In the academic community, writing a journal article is almost an everyday affair. We see call for papers by reputable journals or conferences on a daily basis. Interestingly, some of these calls do not provide the format in which papers should be submitted. Basically, there are 8 elements of the journal article format. Although formats may vary based on publication, country and or institution, below are the 8 elements of an acceptable academic journal article format:
- Abstract: This is the SUMMARY of the research that was carried out. It should contain the objectives, the motivation of the research, the methodology employed, the result of the findings and the author(s) recommendations.
- Introduction: The introduction of the article should provide a clear insight as to WHY THE RESEARCH WAS DONE. This gives a background on the issues surrounding the research.
- Literature review: This aspect of the journal article supply information on WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN about the topic or the issues the research is addressing. It is important to reference appropriately all materials used, cited or quoted in the literature review. (We will address how to reference properly in another article)
- Methods and data: this section explains HOW THE RESEARCH WAS CONDUCTED. It gives a brief overview on the study area, the research design used, the population and sample of the study, the source(s) of data, the data analysis technique and research instrument (if any).
- Analysis and results: This part of the research tells us WHAT HAPPENED in the course of providing answers to the research questions and objectives. It gives a clear description of the data analysis process and results.
- Discussion: In the discussion of the research finding, the author explains WHAT THE RESULTS MEAN and its implication to existing body of knowledge. This section compares as well as contrasts the result of the research with those of related researches.
- Conclusion: Some authors make the mistake of writing the abstract in this section. The conclusion should simply tell the reader WHAT WAS LEARNED from the research result.
- Bibliography: This is simply asking the author to tell the readers WHAT RESEARCH WAS CONSULTED in form of a list. As earlier stated, the in-text referencing style (references used in the body of the work) should conform with the style used in the bibliography. If the paper adopts the APA style of referencing, it should used APA in-text referencing and APA bibliography referencing.
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