Top Writing Tips
Published: February 20, 2018
Improve your papers with these top tips from the School of Information Student Research Journal editorial team.
How well you write your research papers can mean the difference between a good grade and a great grade. Professors evaluate your work not only based on the content and your ideas, but also your spelling, grammar and adherence to APA style. So your GPA definitely stands to benefit from polishing up your writing skills. Who better to ask than the experts who work on the School of Information Student Research Journal (SRJ)?
SRJ is a double-blind peer reviewed publication focused on promoting academic research. Since 2010, SRJ has published student research in the field of Information Science. Meet the current editorial team here and read their tips for creating papers that make the grade (and perhaps get you published).
Top Tip #1: Study the APA Manual
If you don’t already own a copy of the APA Style Manual, Lisa Lowdermilk, Content/Copy Editor, recommended that you pick one up! She stated, “I’ve been surprised at how helpful the APA manual has been at helping me improve my writing.” In particular, flip to pages 88-89 for the rundown on correctly using serial commas (a common pitfall!).
Top Tip #2: Read Aloud
Mary Malone, Content Editor, shared that her top tip is to read aloud, “slowly, reading each word. This is actually kind of difficult as we tend to skip over words, and sometimes even insert words in a text. By doing this you can also catch errors, especially those that spellcheck might have missed. “This works for any written piece — from emails to manuscripts — and it’s one that I employ with anything that I have written and all manuscripts I review for the journal.”
Top Tip #3: Be Concise
As a copy editor for SRJ, my recommendation is to keep your sentences as concise as possible. By trying to say the same thing in fewer words, you improve the clarity of your writing. It’s easy for a reader to get lost in a sentence that is too long; you don’t want them to have to go back and read it again.
Top Tip #4: Move Things Around
Stephanie Akau, Content Editor, suggested “if you’re struggling with how to structure your paper, try moving paragraphs around. If you have done your research the ideas should be there, but they may need to be rearranged in order to flow in an organized manner from one topic to the next.”
Get Your Paper Published!
Would you like to see your work published in the journal? SRJ publishes two issues a year and accepts submissions on a rolling basis from all currently enrolled graduates. The journal accepts original research, literature reviews or critical review essays. As well as looking fabulous on your resume, feedback from the editing process can help you develop your writing skills.
Kelly Pollard, Managing Editor, said “having a piece of scholarly research published is an exciting experience.” However, it can be a lot of work. Most submissions require extensive revisions to fit in with the journal’s guidelines. Kelly advised “it is worthwhile to take the time to revise the paper and submit again…if SRJ sends a submission back for major revision, it does mean that we think the work has potential.”
For more help, check out these writing resources. Even the most accomplished writers continue to strive for improvement. I hope you have found these tips helpful and I look forward to reading your published work in a future issue of SRJ!