Prof. Aspinall’s Tips on Writing a Good Journal Article

FISIP UINSA held a Journal Article Coaching Clinic with Prof. Edward Aspinall from Bell School, the Australian National University on Thursday, 1ST September 2022. ­Prof Aspinall explained that publishing articles is crucial for lecturers’ career, because it demonstrates our intellectual contribution and academic reputation. Submitting articles on international reputable journals would increase scholarly status, as means to communicate ideas and push forward boundaries of knowledge.

There are several guidelines which authors must follow in writing research articles. Research articles must present new knowledge, with original analysis. It must have a clear central argument, which will benefit other authors conducting research on the similar subject. The argument must engage to a broader topic of literature, to prove that the article is unique to previous researches. Authors need to decide the journal to send their article to the moment they start writing their article. Study the template of journal articles, present an alternative approach or comparation of various approaches.

When publishing an article, pay attention to the journal’s status, whether it’s a specialist or general journal, disciplinary or area studies journal. Offer a research approach which would benefit authors from various regions in the world, such as by having a new interpretation of social or political cases in Indonesia. Explain to the readers why they should care about our article, as some journals are not interested in cases in specific countries.

During the review process, journal reviewers don’t usually have much time to read our articles. Therefore, it’s important for authors to write their argument clearly in the abstract and introduction section. There are four possible review outcomes, i.e., rejected, accepted, major revisions, and revise and resubmit. In some cases, journal editors also face difficulty in finding reviewers willing to review articles on specific subjects. Thus, authors need to be patient when the final editing and production process would take several months up to a couple of years.

Read before you write. Authors need to know what has been written on the topic and be able to connect to relevant literature. Build your argument around a clear research puzzle or research question. Don’t be too descriptive like “I will analyze the following topic”, but focus on your main argument, not wholistic description. The structure of an article starts with an abstract; Introduction (research puzzle, brief contextualization, summary of argument, and summary of structure); topic review and context; Argument and evidence (can be several sections); and Conclusion (not just summary, but points to broad lesson/ significance of your research) (Luthfi).