How to Turn a Conference Presentation into a Journal Article
Conferences are fantastic places to give an initial version of your current project when your research is dynamic and evolving. Fellow conference goers provide significant sources of initial feedback, especially from scholars you don’t know or with whom you interact less frequently. In addition, many conferences have associated journals, which have special editions with articles drawn from the conference. Given that journals often prefer already curated submissions to cold entries, your previous acceptance to the conference may help your submission to the associated journal.
A refined journal article looks very different from a conference paper. While a conference paper conveys one point as clearly and simply as possible, a journal article should be nuanced, complex, and explicit, and many distinct examples may be needed. There is room for improvising during a conference; it’s often valuable to read your audience and determine how much explanation is needed for an idea, concept, or example. However, a journal article must be polished and understandable without additional information. Here are some specific ideas to incorporate into your polished, publishable article:
Change the tone and incorporate more complex language so that the paper follows a more sophisticated style. Remember that written and spoken languages are quite different. Some long sentences and phrases, which can be emphasized or fragmented in speech, need to be structured so that they flow elegantly for readers.
Take into account comments received from the conference participants. Advice from those who don’t necessarily know you or your work will help the articles clarity and perhaps even the argument itself.
Remember to take into account the journal’s consistent emphasis on theory and raw data. In reviewing the most recent issues of a potential journal, notice how much of an article is generally dedicated to theoretical concepts, historical background, and specific examples. While you don’t need to mimic other pieces exactly, you want to take into account the journal’s style and emphases.
Use the longer length to establish the groundwork for your argument and provide distinct, explicit examples. You may need to include a more significant literature review or background of the topic. Also, you’ll most likely need to explore more specific examples. For a conference paper, it is expected that research examples and footnotes will be minimized to limit length and complexity. In addition, some research may not be presentable in a conference because it too complex or detailed. A journal article provides space to make complex ideas clear.
Take a moment to extend your research into future projects, or delineate where the research can go from here. You’ll want to speak to how this argument extends upon the research already available in the field but also what kinds of research avenues the paper opens up for further inquiry.