Academic journal article International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology

New Ways of Making Academic Articles Easier to Read1

Academic journal article International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology

New Ways of Making Academic Articles Easier to Read1

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. Numerous texts and articles provide guidelines on how to write academic articles. The aim of this particular paper, however, is to focus on more recent techniques in this respect that authors might like to consider when they are writing and revising text. Using examples mainly drawn from recent issues of the International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology (IJCHP), I discuss new approaches to the presentation of titles, abstracts, reader guidance, introductions, methods, results, tables, figures and conclusions. Furthermore, where appropriate, I make reference to possible differences between the writing styles of Spanish and English authors, since the IJCHP publishes papers in both of these languages. There appear to be a number of different ways in which we can improve these particular aspects of academic writing, but some of these ways might be judged more acceptable in the writings of established authors rather than in those of novices, especially those writing in a second language.

KEYWORDS. Academic writing. Titles. Structured abstracts. Text-tables. Theoretical study.

RESUMEN. Numerosos textos y artículos proporcionan guías sobre cómo escribir artículos académicos. El objetivo de este documento, en particular, consiste en centrarse en las técnicas más recientes al respecto que pueden ser consideradas por los autores a la hora de escribir o revisar textos. Utilizando ejemplos mayoritariamente sacados de los números recientes de International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology (IJCHP), se comentan nuevas aproximaciones a la presentación de títulos, resúmenes, orientaciones de lectura, introducciones, métodos, resultados, tablas, figuras y conclusiones. Es más, dónde resulta apropiado, se hace referencia a las posibles diferencias en los estilos de autores españoles y anglosajones, dado que IJCHP publica artículos en ambos idiomas. Parece que hay varias maneras de mejorar este aspecto particular de escritura académica, aunque algunas de las maneras de hacerlo pueden parecer más aceptables para la escritura de los autores bien establecidos en comparación con los más novatos, sobre todo si escriben en un segundo idioma.

PALABRAS CLAVE. Escritura académica. Títulos. Resumen estructurado. Tablas de texto. Estudio teórico.

Articles in the International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology (the IJCHP) follow a standard sequence. The title is followed by the abstract and a set of key words. Then the articles themselves are typically presented in four parts: Introduction, Method, Results and Discussion (the IMRAD sequence). Finally references are provided in the APA style.

A more fine-grain analysis reveals that the title is followed by the names of the author(s), the abstract and the naywords, and, in footnotes on the first page, there are acknowledgements to other colleagues and/or sources of funding, and a postal and email address for correspondence. The Introduction usually comprises a discussion of previous research and an indication as to how the paper in question will develop it further. The Method typically describes the participants, the measures used, the procedures undertaken and the statistical analyses employed. The Results section, as its name implies, presents text supported by tabular and graphic materials to indicate the findings. The Discussion recapitulates the aims of the study (from the Introduction) and then discusses the new findings in this context, together with possible limitations and strengths of the study. The Discussion usually ends with some conclusions - either separately or at the end of the Discussion section.

The purpose of this article is not to reiterate most of the usual advice and comment on how to write these different sections effectively. Much is known, and most authors have tacit knowledge of what to do acquired from previous practice. For those in doubt, or with particular queries, there are several useful texts (e.g., Belcher, 2009: Day and Gastel, 2006; Hartley, 2008; Silvia, 2007; Sternberg; 2000, Sternberg and Sternberg, 2010). …

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