Academic writing tips 3 : Where to start

Writing journal article is not an easy task. Some have problem even since beginning. Blocking in writing. My tips are, start with the easiest part to write.

This is my list

First, your research aim. Of course, the research aim of your paper is ready. Write it down!

Second, method section.
This material is ready, I am pretty much 100% sure. Since you already conduct a research, the research method is one of writing material that easy to write. Just write it.

Third, the result section.
Just write the result of your research. There is no need of interpretation at all. If you have statistic calculation, do write according to the rules. Depend on what your method, the result will vary from one to another.

And, to make this writing part easier, make the table. Present your result in table. You can make summary table of your data. In making table, you only have to remember one thing, the reader should be able to interpret and understand the table without any effort to diggin into your text in paragraph(s). It has to be self explanatory.

I like to do this alot, and sometimes I have to recreate the table so many time, just to make sure that I create the easiest table for reader. And the most important aspect is, reader have to be able to read it comfortably. Lay-out of the table plays important roles.

Fourth,  then you write your discussion part.
In order to make the reader understand your discussion easier, write your discussion order just like the order of your result section order. For example if you write your result in the order of A, B, C, D , then you should write your conclusion in the same order, A, B, C, D.
Do not write B, D, A, C. Your reader will confuse.

Fifth, write your conclusion.
Do not copy your discussion in your conclusion. Make main conclusion statement with simple and clear in one or two sentences only. And do not forget to write future research.
And yes, actually, even you do not have plan to continue your research, pretend to have it.

Sixth, this is the most difficult one, Introduction Section.
I found that all of my students, or I believe most of you, start the writing from Introduction/background section. Please don’t. This is the most difficult part of the paper. It is so difficult, because you have to be able to got the reader interest in the beginning. They have to know the importance of the issue and followed by the biggest current problem(s).

Remember, the rule of thumb is that any theory you use in discussion section, have to be use or written in introduction section.

Seventh, abstract. This is the last thing you should write.
Do not copy paste from the paper body. Write it with new , fresh sentences. Not too long. Usuallay around 200 – 350 words maximum.
Writing an abstract is like you are telling a story to your friend when you meet him/her inside lift. You share your story when you enter the lift, and it have to be done when you or your friend come out from the lift.
Short, simple, and interesting.

I can understand the difficulties of writing paper. It happened to me too. Regarding your writing styles, there is a tip, when you find a good article and you like it a lot. Whether it is because the material is so good, or you find your self enjoy when you read it, Keep that Paper. And make it as your writing template and writing styles.
Don’t worry, by the time you write more paper, you will find your own writing styles.

And you can find ideas of common phrase that is already selected from the best academic writing out there, in Academic Phrasebank in Manchester. This is the link.

One more thing, in writing a paper, there is a simple rule. One message for one paper. Make it clear what message you want to show to the reader. Send the message to the reader simply to make them understand with your argument so that they will agree with your arguments.

Happy writing … !!

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