How to Publish Research: The Bullet Outline of a Journal Article

Start with a bulleted outline and fill in the paragraphs one at a time. You can do it!

  • Title and Abstract
  • Introduction – Why did you start?
    1. Problem Description
      1. Nature and significance of the local problem
    2. Available Knowledge
      1. Summary of what is currently known about the problem, including relevant previous studies
    3. Rationale
      1. Informal or formal frameworks, models, concepts, and/or theories used to explain the problem, any reasons or assumptions that were used to develop the intervention(s), and reasons why the intervention(s) was expected to work
    4. Specific Aims
      1. Purpose of the project and of this report
  • Methods – What did you do?
    1. Context
      1. Contextual elements considered important at the outset of introducing the intervention(s)
    2. Intervention(s)
      1. Description of the intervention(s) in sufficient detail that others could reproduce it
      2. Specifics of the team involved in the work
    3. Study of the Intervention(s)
      1. Approach chosen for assessing the impact of the intervention(s)
      2. Approach used to establish whether the observed outcomes were due to the intervention(s)
    4. Measures
      1. Measures chosen for studying processes and outcomes of the intervention(s), including rationale for choosing them, their operational definitions, and their validity and reliability
      2. Description of the approach to the ongoing assessment of contextual elements that contributed to the success, failure, efficiency, and cost
      3. Methods employed for assessing completeness and accuracy of data
    5.  Analysis
      1. Qualitative and quantitative methods used to draw inferences from the data
      2. Methods for understanding variation within the data, including the effects of time as a variable
    6. Ethical Considerations
      1. Ethical aspects of implementing and studying the intervention(s) and how they were addressed, including, but not limited to, formal ethics review and potential conflict(s) of interest
  • Results – What did you find?
    1. Results
      1. Initial steps of the intervention(s) and their evolution over time (e.g., time-line diagram, flow chart, or table), including modifications made to the intervention during the project
      2. Details of the process measures and outcome
      3. Contextual elements that interacted with the intervention(s)
      4. Observed associations between outcomes, interventions, and relevant contextual elements
      5. Unintended consequences such as unexpected benefits, problems, failures, or costs associated with the intervention(s).
      6. Details about missing data
  • Discussion – What does it mean?
    1. Summary
      1. Key findings, including relevance to the rationale and specific aims
      2. Particular strengths of the project
      3. Interpretation
      4. Nature of the association between the intervention(s) and the outcomes
      5. Comparison of results with findings from other publications
      6. Impact of the project on people and systems
      7. Reasons for any differences between observed and anticipated outcomes, including the influence of context
      8. Costs and strategic trade-offs, including opportunity costs
    2.  Limitations
      1. Limits to the generalizability of the work
      2. Factors that might have limited internal validity such as confounding, bias, or imprecision in the design, methods, measurement, or analysis
      3. Efforts made to minimize and adjust for limitations
    3.  Conclusions
      1. Usefulness of the work
      2. Sustainability
      3. Potential for spread to other contexts
      4. Implications for practice and for further study in the field
      5. Suggested next steps

Have you seen Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers?

Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers can be found at

Have you encountered a questionable, scholarly open-access publisher? We recommend all scholars read the available reviews, assessments and descriptions provided here, and decide for yourself whether you want to submit articles, serve as editors or on editorial boards.  In a few cases, non-open access publishers whose practices match those of predatory publishers have been added to the list as well. The criteria for determining predatory publishers are here.
It is ultimately up to you to submit to journals as you wish, however this may help at least spark some additional research into the journal to know if they are questionable or not.
Happy hunting!