writing an article

(19 Posts)
madelinehatter Fri 15-Apr-16 23:12:30

New ish to academia. Usual pressure to contribute to the ref. I have an idea for an article I want to write. It would only be short and involve a bit of research but essentially a lit review plus some of my thoughts. Only thing is, there is similar stuff out there. How to do something new? How do I even start?!

MedSchoolRat Sat 16-Apr-16 12:42:41

What area?
I think everything depends on that.

DoctorDoctor Sat 16-Apr-16 12:46:35

Wendy Belcher's book Write Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks would be a good starting point.

Booboostwo Sat 16-Apr-16 14:01:20

What was your route to academia? Most people take up their first post after their PhD so revising a chapter from the PhD is an obvious first step.

Another good approach is to write a reply to someone already in print who has gotten something wrong. Is that an option for your discipline? In my discipline journals really welcome this kind of engagement.

A way to get experience of the publishing process is to write book reviews, encyclopaedia entries, etc. They don't count towards REF but are good experience nonetheless.

As for your idea what do you mean similar stuff is already out there? Is someone else has published a very similar idea this will be picked up by the reviewers and will mean a quick rejection for your paper. If you want to say something subtly different to what is out there already then start with what is out there and show why your thoughts are a valuable contribution to an ongoing debate.

madelinehatter Sat 16-Apr-16 16:30:06

Thanks some good advice. I don't have a PHD but will be working towards one. I think I will do a quick lit review to see what is out there and then see if I can find a response.

MedSchoolRat Sat 16-Apr-16 17:03:06

Are you advancing a new theory?
Highlighting gaps in understanding?

In health sciences, a quick lit review is not substantive enough to justify either of the above unless you're Trisha Greenhalgh or publishing in NEJM or talking about Zika/Ebola/scarylatest. But might justify enough for a scoping review paper.
FWIW, we had a whole workshop about REF the other day ... non-systematic reviews won't be 3* or 4* in med areas. But scoping review could be a stepping stone towards a paper that would tick 3* or 4*.

MedSchoolRat Sat 16-Apr-16 17:05:23

ps: what subjects means people without PhDs being REFd? Would not happen where I am. I have a PhD & don't get REFd.

MatildaBeetham Sat 16-Apr-16 17:20:51

If you're going to be a PhD student in 2020, check you will qualify for the REF.

Booboostwo Sat 16-Apr-16 19:22:49

You don't need a PhD to count towards the REF, you need to be employed by the University in an academic post, and not even full time at that.

MatildaBeetham Sat 16-Apr-16 19:49:41

If you are registered for a PhD though, that counts you out. Or it did the one just gone iirc.

Booboostwo Sat 16-Apr-16 20:03:48

I read it that the OP is not currently a PhD student but perhaps I misunderstood.

In my discipline you need to be working towards publishing while doing your PhD because otherwise you have little chance of getting any kind of post after you submit.

Sunshowercap Sun 17-Apr-16 12:02:22

It would only be short and involve a bit of research but essentially a lit review plus some of my thoughts. Only thing is, there is similar stuff out there

In my field, that wouldn't be publishable. It sounds like an MA essay, not a publishable piece of research.

What are your research questions? Your research methods?

What is your contribution to knowledge? How are you adding to the topic covered by your lit review?

In my field, I'nm sorry to say this, the approach in your OP wouldn't get you onto a PhD programme, let alone an academic job.

Madelinehatter Sun 17-Apr-16 12:52:20

Well in my field there are a number of the staff who are published, with PhDs, working towards it, or using publication to obtain a PhD.

Obviously I don't want to go into details but we are supported to do small scale pieces of research, some REFable and some not. We are encouraged to start by doing peer reviews and writing in journals in our field. I am in a SL role and no don't have a PhD and that's lucky for me but I had a lot of other relevant experience when I got my job. I teach in an area that isn't wholly academic but has an associated degree and masters course.

I skipped over the detail of my article. Am well aware it needs a research question and specific methods. I am not stupid.

MedSchoolRat Sun 17-Apr-16 13:32:22

Can you find a mentor, Madeleine? Either someone in your area or not too dissimilar area? Several mentors maybe.
I think you need someone to help you strategise who also knows your area & background. Good luck.

Sunshowercap Sun 17-Apr-16 14:34:26

What are the models of scholarly journal article you use on your teaching & research? That might help you sort out what you need to do.

It just worries me that this is basic stuff for academics, and you seem to have no guidance. That's the problem of trying to do a research job without a PhD. The PhD is training in scholarly research.

MatildaBeetham Sun 17-Apr-16 17:38:26

You need to find out which journals would be best to aim for, and then read lots from those journals. You can use well written and structured papers to guide you in writing yours.

On the journal websites, there will also be various information on things like the sorts of research they like to publish, how to format etc.

Keep an eye out for special issue notices, and if there's one that fits your area, you could go for that.

What about conferences? Ask colleagues about decent conferences in your field and about realistic expenses. Getting into a conference with a paper is a great stepping stone to a journal article.

Really though, nothing substitutes for the advice of people in your field who can be specific. Friendly colleagues, especially ones who are involved with editing journals, are useful sources of info.

Apologies if his advice is too basic. smile

Madelinehatter Sun 17-Apr-16 17:38:56

I can access support so will do. Thanks all.

MatildaBeetham Sun 17-Apr-16 17:39:25

His advice = this advice

Sunshowercap Sun 17-Apr-16 20:24:54

I'd second the advice about conference papers. It's how I write a book over 304 years: each chapter starts as a conference paper, and you get feedback as you go.

This blog has some interesting ideas about writing, which you might find helpful. If you haven't had much research training it at least breaks down the task of scholarly writing:

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