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An important part of the doctoral studies in the IMPDET-LE programme is to write and publish papers related to the PhD research topic. Jarkko Suhonen  & Erkki Sutinen have collected a checklist of aspects that needs to be taken into consideration when writing the papers. It is strongly encouraged that you will go through the checklist before submitting the paper or even before giving a draft of the paper to your supervisor for reading/commenting. Please note that individual supervisors might have their own preferences and requirements. Also some papers might have a slightly different structure from the example structure presented in this page.


Characteristics of titles:

  • Catchy
  • Short
  • Attentive
  • Provides novel insight
  • Concrete
  • Clear

Structure of the paper


  • Should shortly describe objective, research method (design & approch), results and conclusion.
  • The main outcome/results of the paper should be explained in nutshell
  • Shows the novelty of the article compared to existing literature
  • Do not repeat the introduction part
  • Abstract should not be a table of content


  • Write a clear answer already in the very first paragraph to the following question; what has been done in this research?
  • The introduction should include:
    • A clear statement of the research problem leading to the study
    • Identifying an audience for the work and notifying the significance of the problem to the audience
    • Discussion about the purpose of the research, including positioning the research into previous work, e.g. presenting the background related to research 
    • Statement of the research questions of the study
  • Discuss about the importance of the research. Please consider always adding a "However" -part; what is the new perspective, results or contribution of this particular article
  • Reader should understand the meaning of the title after reading the introduction section


  • Define explicitly the terms used in the article
  • Systematic presentation of literature (previous research on the topic)
    • Purpose: to demonstrate the familiarity with the research field, to establish credibility, to show path to the prior research and how a current project is linked to it, to identify the purpose for the research
    • Functions: to reflectively build upon the work concluded by other researchers, to integrate and summarise what is known in a research area, to learn from others and stimulate new ideas
    • NOTE: The breadth and length of the background section might differ depending on the publication forum.
  • Theoretical framework - entrance point to the study
  • Re-use figures from literature sparingly, only if you need to use the figures as a source material to your own analysis

Research design/context

  • Present the research questions in a clear way
    • Note that the research questions should also be mentioned in the introduction
  • Detailed description of the research context, settings and participants
    • Here also shortly about the shortcomings or restrictions that the research settings bring into the data collection
  • Presentation of the research approaches, data collection procedures and description of how data was analysed


  • Presentation of the results of the study
  • Use figures, graphs and tables in a way that they support the text, but not repeat it


  • Interpretation, reflection and pondering about the results against the existing literature and previous studies
  • Applicability of the results in real life (guidelines, good practices).
  • Be self-critical: Validity, reliability, generalizability etc. are discussed, weaknesses of the study, SO WHAT?


  • Summary of the results; provide a short answer to all of the research questions
  • Future work

General advices

Technical aspects

1) Make sure that references are correctly formulated both in text and the in the reference list. Please remember to check from the publication instructions the reference style used in the publication.

2) Spell check the text

3) Figures and tables have headings. Each figure and heading is referred in the text.

4) Check the word/page limits for the article

List of resources to support the writing process

  1. Publishing content - training webcasts for researchers by Elsevier
  2. How to write a journal paper in seven days - A prezi presentation by Dr. Inger Mewburn
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