Writing your paper - Author Services

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Writing your paper

Preparing and writing an effective research paper

About this topic

Publishing the results of your research is a critical part of your academic career. By following the advice and guidance here, you’ll be able to produce a paper that’s a great fit for your chosen journal.

Know who you’re writing for

Before you start writing up your research, it’s important to have a good idea of which journal you want your paper to be published in.

When writing your paper you should keep the journal you are targeting in mind, to make sure the style, structure and audience are all a good fit. This helps the editor to see how your work matches with the aims and scope of the journal, and make it more likely to be accepted for publication. (Make sure you’ve read the aims and scope for your target journal before you start writing, it will tell you what types of article are accepted.)

You’ll find lots more advice on finding the right journal for your research in our section on choosing a journal.

Read the guidelines

You need to understand what the editor of your target journal will be looking for. By understanding the expectations of both the journal and the publisher, you can write your paper to meet those standards from the start.

Familiarizing yourself with your chosen journal’s instructions for authors (IFAs) is a key part of writing your paper and preparing to submit. The IFAs tell you exactly what the journal’s editorial board expects to see, including details of specific processes to follow to make sure there are no problems should your article be accepted.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the journal’s own policies, but in addition, you should also review the Taylor & Francis Editorial Policies that apply across our whole portfolio of journals. Editorial Policies clearly lay out the standards of reporting expected by the journal/publisher, as well as covering everything from ethics standards to use of third-party material.

 

Structuring your article

The best way to determine how to structure your article is to study your target journal.

Look through the journal’s instructions for authors, but also take the time to read a selection of articles already published there to see how they are structured. This will help you to understand what the editor may be looking for.

You could also make use of an article template. Check the instructions for authors for your chosen journal to see if they accept templated articles, then download the article template and instructions.

Writing your manuscript

Every article is unique, and the structure and the sections you need to include depends on the type of article you’re writing and the subject of study.

Here’s a helpful step by step guide to take you through the standard sections that many researchers need to include when writing a manuscript, in the order in which you would normally write them.

  1. Prepare tables and figures (if required)
    Tables and figures should present new information rather than duplicating what is in the text. When creating tables and figures for your article, check the journal’s instructions for authors, which may stipulate on formatting points such as layouts and use of color.
  2. Write up the literature review (if required)
    Literature reviews aren’t always needed, but often form an important part of Humanities and Social Sciences manuscripts. Typically, a literature review should discuss what’s already known about the topic of the article, identify gaps in current knowledge and present your approach to addressing those gaps.
  3. Write the method
    The method section gives the reader all the details of how you conducted your research. Check the instructions for authors for your target journal to see whether there are any specific requirements on how it should be presented. It’s also a good idea to review previously published papers in the journal or sample reports on the journal website.
  4. Write up your results
    In the results section, you’re answering the question ‘what have you found?’. You should state your findings, but don’t interpret the results or discuss their implications in this section.
  5. Write the discussion and conclusions
    Your discussion and conclusion are where you interpret your results. Discuss your conclusions in order of most to least important, and end by stating your main conclusions again.
  6. Write the introduction
    Your introduction should provide the background information needed to understand your study, and the reasons why you conducted your experiments. At the end of your introduction you should include a clear statement of your aims and a brief sentence or two on how you conducted your study. Although your introduction comes first in your article, you’ll have a clearer idea of how to write it once you’ve written the rest of your paper.
  7. Write the abstract and create a compelling title
    Your abstract is the shop window of your article – this is where customers (researchers) can sample your wares and decide whether to read and cite your content or look elsewhere. Follow our advice on writing the title and abstract for your article using keywords to set up your work to be easily discovered online.

What else should I include when writing my paper?

  • If you are using third-party material in your article, It is important to make sure that you are clear on the guidance you need to follow, as most journals need you to have written permission.
  • If you need to refer to a data set in your article, you’ll need to ensure that you cite the data appropriately. Read more in our how-to guide on citing data.
  • There are also specific guidelines to follow when including mathematical scripts and special characters.
  • Please make sure you read through the Taylor & Francis Editorial Policies which include important information about why and how you should cite sources in your article. These requirements apply to all journals published by Taylor & Francis Group.

For more tips and useful advice, we’ve put together a handy guide and video on what to consider when writing your journal article.

Writing a review article? A review article, also called a literature review, should give an overview of current thinking on the theme rather than presenting new results. Read our specific advice on writing a review article for more guidance.

Formatting your paper

Our manuscript layout guide will help you to format your manuscript to get it ready to submit to a Taylor & Francis journal.

Many journals also allow the use of templates to help you format your article. You can find out if this applies to your chosen journal by checking the instructions for authors, then visit our formatting and templates page to find the downloadable template files and their instructions.

Before you submit

When you’ve completed the final draft of your manuscript, it’s important to check it back against the Taylor & Francis Editorial Policies, and the individual processes and policies of your target journal found in the IFAs.

Guidance may vary by journal, so we’ve listed below a few key areas that you need to pay attention to:

  • Defining authorship: co-authors, corresponding authors, and affiliations.
  • The ethical issues you should be aware of as an author.
  • Declaring competing interests. Also known as a ‘conflict of interest’, full disclosure of any competing interests is required when you submit your paper to a journal.
  • If your research includes a medical/clinical study you will need written patient consent from your participants. All authors are required to follow the ICMJE requirements on privacy and informed consent from patients and study participants.
If you need more help to get your paper ready to submit, find out how Taylor & Francis Editing Services can help you improve your manuscript. These tailored services make the process of preparing and submitting a manuscript even easier to offer you a smooth journey to publication.
Once you have written your paper and are ready to submit, read our guidance on making your submission to help you through the process.

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