After many months of completing experiments and analysis, it is time to prepare your research article for submission and to select a journal. Journal choice is an important decision to make. Selecting the wrong journal can mean publishing delays or poor readership of your research. In this article, we provide tips on how the make the right journal choice.
Sengi Data Research and Writing Tips
Like presenting a conference paper, presenting a conference poster is a great way to showcase your research. Preparing an effective conference poster can attract attention and lead to meaningful interactions with other conference goers. However, if your conference poster is prepared poorly, you may be left standing awkwardly next to your poster while no one stops to read it. In this article, we outline how to create an effective conference poster.
Presenting research at a conference is a major highlight of any academic's career. Choosing the right conference is important. Not only is attending expensive (travel costs, conference fees, lodging costs), but it is also a large time investment. The conference may span 3-7 days itself, but also preparing abstracts and the presentation takes a significant amount of time. Not only do researchers need to make sure they choose a conference with the right audience, but we now have to be alert to avoid predatory conferences. Like predatory journals, predatory conferences are scams that prey on unwary researchers and especially researchers from developing countries. Predatory conferences concern themselves with money, and no interest in scientific or business ethics. They falsely adv...
Predatory journal is a term, coined by Jeffrey Beall, to describe publishers who are more concerned with profit than ethics. These journals are scams. They prey on unsuspecting researchers, often targeting third tier economic areas, and masquerade as legitimate publishers. Predatory journals usually promise rapid review and publication in a leading journal. However, the reality is that these journals often have little to no peer review or editorial contributions before publication, are not indexed in research databases, and cost thousands of dollars to publish with them. Many will not notify the authors of fees until after article acceptance. Some even charge fees at submission.
Have you ever analyzed raw data, come back to your analysis months later, and struggled to figure out what you did? The importance of keeping a lab notebook during experiments is often drilled into researchers. However, the same cannot be said for keeping a detailed log of data and statistical analysis.Whether you use Excel, SPSS, Statistica, R, etc. it is important to keep track of how your raw data was analyzed. At Sengi Data we prefer to use R for a lot of reasons, outlined in another article. R also makes keeping track of your data and statistical analysis, if you use R Markdown.In this article, we will discuss how to use R Markdown to simplify research.
All the hard work has finally paid off. You are ready to submit your research article to your target journal. It is a good idea before you hit "submit" to double check that you have met all the journals requirements and included all relevant information.You do not want to wait a couple of weeks just to receive rejection from the editor for having a title that is too long, or for failing to include line numbers. In this post, we provide an easy to follow research article submission checklist, ensuring that you can catch anything you may have missed.
Paying for somewhere to live is an unavoidable expense. Whether you rent or own it is recommended that no more than 30% of your income be spent on shelter costs. Is this 30% figure attainable for Canadians? In this post, we perform an analysis using r to find out, and make predictions for the future.We collected Census Data from the last National Household Survey, published in 2011 for this analysis. Data from the most recent Census is not available until later this year. Each result is presented as a map of Canada and embedded below are pdfs that can be zoomed in to highlight specific regions. The shelter costs as a % of gross income are white at 0% and become progressively redder as the costs increase up to 60%.
Researchers are under immense pressure to publish. Without publications your career will stagnate and you could find yourself unemployed and unemployable. This difficult situation is often described as "Publish or Perish." A simple way to get early publications is to convert your PhD thesis into journal articles.There is significant effort involved to publish PhD thesis work, but the vast majority of the work is already done. You reviewed the literature, planned and carried out the experiment, analyzed the data, and made conclusions. However, writing a thesis is different than writing a journal article. In this guide, we offer tips on how to convert your PhD thesis into journal articles.
In previous posts, we talked about the advantages of using R, and demonstrated how to a solve brain teaser using R. R is also a powerful tool for predictive modelling. Predictive modelling uses available data and statistics to forecast outcomes. In this example, we use R to predict the fate of passengers on the Titanic.
In a previous post, we discussed why R is a great choice to simplify your data and statistical analysis. R has a steep learning curve at first, but with practice, the advantages of R far outweigh the initial bumps. In this post, we provide an example of using R to solve a well-known brain teaser - The Monty Hall Problem.
There are so many statistical software packages that it is hard to choose. Should you use SAS, SPSS, Stata, Statistica, SigmaPlot, R, or even Excel for your data and statistical analysis?We are big advocates of using R. More than a piece of software, R is a language and environment for data, statistics, and graphics. It can perform just about any statistical technique (linear and nonlinear modelling, classification, clustering, time-series analysis, etc.) and be used to create graphics for research publication.There is a steep learning curve when learning any statistical software, but R seems to be known for being difficult to use at first. We encourage everyone to stick with it. Try using R Commander, a graphical user interface (GUI), if you are nervous about coding at first. Wh...
Reference managing software simplifies research publication. You don't need to keep track of who you cited, in what order, or whether your reference list includes only who you cited in the paper. Software such as Endnote and Mendeley partially automate these time-consuming tasks and make your research life easier.Unfortunately, reference managing software is not interchangeable. A MS Word document that is formatted using Mendeley, cannot be then formatted with Endnote. Reference lists though, can be interchanged between software. Therefore you can use Mendeley with one research article and Endnote for another.For each research article, it is best to have all authors use the same piece of software. However how do you choose? Which is better? "Better" is often subjective. Each pi...
In a previous post, we discussed how important it is to format references before submission to a peer-reviewed journal. Each journal has a specific reference style that needs to be followed. If not, your paper will likely be rejected.Formatting references for journals is complicated. You can simplify this process by using citation managing software, such as Mendeley or Endnote. Our previous post focused on using Mendeley. This post will outline how to format references and in-text citations using Endnote.
Before submitting your article for peer review, it is important to make sure that the reference style of the journal is followed. Each journal will have their own preferred style for the in-text citations and the reference list. Failure to follow the journal reference style could result in immediate rejection by the editor. The best way to simplify this process is to use citation managing software. Mendeley and Endnote are popular choices. You can format your research publication in your preferred style as you write, then change it accordingly to the journal's preferences. In this guide, we will explain how to style your references for journals using Mendeley.
When preparing research publications, abstracts are often overlooked. This is bad practice because along with your title, it provides the first impression of your research. If your abstract is for a research article, then readers will often decide from it whether or not to read your paper. A well-written abstract can be the difference between conference acceptance and rejection.We present a guide for writing an effective abstract, whether for your research article or conference presentation.
We have all had to sit through terrible PowerPoint presentations. The conference speaker reads off of their slides, in a monotone voice, and puts everyone to sleep. As a researcher, you have exciting findings to showcase, and putting your audience to sleep is not the best way to gain recognition. Unfortunately, there is no formal education on creating an effective PowerPoint presentation (or speaking in front of colleagues). By following this guide, you can improve your presentations and impress your audience.
If you want your research paper published, then it is important to resist the urge to dismiss the reviewer comments. As researchers, we all have to address and respond to each comment.This can be a daunting task, even for seasoned researchers. There is also, unfortunately, no formal training on the do's and don'ts of responding to reviewer comments. In this post, we offer tips and best practices that can help lower the rounds of revisions and get your work published fast.
Research article writing is a skill and, like any other skill, needs to be practiced and honed. No matter how elegant we think our prose, there is always room for improvement. But you may wonder: why do I need to improve my writing – I write perfectly well?While we may write so WE can understand our own academic writing, there is always someone else who needs to read it. Most importantly, colleagues, journal reviewers, and grant committees. Confused writing can anger journal reviewers (and editors), leading to major revisions or even rejection.The following are 10 tips for improving your research article writing, and your overall success as a researcher. If you cannot properly communicate your research, then you cannot get funded, published, or acknowledged.
As an academic, you’ll often be called upon to write academic articles for conference papers and later for journal articles. While the topics may be requested by editors or emerge from your own research, you will want to develop coherent textual readings and/or produce a competent argument. You can write the article in any order you choose (some prefer to write it narratively, while others may compose the readings or describe the evidence first), but here are some key points for writing effective academic articles:
While most citations in a scholarly article refer to already published research or engage with theoretical materials, occasionally you will find it necessary to discuss magazine articles or reviews, online works, and other kinds of non-scholarly or non-academic sources. In part, engaging with these types of materials illustrates the continued relevancy of your research in the public realm. If you are discussing representations of war in literature, for example, it may be productive to think about reviews of such representations in contemporary popular culture. Connecting with public and popular media situates your research the “real world” and adds immediacy to your piece.
How do you summarize arguments for academic articles such as a literature review? Clearly, any argument you write should speak to other, previously published texts. You are in a conversation with your field and will want to engage with other scholarly works, theoretical pieces, or bodies of research. Your article’s engagement with these secondary sources will help to bolster your argument and form a basis for your discussion. However, you want to work with these earlier sources in an intelligent and sophisticated way.
Research articles, especially in the STEM fields, have a rigid structure that almost all journals will expect to be followed. This makes sense, as it forces publications to be uniform, easier to follow, and allows for the reading of particular sections. Someone interested in the statistical methods used, doesn't need to skim through the whole article to find them. They will be included in the methods; thus only the methods would need to be read. While the structure of research articles has several advantages, it can unfortunately be overly confusing, both for new and seasoned scholars alike. It can be hard to know what to include in each section. Too often you can find yourself wondering "Does this go in the results or in the discussion?" Below is a summary of each section of a struc...
The challenges of choosing a specific research article topic can be daunting to a new scholar. You want one that is interesting to you and emerges from your current area of research. At the same time, it should be new, innovative, and valuable to the field. Here are some strategies to help produce a dynamic, effective research topic:
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, an...
Endnote is another excellent resource to manage references for research articles. It has all the same bibliography and reference usability described in our earlier post about Mendeley, but it also has some powerful extra features. Endnote is free if you use the web-version, but it is severely limited compared to the paid version. We will only talk about the paid version in this article.
We have all been there -- the methods section of a research paper that seems to be talking in circles, when all you really need is a few facts about the statistical methods used. For many researchers, academic sources for their research articles can be overly complicated and too wordy to understand at times. No style of reading works for everyone, but there are general reading tips that are useful, whether used all together or mixed and matched. By using the tips below, you will be reading academic sources effectively without feeling overwhelmed.
Proofreading is essential for any written work. An otherwise excellent research publication can be ruined by multiple typos. Below are effective strategies for proofreading your research articles.
A good research question will guide and centre your research. It may consider the relationships between certain theories or ideas, or attempt to answer what is happening in a specific situation. Ideally, you should be interested in the topic you choose to investigate. If you are unfamiliar with the topic, you should also conduct preliminary research. A good literature review can summarize a given research area and lead to inspiration. Next, consider some questions you have about your topic; in this post, we will use the example topic of childhood obesity. For example, you might consider one of these questions: What are the effects of childhood obesity? or What are the effects of childhood obesity in early elementary school children? Your research question cannot be too broad or too n...
A literature review is an exhaustive discussion of the research previously done in a given subject area. It is an organized collection of published research about a topic. Literature reviews are conducted in order to provide a solid background of the topic, examine what areas of research exist, and find new routes of research. While it may be a summary of the material, usually the literature review shuffles information around to shed new light on research. The first step in conducting a literature review is to choose a topic. Your topic should be narrow enough to find specific sources. Writing a purpose statement will help you focus your search. Next, divide your topic into key themes and ideas; those will provide the framework for the body of your literature review and keep your sea...
Mendeley is an free and excellent resource to manage references for your research article. With Mendeley, you can do a variety of functions that will make research publication easier, especially when conducting a literature review. The first item on your Mendeley to-do list is curating your Mendeley library. Any research articles or other references you want to use in your article should be added to the library. You can drag and drop them into the open desktop application from your desktop or files folder. Sometimes, you will add duplicate documents to your library. Under ‘Tools,’ click ‘Check for Duplicates.’ You can merge duplicate documents. Select all duplicate documents and in the upper right corner, click on merge. From there, Mendeley will check the fields to verify information; cli...
The style of your work is just as important as its content. You should write for your audience -- a professor, a layperson, your colleagues, etc -- and your style should indicate who you are writing for. Slang words and other colloquial terms should not be used unless they are relevant to your article’s focus. It is also essential to avoid biased language; you don’t want your article to be seen as sexist, racist, or stereotypical. Your article should be written intelligently. Having a peer who had not read your article before will help you with proofreading. You may be able to cut down on redundant information or add information for completeness when necessary with his or her feedback. Sometimes it is necessary to use jargon -- vocabulary used by a specific group of people. When using jarg...