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  • Cited by 6
  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: February 2012

1 - Writing an Empirical Article


You have conducted a study and analyzed the data. Now it is time to write. To publish. To tell the world what you have learned. The purpose of this book is to enhance the chances that some journal editor will let you do so.

If you are new to this enterprise, you might find it helpful to consult two additional sources of information. For detailed information on the proper format of a journal article, see the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 1994) and recent articles in the particular journal to which you plan to submit your manuscript. The Publication Manual also devotes 15 pages each to two topics that are not discussed in this chapter: the rules of English grammar and the appropriate terms to use when referring to gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. For renewing your acquaintance with the stylistic elements of English prose, you can read Chapter 2 of the Publication Manual or any one of several style manuals. I recommend The Elements of Style by Strunk and White (1999). It is brief, witty, and inexpensive.

As noted in the Preface, this book focuses on the report of an empirical study, but the general writing suggestions included in this chapter apply as well to the theoretical articles, literature reviews, and methodological contributions that also appear in the professional journals.


Which Article Should You Write?

There are two possible articles you can write: (a) the article you planned to write when you designed your study or (b) the article that makes the most sense now that you have seen the results.