Publishing your research in an international journal is key to your success in academia. This guide is based on a study of referees' reports and letters from journal editors on reasons why papers written by non-native researchers are rejected due to problems with English usage. It draws on English-related errors from around 5000 papers written by non-native authors, 500 abstracts by PhD students, and over 1000 hours of teaching researchers how to write and present research papers.
With easy-to-follow rules and tips, and with examples taken from published and unpublished papers, you will learn how to:
- prepare and structure a manuscript
- increase readability and reduce the number of mistakes you make in English by writing concisely, with no redundancy and no ambiguity
- plan and organize your paper, and structure each paragraph and each sentence so that the reader can easily follow the logical build-up towards various conclusions
- write a title and an abstract that will attract attention and be read
- decide what to include in the various parts of the paper (Introduction, Methodology, Discussion etc)
- select from over 700 useful phrases
- highlight your claims and contribution
- avoid plagiarism and make it 100% clear whether you are referring to your own work or someone else’s
- choose the correct tenses and style (active or passive)
Other books in the series:
English for Presentations at International Conferences
English for Academic Correspondence and Socializing
English for Research: Usage, Style, and Grammar
English for Academic Research: Grammar / Vocabulary / Writing Exercises
Adrian Wallwork is the author of more than 20 ELT and EAP textbooks. He has trained several thousand PhD students and academics from 35 countries to prepare and give presentations. Since 1984 he has been revising research papers, and in 2009 he set up englishforacademics.com – a proofreading and editing service specifically for researchers.
The following two sample research papers are typical of the papers that might be submitted in different kinds of courses.
Reading these papers will help you learn about organizing an argument and working with sources. The papers also demonstrate the use of MLA style to document sources and the formatting of the margins, line spacing, and other physical attributes of a printed paper. The MLA’s guidelines on formatting papers appear elsewhere on this site.
The sample papers were written by MLA staff members who are experienced college teachers. You may find that the writing and documentation seem polished. Because the sample papers serve as models, we aimed to make them free of errors in grammar and documentation. Nevertheless, we hope that the papers usefully represent good student work.
This paper, on Jacob Lawrence’s Migration series, shows you how to incorporate figures into your text, style a block quotation, and cite a variety of sources. Read about block quotations in the MLA Handbook (1.3.2–3, 1.3.7).
This paper, on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and the courtship novel, features examples of how to use notes in MLA style, cite a dictionary definition, and more.