Before You Hit The Keyboard

Your professor asks you to assist you in writing his/her paper. You are keen to accept the offer, yet nervous about how to go about writing a paper. There are some basics that you must think about, before you begin writing.

Ask yourself,
 “Does it add to existing literature or is it mere repetition?”

How often have you read romantic novels and felt that it's the same storyline? The same applies to scientific literature - nobody likes reading the same story. So make sure that you have something new to say. Producing the same information again, amounts to repetition. It does not add to existing knowledge. 

Your research paper should add to the knowledge pool and bring in something new. Otherwise, it is publishing merely for the sake of it, and not in the true spirit of research. Do a thorough search on existing literature in the field and see if it provides an answer to the question you have raised. If it does not provide an answer, go ahead.

Think about your target audience
Be clear about the group of people you wish to address. On the basis of the group of people you wish to address, prepare a short list of journals you would like to send your paper to. (We have covered 'how to choose a journal' in the next section.) Take a look at the structure prescribed by these journals, for writing a paper.