Writing for a Journal Publication

At a workshop on writing. One of the key points that Pat Thompson is making is that there is no such thing as writing up because we don’t know what we’re writing up until we start writing.

The title and abstract are important as most people are selecting to read the article base on this. These are key invitational things that allows the reader to select.

Through writing we’re presenting ourselves as scholars.

By becoming a scholar – sometimes you may have devalued your previous identity before starting as a scholar (particularly for late-life researchers) – but there should be a way of meshing both identities.

The point of a journal paper is a persuasive and argumentative piece not a report on what was done. The conference paper tends to be a report – and thus the journal paper is a different rhetorical task.

Two types of text:

  • Monologic: dead text – does not draw people in (like a laundry list)
  • Dialogic: brings people in to think and engage – this is what research writing is about  i.e. invite the reader in to making meaning and associations such as through references and other themes and other conversations.

Fariclough’s 3 dimensional model of discourse (process of production and interpretation):

  • Layer 1: Text
  • Layer 2: Discourse practice
  • Layer 3: Sociocultural practice

Dissertation: the text is the dissertation, the discourse practice is imparted to the students by the supervisors, and the sociocultural practice is drawn from the supervisors background.

Conference papers: Text is the paper, the discourse practice is the presentation, and the sociocultural practice is the audience.

Some rule of thumbs in deconstructing a journal website:

  • Try and cite the editors from the journal.
  • Read the aims of the journal and analyse what they want from the aims. Make sure you address each of the aims.
  • Check the editorial board and see if they’re from different countries and hence it has a large reach. In the larger reach you need to work from the specific to broader issues.
  • If you’ve never heard of the editorial board you might want to use another journal.
  • Read a couple of papers from the journal and determine what is the conversation of the journal – from this – determine the ideological position and the theories.
  • Have a look at the editor’s interviews (either transcripts or MP3s) that some of the journals have – as they give you what they want
  • Cite papers from the journal
  • Check for stylistic conventions (APA etc)
  • Get people in the know to know the turn around time – such as the refereeing time
  • You may decide on the journal to put in – depending on your career progression – that is – if you need a quick turn around then probably a less famous journal
  • Check the readership of the journal and make sure you address the issues/implications for everyone
  • Reviewers are looking for the “so what” and the “now what”
  • Strongest paper has one argument or one point to make not two or three – state the argument of the paper upfront
  • State the research in the field and how it stands and what you’re going to contribute to it

The genre of the journal article (most has to be like this but not always):

  • Introduction – locate, focus, argument, outline paper
  • Possibly theoretical orientation
  • Literatures
  • Methods – explain report
  • Discuss
  • Conclude

Five moves in a journal abstract:

  • Locate: specific paper in relation to larger project/debates/issues – naming the angle
  • Focus: identify the particular question/issues/kinds of problems that the paper will explore/ examine
  • Anchor: establish the basis for the argument
  • Report: summarise major findings pertinent to the argument
  • Argue: open the argument – the so what question
  • Use the abstract as the plan for writing the paper
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