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How to write a publication

A) Planning a project

Topic: I am working on X because I want to find out Y so that I/ the reader can understand better Z in order to help understand the more important question A -Specify the topic

History: Why did the topic come into being? How and why did the topic change with time?

Structure and composition: How does the topic fit into the context of a larger structure or function as a part of a larger system? How does its parts fit together as a system?

Categorization: How can the topic can be grouped into kinds? How does the topic compare to and contrast with other like it

What if:  How would things be different if the topic never existed?

Agreement: Extend the reach of claims by other researches. Support a claim with new evidence


1. Make an overview and impose some order of the found information/research based on the solution to the problem and the logic of its support

2. Find an interesting question

  • - if we can’t answer the question B (condition) then we can’t answer a more important question A (consequence)
  • - Search for evidence, models and arguments to respond to the research question
  • - Find new evidence to support a source’s claim
  • - Prove something that a source only assumes or speculates about
  • - Extend a position
  • - Find contradiction

3. Evaluate the question: which question whose answers make so. think about the topic in a new way

4. identifiy a practical or research problem

  • - Condition of the problem
  • - Costs of the condition: direct cost of misunderstanding or possible benefit of better understanding
  • - What do we do about it -> (potential) practical significance of answering question and solving the problem

Literature: Booth et al. 2008. The craft of research


B) Writing a draf including title, summary and introduction

Title: Imagine searching for the report. What words should a researcher look for -Key words of the main point should be inside

Summary: A summary states the context and the problem -Before reporting the result the summary summarizes the rest of the report focusing either on the evidence supporting the results or on the procedures and methods used to achieve it. After the summary rephrase your question as gap in research


  • - The abstract is a paragraph that tells readers what they will find in the report
  • - Imagine searching for the report. What words should a researcher look for => first sentence in abstract -Paraphrase the draft for someone who hasn’t read it.
  • - Paraphrase the draft for someone who hasn’t read it.  State the context of the research. State the research problem.  Announce key terms. State the main point
  • - who are the readers of the paper/research: Experts, (not) well-informed general readers


A good introduction encourages readers to read the report with interest and prepares them to understand it better.


  • - Open with a striking fact to the problem Or a striking quotation Or a relevant anecdote
  • - Contextualize background as opening context common ground. With this establish a shared understanding between reader and you about the larger issue that will be addressed. Summarize only the key points in the resources most relevant to the argument. Summarize only the sources that you intent to correct, modify or extend on. Order the sources chronologically, by quality, significance, point of view, …
  • - Define important terms: Include the key words from the sentences stating the problem and the main point. Focus on those relevant to the question. Circle the key terms in the main point and search them in the different sections of the draft (at least one of the key terms has to be present in the most paragraphs). Be aware of plausible alternative definitions that need to be acknowledged
  • - Outline necessary background
  • - Set limits to the project
  • - State the problem (condition, disrupting condition, cost, so what if we don’t find out)
  • - Response to the problem: main point/ solution towards the end of he introduction. Describe the line of research that the work will replace, correct, refine or extend. State the answer to the question as your point. State the point of the paper at the end of the introduction to frame what follows
  • - Add the key concepts that run through the report as themes

How to write

simple, precise , clear and concise

Old be fore new (familiar before complicated)

When terms are introduced construct the sentences so that those terms appear in the last words

When starting a paragraph put at the end of the first sentence the key terms that appear in the rest of the paragraph

Check if the last words of a paragraph are most important, complex, weighty,…


C) Literature Review


  • - Is the source published by a reputable press?
  • - Is the source current?
  • - Has the source been frequently cited by others?
  • - Record all its bibliographical data
  • - Read important sources twice, the second time more critically
  • - Check the accuracy of everything important to your argument


  • - Is the book peer-reviewed?
  • - Does it have notes and a bibliography
  • - Skim the index for key words
  • - Read prologue, introduction, summary
  • - Skim the last chapter


  • - Read the abstract
  • - Skim introduction and conclusion

Online source

  • - University online sources
  • - Evaluate the site after its sponsors
  • - Does the website include bibliographical data?
  • - Does I approach its topic judiciously?

Search stations

  • - Library
  • - Look at the details page too, to find additional links
  • - Encyclopedia Britannica
  • - Google and Google Scholar
  • -
  • - Ask experts
  • - Look for new books in the Chronicle of higher education

D) Using information out of sources in the own work

  • - Take notes while reading: author, short title, page number, key words, call number of the source. Usually cite a source for ideas not your own or to bolster own arguments
  • - There are different styles for citations (consult the Turabian guide or the Chicago Manual of Style)
  • - Distinguish what is a quote, paraphrase, summary, own thoughts,… Summarize when details are irrelevant. Paraphrase when you state what a source says more clearly or concisely, or when the argument depends on the details in a source but not on its specific words. Don’t paraphrase to closely. Represent an idea in own words more clearly or pointedly than the source does. Quote when the words themselves are evidence that backs up the reasons or when the words are strikingly original or express the key concepts so compellingly that the quotation can frame an extended discussion. Additionally quote a passage that states a view that disagrees with yours and to e fair with state it exactly. Surround it by quotation marks or drop in the quotation with a few identifying words. E g. Author X says…, according to…
  • - Report not only the conclusion of the source but its argument, reasoning and supporting evidence
  • - Note the rhetorical importance of the cited sentence in the original (main or minor point, qualification or concession)
  • - Never abbreviate a quotation
  • - Note why sources disagree
  • - Double-check the notes against the sources
  • - Do not assemble your report as a patchwork of the sources. Do not summarize, but analyze


E) Material & Methods and Results

Material and methods

What methods/applications/techniques could be used to research the question/to solve the problem

Use the passive voice. This implies that the work can be done by any other person -Decide about research design and statistics


Point out the most important results

Create a page for each major section of the report

Is the beginning and the end of each section clearly signaled

Does each major section begin with words that signal how that section relates to the one before it -Is it clear how each section relates to the whole (what question does the section answer)

State the point of each section at the end of its introduction. Relate its point to the argument with names, dates, numbers,…

Each section needs its own key words to unify and distinguish  form others. Combine those which contain the same key words.

Write the point that the rest of a section supports, develops or explains – -Highlight the key terms in each section

Indicate where to put evidence, acknowledgement, warrants and summaries

Don’t evaluate

Do not organize the results as a narrative

Highlight sentences that refer not to the results but to how you did it o to what you were thinking

Organize the results around the core elements of the argument

January 5th, 2013
Topic: Crop Science Tags: None

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