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How to Write a Journal Article

In my writing workbook, Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success, I take you through all the steps to revising a classroom paper, conference paper, or thesis chapter into a peer-reviewed journal article that you send to a journal. The workbook takes you through that process; below is just a summary of the steps.

In the first chapter, I state that there are five keys to academic writing success: actually writing, making writing social, reading lots of journal articles, persisting despite rejection, and following your passions. I then help you design a writing schedule.

The next week we focus on the twelve reasons that journal articles get rejected and how to avoid getting rejected for that reason. You also work on revising your article abstract. 

The third week we focus on crafting an argument, the heart of a publishable article. Stating your argument early and clearly, and organizing your paper around the argument, is essential.

The fourth week you study journals in your field and select the one to which you want to send your article. Learning about journals in your field is useful for future articles as well.

The fifth week you write your literature review, an evaluation of the scholarly research related to the topic and argument of your article. The literary review is not a summary, but a critique of scholarship as it relates to your argument.

The sixth week you work on strengthening your structure, at the sentence, paragraph, and section levels.

In the seventh week, we focus on how to present persuasive evidence for your argument and you work on the body of your paper. This can take the most time of any of the weeks.

In the eighth week we focus on how to open and conclude your argument, which sections you revise. Having a strong opening is key to getting scholars to read and cite your article. 

In the ninth week, we focus on how to give good feedback to others and how to use feedback, good and bad, to improve your article. You exchange articles with someone else toget feedback on what would improve it.

In the tenth week, you run the Belcher diagnostic test on your prose and identify places where you could be clearer, more vigorous, or less wordy.

In the eleventh week, you work on whatever you haven't done yet and in the last week, you format your article and send it.

To help you all the way through the process, I then have a chapter on what to do when you get a response from a journal and how to revise and resubmit your article with success.