Writing a Journal Article
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Writing a Journal Article. Sections of a Journal Article. Introduction or Statement of Purpose Literature Review Specific Statement of Hypothesis( es ) Description of Methods Results Summary and Conclusions Abstract. Statement of Purpose. The statement of purpose should

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Writing a Journal Article

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Writing a journal article

Writing a Journal Article

Sections of a journal article

Sections of a Journal Article

  • Introduction or Statement of Purpose

  • Literature Review

  • Specific Statement of Hypothesis(es)

  • Description of Methods

  • Results

  • Summary and Conclusions

  • Abstract

Statement of purpose

Statement of Purpose

  • The statement of purpose should

    • describe your goals or objectives in writing this article.

    • Describe how your article will contribute to the current literature.

    • Be succinct and precise

    • Include your research question and/or a reference to your propositions.*

  • It is generally a good idea to refer to your statement of purpose again at the end of your journal article indicating that you have accomplished your purpose.

    *The difference between a hypothesis and a proposition is that a proposition is the statement between concepts, and a hypothesis is the statement between the indicators of these concepts.

Statement of purpose1

Statement of Purpose

  • An example using a research question

  • “The purpose of this manuscript is to test the relationship between characteristics of volunteerism and effectiveness of programs.

  • An example using a research question

  • “The purpose of this manuscript is to empirically explore two critical questions previously posited by researchers. Specifically, we assess if the type of volunteerism and the race of volunteers influences the effectiveness of mentoring programs in school settings. We hypothesis that on-line mentoring is an effective type of mentoring, but that it is critical to pair same race mentors and mentees.”

Literature review

Literature Review

The literature review should

  • Be relevant.

    • Never try to put a square into a round hole. If the journal article doesn’t apply, do not use it in your literature review.

  • Be thorough.

    • Even if you review articles from different disciplines you should include all research that has addressed your research question.

  • Be concise.

    • If there is redundancy in the literature (and there often is), you can quote from one article, and then cite other articles.

  • Be accurate.

    • Try to include direct quotes when possible, and be careful NOT to misrepresent past literature.

  • Be up to date.

    • You run the risk of both having your article rejected and embarrassing yourself if you do not include the most recent studies.

When writing your literature review you should

When writing your literature review, you should:

  • Use spelling and grammar check

  • Discuss and evaluate literature

  • Show logical connection between past literature and your study

  • Write literature review in past tense

  • Read literature reviews published in the journal where you plan to submit your article. Use these articles as examples for:

    • Correctly citing articles in literature review (also refer to bibliography or reference page(s)).

    • Determining how long to make your literature review

    • Adapting your writing style to journal preferences and specifications.

Examples taken from literature reviews

Examples Taken from Literature Reviews


Over three decades ago, Bowles and Gintis (1976) were among the first to argue that noncognitive traits and behaviors were perhaps even more important than cognitive skills in determining educational outcome. In reviewing literature that tested the claims of Bowles and Gintis, Farkas (2003) noted that several factors provide a reasonably consistent view of the mechanisms…...


Because of lower household incomes, children from socially disadvantaged families obviously have fewer resources than children from socially advantaged families, and this lack of resources provides obstacles that tend to reduce educational achievements (Becker and Tomes 1986; Biblarz and Raftery 1999; Goldrick-Rab 2006; Haveman and Wolfe 1995; Mayer 1997b).

Stating hypothesis es

Stating Hypothesis(es)

  • Rules of Thumb

    • You should state about 2-5 hypotheses

    • Keep in mind that you will state a research hypothesis (there is a relationship), but TEST the null hypothesis (there is NO relationship).

    • If you are doing exploratory research and/or using qualitative data collection techniques, you should posit a research question – rather than state a specific hypothesis.

    • You never PROVE your hypothesis is TRUE, you can only reject the null hypothesis and therefore provide support for your research hypothesis.

Wording of hypotheses

Wording of Hypotheses

  • Even though you actually test the null hypothesis, you should state the research hypothesis.

  • The wording of the hypothesis is influenced by the types of analysis you use. For instance:

    • If you used chi square, you could hypothesis that your dependent variable is contingent on your independent variable.

    • If you use anova, you could state that group A is higher or lower than group B on the dependent variable.

    • If you use regression you would state that your dependent variable is related to your independent variable (s).

Methods section

Methods Section

  • Methods Section should contain

    • Information about your sample

      • Describe your population (i.e., all 4-H participants in Utah)

      • Describe your sampling technique (i.e., selected ¼ of all participants using the random sampling technique)

      • Describe your sample (i.e., 50% male and 50 percent female, 85% white etc.)

    • Information about your Indicators

      • Describe data collection technique (i.e., Surveys were constructed and mailed to participants).

      • Identify concepts you are measuring (i.e., participation in 4-H and school success).

      • Describe indicators and how they were developed (i.e., Participants were asked to indicate the extent to which they agreed that their participation in 4-H motivated them to perform better in school.)

    • Please NOTE

      • You may want to state your hypothesis at the end of this section rather than before it.

Results section

Results Section

  • The results section should contain your tables, graphs and charts.

  • Text in the results section is used to describe the data presented in the tables, charts and graphs. Generally, you introduce each table, chart or graphs (i.e., Table 2 contains…; ), and then describe the data presented there.

  • Descriptions of data should:

    • Include all “important” numbers in the tables, graphs and charts.*

    • Thoroughly, yet succinctly, describe exactly what the reader sees in the tables.

    • Be objective. NOW is not the time to explain and interpret your findings.

      *”Important” numbers are determined by you but would include any numbers that provide evidence to support your hypotheses or answer your research question.

Summary and conclusions

Summary and Conclusions

  • Summary

    • In this section, you summarize your findings, emphasizing the most important findings of your paper.

    • Now IS the time to explain and interpret your findings.

    • You refer back to your research hypothesis(es) or research question

      • Did you provide support for your research hypothesis (es)?

  • Conclusions

    • In this section you refer back to the purpose of your paper and provide evidence that you accomplished your purpose in writing the paper.

    • You acknowledge any limitations and provide suggestions for future research.

Contact information

Contact Information

  • Dr. Carol Albrecht

    • Assessment Specialist USU Ext

    • [email protected]

    • (979) 777-2421

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