Academic journal article Bulletin of the Association for Business Communication

Four Parts to a Publishable Piece

Academic journal article Bulletin of the Association for Business Communication

Four Parts to a Publishable Piece

Article excerpt

Research articles are built around four sections: the literature review, research methods, data analysis, and interpretation. The labels and organization are typical of quantitative work, but even qualitative research such as case studies and historical and theoretical essays will have these components, though they may label and organize them differently.


The Literature Review must be relevant, comprehensive yet focused, and develop an argument that describes the need for the current research and analysis. Relevant means that the review should summarize the findings of past theoretical and research studies that support this line of work and should respond to actual or possible critiques of that work. Comprehensive yet focused means that it should review a wide sampling of relevant perspectives, that it should provide a thorough, in depth summary and analysis of the implications of studies undertaken from those perspectives, and that it should develop logic leading up to doing the present study.

A strong literature review presents an argument, explaining why your study is important. The literature review shows the research tradition on which your study builds and shows what your study adds to the tradition. In so doing, the literature review provides a rationale for the your study's research questions, hypotheses, and methods. The literature review discusses the relationship between two or more phenomena, identifies the theoretical and practical importance of the relationship, and prepares the reader for your findings and interpretations.

Literature reviews for articles in The Journal of Business Communication must show an awareness of the ongoing discussion of relevant issues within the business communication research community by citing appropriate articles that have been published in The Journal of Business Communication and The Bulletin. The research process is one that is conducted as a member of a research community rather than in isolation.


The Research Methods section must be reasonable, systematic, straightforward in its design, and fully explained in its presentation. It must provide a reasonable description and operationalization of the phenomena under study, their proposed measurement or assessment, and any procedures, methods, tests or instruments that are employed. …

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