How to Publish Your First Journal Article and Get it Published

If you are a student in college and were perplexed by journal papers, you are not alone. Most students in physical science colleges or social science colleges are initially daunted by the task of writing a journal paper, let alone getting them published. However, do not worry, we have got you covered.

first journal article

Roughly speaking, there are various ways in which one can write the papers but major sections like literature review, methodology, placing the topics and subtopic all of them need practice and patience. So, the first tip would be to keep patience and work harder. After all, failures are the pillar of success.

Now, that we have introduced the topic and given you some motivation, let us look at the technical side of writing a journal paper and getting it published.

Hypothesis or Research?

The first stage towards getting your article published is to ascertain whether the article is researching on a particular topic or it is defending a hypothesis. Research broadly means, questioning something and trying to find solutions to the problem through the research. An example would be to find out about the lifestyle of a particular tribal group in the Nicobar Islands.

Hypothesis, on the other hand, means first making a statement about a particular topic, for example, Sanskritization proposed by M.N Srinivas. He said that the population belonging to the lower castes tend to emulate the behaviour of Brahmins or the upper caste. In this case, he defended his thesis that indeed Sanskritization took place through empirical evidence, literature review, etc.

Thus, the paper should be set according to the need.

Theory or Evidence?

Before writing the paper and getting it published, the writer should consider whether their explanation is going to be theoretical or example-driven. After the matter between research and hypothesis is cleared, then the writer must decide whether the claims would be backed by theory and how much.

Some papers require more theory (depending on the topic you have chosen), some ask for more evidence and numbers. The trick is to strike a balance between them. This automatically propels your study into further improvement. Minimalism is key in terms of words but maximizes on the concepts.

Make it Interesting

According to most editors, academic writing becomes boring to read and sometimes, takes a large amount of effort to read. This should not mean that one should abstain from explaining abstract concepts but rather one should have a flow, it should resemble a story. ‘The general theory of Employment, Interest rate and Money’ by John M. Keynes is a great example of this.

Keynes in this book explains the role of interest rate and money in the sphere of employment. However, he explains these abstract concepts in a lucid form, almost like a story. India’s own Amartya Sen explains Arrow’s impossibility theorem in a journal article with the help of a background story which helps the reader understand the concept in a better fashion.

Abstain from doing this and the paper marks itself in the murky zone and your ambitions of getting the paper published in a good journal dramatically falls.

Read as much as possible

This might look common knowledge to most but this is the most critical part. The secret to writing a great journal article or paper begins with reading them. It is often noticed that whilst students study papers related to their subject, which is required, they run away from studying other papers in academia.

This particular practice is a harmful one because if the student studies different papers, he or she can find different patterns, different methods of writing. The question of where should one put their data on female feticide for explaining the cause of it in Haryana can be better answered once one studies a plethora of work regarding the same.

Following the Format

A very mundane tip but yet an essential one. Before even starting the work, one should be completely aware of the format of writing they are using. Whether it is APA, MLA or Chicago style or which edition? A major reason why your journal article might not be published is that you did not follow the formatting properly.

Missing that one indentation or using the wrong heading style can make all the difference between your Journal getting selected or not. This might sound a bit silly but covering all the bases have never harmed anyone.


For any paper to be read it is essential that the abstract is precise. A piece of short, specific information about the means and ends of the paper can help to get your journal article published. This is specifically true for journal articles because students keep on searching articles for studying or using it in their study as Literature review.

The abstract precisely states the goals of the study and help the readers to keep themselves in the track of what they are studying. It helps in specifying the methodology and sort of serves as a prelude.

Thus, one should focus greatly on writing an abstract carefully and elegantly. Some researches write the whole article and then write the abstract, others write abstract first and then write the article. Nonetheless, in the official journal article, the abstract should come first.

A Satisfactory Introduction

The introduction in most journals serves as the crux of the topic and as an index for the paper layout. A secret to a great journal article as mentioned previously is laying it down as well. Your journal is only as good as it is helpful and as students who are trying to make a mark in the field of social sciences, it is essential that somebody who uses our journal, knows where to find what topic.

Clarity in Thought

Before writing the whole article one must picture the study properly. The elements of the article should be put into the sequence delicately in order to prove their point. The journal article loses a major part of the narrative if the sequencing is not done properly.

It also helps the first time reader stay relevant to the study at hand. If the study has too many parts which do not compliment each other, it makes the paper seem haphazard and boring. Thus, while penning down the article, the writer should have fixed the order of the study. This point is in agreement with the point about making the article lucid. Often, we are mistaken that academic writing has to be complicated but most scholars eschew from this. For your article to be published in a journal the primary focus should be on lucid writing and a set picture of methods.

Referencing It Well

Using strong and verifiable sources as the base of your study matters enormously. Ever since the introduction of the worldwide web, information is in abundance and some part of it is misinformation or fake information. Hence, one has to be very precise and careful about the source of information.

In social sciences, one can refer to EPW articles, use JSTOR, NSSO data, CSO data or TISS data, DSE data, UNICEF, UN data and other government sources. Authentic and reliable sources are directly proportional to the paper chances of getting selected by a renowned journal.

Choosing and Targeting a Journal

As essential it is to write a professional journal paper, it is equally (if not more) important to target a journal (which has been the main goal of this article). There are vast numbers of academic and practice journals in the world and it can seem overwhelming trying to wade through them. Several broad criteria can help you to narrow your search and get to the journal you want to target.

There are two ways to begin. The first way is to find some articles or citations closely related to your study or that you will be likely to cite and to begin searching the sites of those journals individually, searching online for each by name. The second way is to go to the Thomson Reuters Web of Science master journal list. As of this writing, this is a free database that is quite easy to use. You can search among various fields and subfields for journal titles and other information about the journals in your field of interest.

For most social science students in India, EPW or Economic and Political Weekly can be considered the epitome of getting their research papers published. Along with them, other prominent journals include the International Journal of Social Sciences, Indian Journals, SAGE India.

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