problem, method, sample, results, and implications
  • Section1: Introduction:

    • Introduction sets the research context
    • Statement of problem, research questions/Hypotheses
    • Significance of the study
    • Literature review, including theoretical/conceptual framework
  • Section2: Method:

    • Method, design
    • Setting, population, sample size, and sampling method
    • Materials and instruments, validity and reliability of instrument, treatment
    • Data collection and analysis procedure
  • Section3: Results and Conclusions:

    • Findings
    • Discussions; compare and contrast with the literature and theoretical framework, implications, limitations, future recommendations
    • Conclusions and a powerful take home message  

Tips for Making a Successful Manuscript

  • Tailor your manuscript for your target journal

    • Follow journal objectives and preferred language
  • Strictly follow your target journal guideline

    • Organization, paper format, and their listed style guide (if there isn’t one listed default to APA 6th Edition)
    • For length, follow the journal suggestions; if not suggested, it should be about 3000-5000 words
  • Ensure your manuscript is not dissertation-like
  • Use tables and figures only if necessary

    • Tables and figures interrupt the reading of the text, use only if necessary. Justify and explain your tables and figures in your text
    • Third party work needs permission
  • Make proportional lengths for the manuscript sections

    • In order of lowest to highest length: results, method, and introduction
  • Show your targeted literature

    • Use purposeful and analytical style when presenting the literature
    • Use recent literature and reports
    • Avoid using direct quotes, instead paraphrase with your own words
    • Avoid using secondary sources 
  • State the significance of your manuscript

    • Why your manuscript is important
  • State your contribution and audience

    • What your unique contributions are to the literature and field
    • Who would benefit from your manuscript
  • Avoid reporting in-progress research

    • Report your preliminary findings instead
  • Use appropriate language

    • Use correct grammar, be concise and clear
  • Wrap up with take-home messages

    • State the implications and powerful messages useful for the readers
  • Pass “So what?” test

    • Evaluate each paragraph and see if it is really necessary to include in the paragraph. Does it pass the “so what?” test; if not, remove it from your manuscript  
    • Be purposeful, brief, and to the point
  • Research components’ alignment

    • Make sure your research components, including research purpose, problem, method, and results are aligned.
  • Review before submission

    • Proofread your manuscript
    • Use a peer review procedure, have a friend review your manuscript
  • Run your submission through Turnitin
  • Do not submit to more than one journal at a time

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