The Editor-in-Chief of Africa Education Evaluation, Prof. Zee Madueke offers a quick guide to preparing your manuscript for publication.
When preparing your manuscript for publication in peer review journals, it is very important to first read the Journal’s manuscript submission guidelines. This will help you a lot. Some journal editors will desk-reject your manuscript simply because you did not follow the manuscript submission guidelines. If the journal requires your references and citations to be in APA format, it is your job to learn the APA format and follow it. Else, your paper may not be allowed in such journal.
Secondly, if the journal of your choice is strict about manuscript word count, be careful not to exceed the word count as it may amount to automatic rejection of your manuscript. I encourage authors to pay strict attention to details and do quality research works. First visit manuscript submission guidelines of any journal you are interested in publishing your work before submitting your manuscript to them.
Follow these quick guidelines when preparing your manuscript for publication in scientific journals;
The title of a research paper (manuscript) should reflect and cover the theme of the study and should NOT exceed two to three lines. Avoid using broad and general titles and avoid using acronyms in the title.
The abstract of a research paper should be a Summary of content of the study and its results, and should NOT exceed 250 words. Describe the overall research problem that was addressed in the first couple of sentences and indicate why it was important (e.g., who would care if the problem is solved). Identify the purpose and theoretical foundations, if appropriate. Summarize the key research question(s). Describe, briefly, the overall research design and methods (Avoid mentioning parts of the research methods such as research instruments (survey questionnaire) sample and data collection, utilized statistical techniques, etc.). Identify the key results, one or two conclusions, and recommendations that capture the heart of the research. Also avoid the use of acronyms in abstracts. Do not include references or in-text citations in an abstract. An abstract should not have indentation; it should be one long paragraph and cannot exceed one page.
The introduction should not be very short or very long (at least 3-5 paragraphs). This introduction should be documented by current/relevant references from recent studies, unless it is completely the product of the author’s ideas. At the end of the introduction, briefly describe the study as it was mentioned in the abstract, but without the results of the study. Start using the developed acronyms (if any) form now on after their initial creation.
This section should include previous and recent studies that are relevant to the current study. Sometimes, authors use the title “Background of This Study” instead of the title “literature review,” or use several subtitles under a main title or main titles. However, it depends on the type of the study and its contents.
Purpose (Objective(s) of Study
Every study has an objective or objectives. This section includes the same objectives mentioned simultaneously in the abstract and at the end of the introduction.
Some researches formulate their hypotheses based on the objectives of their studies. So the title may be “Objective and Hypotheses of the Study.” Other researchers formulate their hypotheses under a separate section titled “Hypotheses of This Study”.
Hypotheses or research questions may be formulated under a separate section titled “Hypotheses.” Sometimes hypotheses may be formulated under sections of the literature review. The location of hypotheses depends on the contents of the study.
Methods, Research Methods, or Methodology
Research methods may include survey questionnaire or other instruments (e.g., interviews, observation, etc.), sample, data collection, measurements of variable(s), statistical techniques, etc.
Some authors utilize survey questionnaires (instruments) to collect “primary data”. Authors should describe the utilized survey questionnaires in details. For example, how was the utilized survey developed? Was the survey adapted from valid and reliable studies? Was the survey questionnaire developed by the authors? If the utilized survey questionnaire is new, how were its validity and reliability tested? The survey questionnaire should be put in an appendix with the first submission for reviewers.
Some studies require their authors to collect secondary data (archival data). Other studies require both primary and secondary data.
Authors should describe the research sample and how it was selected. Is it a convenient sample? If it is, authors should justify the choice of the sample. Is it a random, representative, or stratified sample? Authors should clarify the type of the selected sample.
Authors should describe the process of data collection. For example, if authors have collected the primary data? How were these data collected? If authors have collected secondary data, authors should describe the source or sources of these data. Some authors use one title for “Sample and Data Collection”.
Measurement of Variables
Authors should identify the measurements of all variables (independent, dependent, and control variables) included in their studies. Authors should justify the choice and use of control variables, if any.
Authors use certain statistical techniques (e.g., SPSS, SAS, AMOS, LISERL etc.) to analyze their data (e.g., means, frequencies, percentages, correlation matrices, ANOVA, MANOVA, regression analysis, factor analysis, time series, structural modeling or path analysis, etc.).
Results or Findings of Study
Authors start with the description of their data analysis. For example, some studies require their authors to put the results or the findings of their studies into tables titled: descriptive statistics, correlation matrices, regression results, factor analysis, etc. Secondly, the format of your table for presentation is obsolete. Do not allow vertical lines, use only horizontal lines. See sample below:
Limitation(s) of This Study
Some studies require their authors to have a brief statement about the limitation(s) that face their studies.
In this section, authors describe what their studies imply. That is, what others should learn from their studies.
Recommendation(s) for Future Research
In this section, authors suggest certain recommendations for future research.
Authors should state their concluding remarks about the study and its results.
Acknowledgement is brief statement appears after the text of the research paper and before the list of references. It may refer to academic or financial contributions received by authors from certain individuals, institutions, or organizations. Not every study must have acknowledgement.
* All references in the text of the manuscript MUST be listed in the list of references.
* Delete all references that are NOT in both of the text of the manuscript and list of references.
* The names of authors and the years must be same in the text of the manuscript and in the list of references
NOTE: Avoid the use of the first pronoun (I, we, us, me, my, our, ours) unless it is imperative.
Prof. Zee Madueke,
Editor-in-Chief: Africa Education Evaluation (proudly published by Zeetarz Publishing Nigeria)