Anticipating Your New Audience as You Transform Your Thesis into Articles
When you transform a long and detailed study such as a thesis or dissertation into one or more scholarly articles, the word limits set by most scholarly journals will mean that your language will need to be more succinct and less verbose than it might have been in the leisurely descriptions and analyses common in theses and dissertations. Extraneous words should be deleted, repetition should be avoided and all reports of procedures and other details should be as brief and straightforward as possible. However, space constraints are not the only reasons for adjusting your language and written style. You will also be writing for a new audience, and its needs must be anticipated and met if you are to succeed in publishing your work and communicating effectively with a journal’s readers.
It is therefore essential to identify and understand your new audience and how it differs from the members of your supervisory and examining committee. While writing a thesis or dissertation, for instance, you can assume a small audience of experts who will almost certainly understand the specialised terminology and jargon associated with your field and your subject area. If you are planning to submit your paper to a journal that specialises in this same area, you can certainly expect some readers who will be equally familiar with this terminology, but most journals aim for a much wider audience. It is therefore wise to avoid any obscure or specialised terminology that is not strictly necessary to your discussion and clearly define or briefly explain any that is. Your mentors may already have insisted on detailed explanations of discipline-specific language and jargon, which will prove helpful, but you will probably have to pare the explanations down to concise definitions using common words. Remember that the right language strikes the right tone as well as making your work accessible to a journal’s readers, so if you have not already done so, be sure to familiarise yourself with articles already published by the journal to which you plan to submit your work and then use the ones you consider most interesting and engaging as models when choosing your own words and phrasing.
Language that is clear and correct in every way is also vital in a successful academic or scientific article. Your mentors and even your examiners may tolerate an awkward sentence here and there or an odd slip in grammar or spelling, and any ambiguities can usually be resolved through discussion and revision. You are still a student, after all, and your thesis or dissertation is a work in progress. When submitting a paper for publication, however, you are sharing a finished piece of scholarship, so your writing and all other aspects of your article should be polished to perfection with the understanding that acquisitions proofreaders will rarely be as forgiving as your committee members. All errors in typing, spelling, punctuation and grammar must be completely eliminated, and every sentence must communicate with absolute clarity exactly what you intend to say. Careful proofreading is therefore necessary, and having another qualified reader take a close look at your paper is an excellent idea. A fellow student working in your field, a trusted mentor who has successfully published his or her own work and a professional proofreader who specialises in your field are all good choices, and you may wish to recruit more than one reader in order to benefit from different perspectives as you refine your writing.
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Our scientific proofreading services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer manuscript proofreading services and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit manuscripts in all scholarly disciplines, as well as beyond them. We have team members who specialise in medical proofreading services, and some of our experts dedicate their time exclusively to PhD proofreading and master’s proofreading, offering research students the opportunity to improve their use of formatting and language through the most exacting PhD thesis editing and dissertation proofreading practices. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation, polishing a progress report to share with colleagues, or facing the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of scholarly document for publication, a qualified member of our professional team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work.
If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication, which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.