How to write an article in six steps

You obviously need to know how to write an article or you would not be reading this piece. The good news is that writing an article can be interesting and truly absorbing if you choose the right subject and follow some simple steps. In this article, you will learn how to:

 

The first and one of the most important steps when writing an article is deciding upon the topic. If the decision makes you feel uncomfortable, you need to change your mindset if you can. The reason for this is that deciding upon which topic to write can actually be enjoyable. If, instead of viewing it as just another chore, you try to see it as a pleasurable choice, then you will find the whole exercise much easier. After all, if you have a choice, that can’t be bad. It’s not like being made to write an essay that has a truly dull question or one that is so complicated that it makes your head burst.

When deciding upon which topic to choose, there are three main factors that you need to take into consideration.

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In your second step, you are going to do your background research and also plan your own original research.

Background research. This is where you will find out what other people have written about your subject. For instance, if you are going to write about obesity, you will need to investigate what other peoples’ views are on it. This means that you could:

  • Read papers, books and journals written by the medical profession.
  • Read papers and journals written by holistic lifestyle experts.
  • Delve into what politicians are doing about the situation.

Plan your own original research. Once you have done your background reading, you will find that your interest in the subject has narrowed to certain aspects of it. For instance, you may have been shocked to discover that obesity often leads to diabetes which can lead to limb amputation if it is not rectified by an overall change in lifestyle. You may be wondering why more is not done about this or you may be consumed by why it is allowed to happen. At this point, you need to plan how you are going to get some answers for yourself. You could:

  • Create a questionnaire that delves into why people eat too much sugar and refined foods.
  • Create and organize how you will operate a focus group at your local community centre or even health centre if you could permission.
  • Research and write interview questions for people that have had limbs removed because of diabetes, that has evolved through obesity, so that you can conduct some case studies for your research.

In step three, you need to do two things.

Hypothesis or research question. You have to develop a hypothesis or research question. The reason for this is twofold. First of all, it helps with categorising your research. In other words, it means that you can see which background research you need to consider when writing your article and which background research to discard. It also will help you to see if the original research questions that you have designed for your own research need to be modified or not. You can go through them asking are they relevant to my main research question. Secondly, your research question will also help your writing because it will keep it streamlined and prevent you from going off on a tangent. For instance, your research question might be “is the diabetes epidemic due to too much junk food in our supermarkets and on our high streets?”

Hook. The hook for your article is going to be the first sentence before you explain your mission. The reason for the hook is to get editors and readers alike buzzing with your intent. You are offering your goods up and teasing them with the possibilities of a fascinating read to come. If the hook that you create at this stage seems a little limp, don’t worry because the hook is something that you will keep returning to as your research and writing make you more fascinated with your subject. You should be working on your hook right up until you are sending your piece in.

In step four, it is essential that you carefully plan your article. If this seems like a waste of time, it is not. In actual fact, it can save time. You can only truly plan your article once you have your research question. The reason for this is that up until that point, you have your topic but it is probably large. You will have done lots of background reading and note taking and specific interests will have arisen within you. However, it is only once you know exactly what you are writing about that you can formulate a tight structured plan. The reason for this is that you can go through your research and discard anything that is not relevant to it. For instance, if you have been reading articles about people having to have back operations because of obesity, you could discard those. At this point, it is worth mentioning that it is very tempting to put all interesting aspects of a study in your article but this will ruin it. it has to be streamlined and to the point otherwise you will not get it published.

Your research. If you can do your own original research for an article it will make it more interesting and give it more academic weight. When you do this there are some important factors to consider. For instance, if you are interviewing people that have got diabetes through obesity, you need to ensure that you are diplomatic. Excess weight is a truly emotional subject so you have to tread carefully. This can make interviews so much more difficult because you also have to ensure that you are not leading your subject. Being overweight can truly make people vulnerable so you also have to be aware that they may give answers that they think you want to hear. Unfortunately, that would make your research invalid. It’s also a good idea if you could film the interviews. Again, with this particular subject, you will have extra difficulty because your subjects may not like being filmed because of their weight.

Interviewing experts in the field. Another good way to give your article academic weight is to interview experts in the field that you are researching. This will help you to truly delve into their opinions. Sometimes, this can take quite a bit of setting up because of busy lifestyles; however, if you are organized it should not be a problem and it is well worth doing if you can

Can you believe it? You are at step six. Unfortunately, this can often be the step that people get stuck at, but you do not need to because again you can break it down into small workable steps.

Anti-procrastination step. Gather all your evidence and notes together. To get yourself in writing mode, write for half an hour on your research journey. How has it made you feel? Have you changed your opinions since you started working on the article? Allow yourself to write without stopping just let everything out. This is wonderful for exercising the writing muscle. Yes, it’s true. The writing muscle is just like any other, use it or lose it.

Introduction. Begin your article with your hook and research question. After that, briefly explain the points that you are going to cover. Don’t go into detail, you need to save that for the main body of your article. Don’t worry if it is not as tight and exciting as you want it to be. It can be changed. The main point is to get a first draft written.

Main body. You’ve done your plan so all the points which you wish to cover should be separate. This is essential for easy writing but also to make sure that your article is publishable. You may wish to have one point that covers your interviews with experts, another point that covers your own original research and a point that covers your background reading. This would be an easy way to get clarity in your mind. However, if you research question dictates that you bring in all of these factors to cover separate points in a different manner, that is fine too. The important element here is that your argument flows and your structure is tight. However, don’t worry if it isn’t all those things on your first draft. Getting it written is what is important here.

Conclusion. Some people find this is the sticking point for them. However, if you have followed all the steps set out, you should be able to reach a conclusion for your article. Remember, it should be concise. People probably find it difficult because they imagine that they have to write a long, flowing conclusion. This is not so. You simply have to bring together what you have decided about your research and how it is significant to its field.

Citing and bibliography. Always make sure that every person whose work you have used is cited. Also, ensure that you properly cite the professional and academics that have been kind enough to be interviewed by you. Incidentally, sometimes you may get someone that does not want to be named because they are saying something that could harm them professionally. In cases, like that, you simply say that it is an anonymous source. Of course, you have to make sure that what they have said is not libellous. Common sense needs to be called for in cases like this.

Checking. It is tempting after spending so long on writing an article to want to quickly send it off. You should never do that without double checking your facts and going over your structure and argument. See whether your hook can be made more enticing and, of course, check for spelling and grammatical errors.

By this point, you should know how to write an article. However, if the thought of it is giving you a headache, you may need help. We offer a whole array of research and writing services. This includes all aspects of dissertation work, essay writing, article writing, letter writing, proof reading and editing services. You should get in touch with us and find out how we can make your life easier.

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