Writing the article

Writing an article is an iterative process that takes time and multiple drafts. If you are unsure how to improve your article as you write, remember your argumentative purpose and your intended audience. The following writing strategies will also help:

Structuring the article

Your research discipline or chosen journal may have an expected structure you should follow:

  • Many journal articles, particularly in STEM disciplines, follow a standard IMRaD structure (Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion).
  • Journal articles in other fields (e.g. many HASS disciplines) do not follow an expected formal structure. Even a journal article in essay form, however, requires a clear structure, with signposting clearly embedded in the text. Headings for this style of article are optional, but could be useful in the earlier drafts to ensure you maintain the logic of your argument.
  • When writing the body paragraphs, remember the T(opic sentence); E(xplanation); E(vidence); E(xample); L(ink) paragraph structure to help organise your ideas at the sentence level.

Learn from the structures you see in articles in your field, and adopt an appropriate structure for your article. Adopting a clear structure will help you to sort information into a logical sequence. Click below to explore the typical contents of an IMRaD style article structure (most common in STEM disciplines):

Strategies to generate writing

Try some of these writing strategies, alone or in combination, to help generate material for your article drafts.

Writing collaboratively

Many journal articles are written by more than one person. There can be advantages to this process, such as:

  • Pooling of ideas to create a more thorough product.
  • Synthesising perspectives from collaborators with different specialised knowledge and expertise.
  • Easy access to proofreaders.
  • Quicker delivery as you personally do not have to write as many words and can often focus on a particular part of the process.

If you are co-authoring an article with collaborators, make sure to:

  • Write cohesively. You do not want to create a ‘Frankenarticle’. A collection of ideas and words from various authors does not always combine into a seamless whole. To create a cohesive article, communicate clearly with your collaborators to ensure each draft makes the article more unified.
  • Agree on authorship. Typically the researcher who did the most work would be listed as the first author, but this can depend on the discipline. In some areas, the more experienced or ‘known’ scholar will be given the privilege of being first-named. Discuss how authorship will be credited with your co-authors to avoid misunderstanding.