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Journal articles are essential components of academic literature, and crafting a compelling and informative article requires careful planning and attention to detail. In this blog, we will explore the various elements involved in writing a successful journal article.

What Is a Journal Article?

A journal article is a scholarly article that is published in an academic journal. These are lengthy, peer-reviewed works that are intended to share research and findings related to a particular field or discipline. They often involve extensive research, interviews, surveys, experiments, and statistical analysis.

Plan Your Article

Your article will contribute something new to the academic discourse in a particular field. To plan your article successfully:

  • Choose a publication that will help you connect with readers who are interested in your research topic and that aligns with your strategic goals. For assistance in selecting a good journal, speak with your supervisor or other well-known professionals in your field.
  • Be sure that the structure and content of your article are tailored to the audience and journal of your choice.
  • Maintain your article’s focus on a clear gap or problem in the existing research literature.

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What Journal Editors Look for in a Journal Article

When it comes to publishing your journal article, editors are looking for key specific elements that make a piece of writing stand out from the rest. Some of these criteria that they take into consideration include:

  1. Originality of the ideas: Your journal article's primary focus needs to be original, based on your own ideas and research, and it should add to previously conducted research.
  2. Relevance of the Ideas: Originality alone is insufficient if the ideas have no purpose or importance with respect to current research. Think about this:
  • Does your work address a problem or fill a gap in the existing literature?
  • Does it provide fresh approaches or new ways of interpreting theory?
  • Does it contradict widely held beliefs?

You can contribute something unique and valuable to the scholarly discourse in the field by responding to questions such as these.

  1. Writing quality: Your article must be written in an academic style that complies with the requirements of your chosen journal and/or discipline. Although formal, scholarly writing need not be dry or boring. Maintaining your audience's interest will be easier if your writing is clear and engaging.

By keeping these criteria in mind when crafting your journal article, you can ensure that your work meets the standards required by editors and gives you the best chance of getting published!

Composing an Impactful Abstract

Include a captivating abstract of your journal article at the beginning. The abstract should communicate the main points of your article without giving away the detail while inspiring readers to read further. It should also give potential readers an idea of how your article is different from other articles in similar subject areas.

When composing an abstract, there are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • Keep it brief – usually no more than 250 words.
  • Be clear and concise and make sure to include a summary of research methods, results and conclusions.
  • Avoid jargon and industry-specific language, as you don’t want to exclude potential readers who may not be familiar with certain terms.
  • Outline any implications or applications of your work, i.e. what are the practical implications or consequences of your findings?

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Title of the Article

Writing a journal article isn't as straightforward as you may think. In order to effectively communicate your research, it is important to ensure that it follows a specific structure and format. When crafting your title, it is essential that you capture the main idea of the research in just a few words; aim for no more than 12-15 words and make sure to keep the tone concise. Given the limited characters available in many search engines, it is important that you choose key terms that accurately reflect what the article is about.

Structuring and Writing the Article

Some research disciplines and journals have a structure one should follow:

  • Many journal articles in STEM fields are structured in a typical IMRaS structure (Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion).
  • Articles in other fields may not follow a formal structure; however, they should still contain clear logic with signposts within the text.
  • To help organize your ideas in body paragraphs, try using the T (topic sentence), E (explanation), E (evidence), E (example) and L (link) format for each sentence.

We recommend that you look at the structures used in your field when writing your article and choose an appropriate one. Learn more about the components of an IMRaD-style article structure (most common in STEM disciplines) here:

Introduction

The introduction of your journal article should explain the main points of your article and set out the research question or thesis statement. It should also provide any background information necessary to understand the topic and provide a context for why it is important.

Method

In this section, you should explain how you conducted your research, what methods you used and the results you obtained. This section should provide enough details for readers to assess whether or not your findings are credible.

Results

This section should present a comprehensive overview of all the data that were collected during your research, as well as any statistics or findings that were derived from it. It is important to be thorough here so that readers understand the depth and scope of your research.

Discussion

In this section, you can draw meaningful conclusions from your results and discuss any implications or recommendations for further research in this field. You should also provide any potential limitations of your research that had an effect on your findings.

Conclusion

Sometimes you might be required to write a separate conclusion section in addition to the discussion where you can summarize all of the key points from your article, providing readers with an easily digestible summary of what they have learned from reading it. This will help to bolster its argument for wider dissemination and impact within its academic field. This section typically includes the:

  • Summarize your key findings and arguments, highlighting how they relate to your research objectives and questions.
  • Brief recommendations or guidelines for future research should be included along with a brief acknowledgement of the limitations of your work.

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Peer Reviewers

Once your article is submitted, it will be passed on to a panel of peer reviewers for review. They will read and evaluate your work, looking for accuracy and clarity in your work as well as making sure that you have provided appropriate references for any facts or claims you make in your writing. Peer reviewers also provide an objective perspective and can offer useful suggestions for improvement.

Rejection

It's natural to feel dejected and discouraged when your journal article is rejected. After all, you put in countless hours of hard work and research into the piece, only to have it rejected by the editor. But just because your journal article was rejected doesn't mean you should give up. The key is to rise above the disappointment, learn from your mistakes, and come back stronger.

Take some time to assess why your article was rejected. Did you make any mistakes in the formatting or the content? Did you overlook any important elements that the editor was looking for? Once you identify where you went wrong, you can make adjustments and improvements to ensure that your next article submission is more successful. Don't be afraid to try again. Remember, rejection is part of the writing process, and you can learn and grow from it.

Your journal article may have been rejected, but that doesn't have to mean the end of your writing journey. With hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn and grow, you can come back stronger and submit your best article yet.

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