Kyle Grayson on the journal research article

What’s your experience with peer-review journal articles? You know, writing a paper, sending it, waiting for (long) months, and then receiving an email. As a researcher starting up his career (although somebody says it’s not going to change with the experience) I’ve been experiencing a good bunch of rejection letters, plus some “accepted with major changes” (say, “we’d love to publish a different paper of you, which talks more or less about these theme”) and sporadic “accepted with minor revisions” (oh, yeah!).

What I’ve been learning through these experiences is that the (international, good quality) journal reviewers expect not only that you have some good research, but that you communicate it in a very specific way: which is why Kyle Grayson talks about the journal research article as a “genre”.

Like in all literary genres, content is not everything, and style and structure matter (critics may suggest the latter matter more than the former, sometimes…).

Kyle Grayson has some advices and a brief definition of the core elements of the journal article genre:

  • It must have original research content as established by the norms of your field or sub-discipline;
  • It must be a stand-alone output that is not dependent on one reading your thesis or other research articles you have written for exposure to core aspects of the argument;
  • There must be a clear research problem that is situated within the relevant academic literature ;
  • A single line of argument should be articulated and defended or a single set of hypotheses should be presented and tested;
  • An account of how the research was undertaken in accordance with the norms of your (sub)field or methodological approach must be provided;
  • A clear sense of the original contribution that the article makes to the literature in the sub-field and/or field must be expressed;
  • A clear sense of the significance of the findings in relation to the existing literature must be articulated;
  • Presentation must be according to the house style of the journal including total compliance with word count limitations.

Let us know if this helps, let us know about the rejection/acceptance letters you’ll receive!

(Simone Tulumello)

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