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Technical Writing Resources

The process utilized by our research group for preparing manuscripts for submission to journals, along with some additional resources.

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1. Conceptualization

As soon as you start thinking about writing a research paper, read this article on 10 simple steps to writing a research paper. Once you have a one sentence vision for your paper, submit it for review.

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2. Figure and Storyboard

The next step in preparing an article for publication is to submit an outline of your paper with figures (see step 3 of linked article above). The idea is that the figures and tables will form the skeleton of your paper. We will likely iterate on this outline a few times.

In the first submission of your outline, you should have:

  • Tables and/or figures with labeled headers and/or axes including units (formatting for aesthetics will come in later drafts)
  • Short statements or bullet points in between figures and/or table to form the narrative framework of the paper

In subsequent submissions, you will:

  1. Improve the formatting of figures identified as fitting for the publication narrative (use the guidelines for figures in the publication checklist to help you in this process),
  2. Revise figures identified as unclear in their presentation,
  3. Remove or replace figures identified as unhelpful or unnecessary.
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3. Rough Draft

Next, you will submit your rough draft. This draft should essentially be a more filled out narrative of the storyboard. An introduction does not need to be written at this point. The draft should include a detailed methods section, full narrative for the results and discussion section, and a rough (e.g., bullet points) conclusion section.

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4. Refined Draft

After the rough draft, you will likely submit a couple refined drafts. Before submitting each of your refined drafts, please review the linked Publication Checklist to ensure your manuscript is meeting the general guidelines and standards expected. An introduction section will need to be included in your refined draft.

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5. Prepare for Submission to a Journal

Double-check all journal requirements and formatting. Assemble a list of reviewers to include in your submission with help from your advisor.

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Additional Resources

Click here for guidance on how to structure and write different sections of your research paper
Click here to view the recommended verb tense for different sections and situations in technical writing.

Whiteside's Group: Writing a Paper