Writing for Publication & Research Design
For many of us, the writing process is the least enjoyable part of research but embracing writing from the beginning may provide additional motivation to seek journal publication. The intent of this module is to provide a few points to consider in helping to integrate research design and the writing process. For a more detailed account of research design and writing for publication see the resource slides.
Trochim (2005) discussed three major considerations to address when writing: audience, story, and formatting. Audience deals with who will be reading your report. Having an idea of the journal you will be submitting your work will provide structure when writing your research. If you are submitting your work to a discipline specific journal you may have to provide more information on SoTL principles, whereas if you were submitting to a SoTL journal more detail on your disciple may be needed. Audience is also closely related to developing a research question in the design process. Your research question and research methodology go hand in hand. If you are researching something inductively, qualitative methods are appropriate; whereas, a deductive study is well suited for a quantitative investigation. Knowing your audience will help in structuring your writing and identifying your research question will help in determining your research methodology.
Conceivably creating and establishing the story of your research is most important when writing. You could have designed and conducted the best study but if you are unable to translate your study into a readable document your work will not have its desired effect. Again, research design should help develop your story. If you are testing a hypothesis, your introduction and literature review should lead the reader to understand the importance and value of your study and how your study addresses a void in the research literature. If you are conducting a descriptive study, your story should give the reader a detailed account of the phenomenon under investigation. Simply, your research story should describe and answer your research question and pose future research considerations.
Perhaps formatting is the easiest but most detailed consideration when writing. Identifying formatting should be easy because every journal will inform you of the specific formatting requirements. Examples include which writing style (APA or Chicago style), how to submit your manuscript (hard copy or electronic), and what to include in your submission (cover letter, manuscript with out identifying author information, short biography). Formatting can be difficult when you are not familiar with all the nuances of a particular writing style. Once you get comfortable with a style a new edition is published and learning the changes once again becomes cumbersome. As for formatting your manuscript, you will most likely have to include introduction, methodology, results/findings, and discussion sections. Finally, formatting does correspond with research design. Conducting a qualitative or quantitative study does require unique formatting. For example terminology (sample/participants, results/findings, etc), research question development and literature reviews have differences between methodologies. A full description of the last two points is beyond the scope of this module; however, the resource slide provides additional guidance.
As with most tasks, practice and feedback should increase one’s ability—writing and research design are no exceptions. Continually reading published research, especially in the journals you are seeking publication, will help you write in accordance to the journal’s audience and formatting requirements. The same goes for researching; the more you research, the more it will become second nature and determining the story of your research will not seem so daunting.

Last modified: Monday, 29 June 2009, 01:53 PM