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McNair Scholars: Writing for Publication

Writing a Research Paper

Choosing a topic:

•Knowledge of Topic - what knowledge of the topic do you already know or need to learn more about?

•Professional or Personal Experience - do you have personal or professional experience related to your topic or know someone in the field of expertise to talk with about your topic?
•Is it Research-Based or Anecdotal?  Anecdotal research is usually based on observations (non-scientific observation) or personal accounts that may or may not be reliable rather than actual facts or research.

Longitudinal and Empirical Research

•Longitudinal Research implies that the same subjects are observed or measured repeatedly over a period of time.  Ex: Following a specified group of voters through three presidential elections.

•Empirical research implies that a theory, theories or assumptions have been tested through observation. For example, one can assume that a certain group form a specified geographical area will vote a certain way on specific issues, and one could test that assumption by observing how the individuals vote.

Choosing a Journal & Submission Guidelines

Journal Selection:

  • Get to know journals in one's field
  • Research-based journals (Peer-reviewed; Juried)


  • Generally available within journal
  • Often available at journal's website
  • Follow prescribed style manual

Writing Abstract of Paper:

  • Purpose of paper or study
  • Methodology used
  • Subjects used
  • Results/Conclusion


  • Blind Review
  • Open Review
  • Make the suggested changes - you be the judge

Rejection Slips

  • Read reviewer's comments
  • Make needed corrections of changes
  • Get in the mail to another journal ASAP