Before starting your manuscript, preparing a study plan will enable you to easily follow a prescribed path while writing it. Controlling the progress of your study in this way will also streamline your study. Here are some important points regarding this issue:
- Select an important and up-to-date topic that will draw the attention of the reader.
- Select an original topic that is able to be supported with sufficient content from the related literature. A topic that fills a gap in the relevant field can be determined through an accurate literature review. If an original topic is not preferred, then this should be clearly stated, and compelling aspects of the study should be highlighted.
- Focus on a single topic
- When necessary, draw the attention of the reader with examples from daily life.
- Avoid bombastic expressions, and ensure that the topic does not exceed its purpose.
FORMATTING CHARACTERISTICS FOR WRITING
- Start each chapter on a different page.
- Do not make the Introduction and Discussion sections unnecessarily long, and do not make the Materials-Methods and Conclusion sections too short.
- If there is a word count limitation, it should be followed.
STYLE AND EXPRESSIONS USED
- Express original thoughts using objective language.
- Use clear and concise expressions.
- Use as few adjectives as possible when reporting findings.
- Avoid subjective adjectives. For example, expressions suggestive of partiality, such as “unique”, “outstanding”, or “surprising”, should be avoided when presenting the findings..
- Avoid ambiguous expressions. For example, instead of an ambiguous verb, like “influence”, use a clearer term, like “decrease” or “increase”.
- Avoid as much as possible the use of the word “significant” in the sense of “important” or “great” (result, contribution, etc.), as this word can be confused with statistical results. This word can be used when referring to statistical results; however, clearly using numeric expressions instead would be more suitable.
- Apply abbreviations for terms that are used in the manuscript at least 5 times. Use standard abbreviations instead of producing new abbreviations.
- In Turkish manuscripts, avoid the use of foreign words as much as possible.
- Obey spelling rules.
- Decide on a clear and interesting research question that can fill any gaps in the relevant field.
- The research question should not be too narrow or too broad.
- Conduct a correct analysis of what the study finds and what the study defends.
- Starting from a broad perspective, narrow the topic down and focus on the research question.
- Review all sources within the framework of the research question.
- Instead of listing all previous studies, focus attention on their strengths and weaknesses.
- Conduct the literature review in a systematic order.
- Identify unstudied areas.
- Link the unstudied field with the research question.
- Apply a critical approach to the literature review.
DETAILS ON THE MANUSCRIPT SECTIONS
- Should reflect the manuscript content.
- Should be explanatory and be a judgment instead of a proposition.
- Should be simple and short and not exceed 10-12 words.
- Should be interesting and captivating.
- Should not include grammatical mistakes.
- Should address the reader audience of the journal to which the manuscript is planned to be submitted.
- Should reflect the topic of the study instead of its results.
- Should reflect the study aim.
- Should not be imperative.
- Should not include non-standard abbreviations.
- As this is a section that influences whether the manuscript will be read or not, it should touch upon the interesting, new, and up-to-date findings the relevant study offers.
- Should be original and represent the manuscript. Do not use the same sentences from the Abstract in the other sections of the manuscript.
- Should be organized in accordance with the stipulations of the target journal.
- Should appropriately summarize the manuscript and not contain any incomplete information.
- No abbreviations, citations, references, tables and/or figures should be used in the Abstract.
- Include the definition of the problem in the first sentence, explain how the study is carried out after briefly and in simple terms presenting the objective of the study, briefly present the main results of the study, and lastly, define the implications.
- Select the correct keywords to allow researchers to access the relevant study more easily.
- Select as keywords terms that will bring the study to the fore.
- The first sentence is very important and should draw the attention of the reader.
- At the beginning of this section, the relevant problem should be briefly addressed, followed by a presentation of the relevant known facts and an introduction of the previous studies conducted on the topic.
- Present the relevant topic by going from a more general to a more specific perspective, focusing particularly on the gap the study fills in the literature. The said gap in the literature regarding the topic will reveal the purpose of the study.
Materials and Methods
- Select a research design that will best enable you to correctly answer the research question, and explain this design in detail.
- Use the most suitable data collection tool and test the validity and reliability of the tool selected. Validate the analysis and statistical methods used.
- The subscales in the data collection tools should be measurable.
- Use open-ended and unbiased questions in the data collection process.
- Present both expected and unexpected findings.
- Avoid contradictions and errors.
- Should be able to answer the research question.
- Clearly present the figures and tables that summarize the findings.
- The beginning sentence should state that the research presents a new finding.
- In this section, the results are interpreted and compared to those reported in previous studies. Do not add any findings that are not included in the Results section.
- Avoid repetitions.
- Do not include speculative/dubious statements.
- Do not lengthen sentences unnecessarily.
- Make clear, precise inferences that are consistent with the results.
- Do not make this section simply a summary of what had been explained at the beginning of the manuscript. Instead, include implications/inferences derived from the study findings and their impact on future studies.
- Contrary to the Literature Review and Introduction sections, arrange the flow of the narrative from specific to more general points.
- Should give the reader an idea about future studies on the topic.
- Use only valid and reliable resources. Cite only original resources, not secondary sources as references. As the research question is addressed and the topic is narrowed down, then secondary resources can be used.
- Follow the format required by the journal to which the study will be submitted.
- Follow the rules stipulated by the relevant journal.
- Keep the in-text numbering and the order of the references aligned.
- It is recommended that the number of references be between 20 to 40; however, it is considered best practice that the number of references not exceed 25.
- Use up-to-date references.
- As much as possible, use only the most important studies related to the relevant topic.
- Citations can be in (x), [x] or xxx format, depending on the journal.
- Apply in consistent fashion the citation style determined by the target journal.
- Many journals require that citations come immediately after the author’s name.
- After completion, the manuscript should be thoroughly reviewed from beginning to end by an impartial person.
- The manuscript should be revised by an editor who is a native speaker of the language in which the manuscript will be published.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS, SUCH AS FORMATTING AND PAGE LAYOUT
- Use wide spacing and large fonts. In a single column text, line spacing of 1.5 and 12-15 words is ideal . Avoid using font sizes lower than 10.
- Include a page number on every page, except for the Title page.
- If a second-round of control is to follow the revisions done by the first referee, add line numbers to the study to facilitate the work of the second referee.
- If you have a hypothesis that includes quantitative inferences, focus on statistical findings instead of using visual elements.
- Coloring can be used in visual elements if it is suitable for the journal to which the study will be submitted.
- Present figures in simple form. Avoid unnecessary details that do not contribute to the transfer of information. Minimize the use of detailed effects, such as 3D designs, shading, and unnecessary coloring. A few sentences can be added to these parts to explain the results in the figures.
- Check grammar, spelling, punctuation and double/single spacing.
- Re-check headers and subheadings of tables and figures and their order.
- Re-check consistency between the citations and references.
- Re-check the names and order of the authors.
- Re-check the order of the footnotes, if any.
- Re-read the completed study on different days and at different times.
- Select the most appropriate journal, not the best journal, in the field for the relevant audience.
- Take into account journal specific information, such as journal rules, reader audience, distribution channel and number, indices the journal is included in, impact factor, acceptance rate, and printing process.
Points most criticized by referees
- Unimportant and uninteresting topics
- Failure to be original (not including new findings)
- Shortcomings in the study construct
- Shortcomings in the presentation of the Methods and Results, and in the Discussion section
- Lack of hypothesis
- Lack of clear, concise reporting
- Grammar, spelling and punction mistakes
- Misinterpretation of findings
- False inferences