For years, you worked toward your Ph.D. as though it would open every door you were interested in checking out, and rightly so. The doctorate degree labels you an expert in your field, and you put in the time and effort to get that prestigious designation.
Still, many people get their Ph.D. and have difficulty finding a job or at least finding one they are happy with. This is particularly true if you don’t want to go the academic route, which is the path often pushed on students as they take courses toward their ultimate degree. The fact is that there are other jobs out there in non-academic fields, but they’re not as well known or suggested.
Your STEM Ph.D. may qualify you for a job in the academic realm. Yet, that’s not all you can do. The problem is that when you seek out careers in other industries, you become overqualified. Employers don’t want to pay the salary that you deserve (even if you’re willing to take a lot less) because they expect you won’t be with them long. As you’re searching for a job outside of academia, you’ll hear a lot of these rejections.
However, with so many STEM Ph.D. graduate students getting their degrees every year, there aren’t enough jobs in the academic field to keep up with the demand. This makes it difficult to find your ideal role. Whether you’re trying to leave the academic field or you’re forced into it by necessity, here are five other careers you may want to consider.
Changing it Up: Other Careers Where You Can Use Your Ph.D.
Yes, it’s possible for you to work in the private sector and make good use of your Ph.D. In fact, many companies are looking for candidates like you, who are few and far between because they usually head to academia.
A STEM Ph.D. opens you up to numerous routes after your graduation. Industries need contractors, consultants, and experts like you to fill their positions and help lead divisions of their companies. Here are five potential careers that might interest you and will typically pay as well or better than your academic salary.
- Data Scientists – Data scientists with a Ph.D. can find positions in large industries around the world. Companies need individuals with strong analytical skills to help them make decisions about their future. You’d analyze research data, as you would in your own experiments, then apply that information to the business, evaluating the performance, sales, and marketing, and suggesting ideas for future growth.
- Consultants – As a consultant, you can work in various industries (and get paid well, too). This lucrative career field puts you in the driver’s seat. Clients come to you for expert advice, you provide it, and move on. Consultants can work as little or as often as they’d like as freelancers. The key is to ensure you have the experience to go along with your degree that proves you’re an expert.
- Writers – Do you enjoy writing research papers and editing them? Finding a job in this field, regardless of your Ph.D. type, is pretty straightforward. You can freelance in writing and editing, start your own blog, write a book and get it published or self-publish it, work as an editor in a prestigious journal, and more.
- Business Development – You don’t need to have a background in business development to get hired in this role. Your Ph.D. proves you can develop strategies, use data to drive decisions, analyze information, and come up with multiple hypotheses to find outcomes. These skills make you a natural in business development, where you can be an intricate part of the process of product development. From launch and deployment to managing the business, it’s all waiting for you and your degree.
- Science Communication – This job gives you the best of the private and academic worlds. Think of science communicators as the “influencers” of the science world in the 21st century. Someone has to get knowledge imparted to younger generations and the current society. To do that, you can work in science communication as a vlogger, blogger, public speaker, book writer, or even a YouTuber. If you’re good at what you do, you might even end up a celebrity communicator.
Interested in finding a new job, but not sure where to start? The perfect place to begin your search is with your Impactio network. Impactio connects scientific minds across the world. Use your network to send out feelers for the ideal career for you, and you might be amazed at how quickly you find job offers from those wanting to benefit from your STEM Ph.D.
Research misconduct is a serious allegation that could ruin a scholar’s promising career. Almost every researcher wants to see their names in the history books, but not with a negative connotation regarding the validity of their research and integrity.
When we think of misconduct, we visualize a villain-esque mad scientist experimenting on unwilling subjects. In reality, research misconduct is much banaler and often unintentional.
How can academic researchers avoid having their reputations and research findings sullied by misconduct?
Why Researchers Are Held to Higher Standards
Professional misconduct is an epidemic in many industries across the country. However, those accused often bounce back from the allegations with a cushy new job as if nothing ever happened. But not everyone is so lucky. Those in academic research rarely see their reputation recover after a scandal involving research misconduct.
Why are those in academia held to a higher standard than other professionals? For one thing, their research is widely cited and relied upon as valid by their peers. These peers put their trust in the honor and integrity of published journal articles.
Researchers are inherently held to a higher standard partly because of the professional code of conduct expected from them. Without ethics and transparency, research findings become unreliable and invalid.
What Defines Research Misconduct and What the Consequences Can Be
Research misconduct is defined as the fabrication of some aspect of the research process, be it the collection of data or the end result findings. Fabrication can mean anything from falsifying results to plagiarism. Many researchers may not realize that they can plagiarize their own work by not citing their previously published work or using old statistics in a new project.
Accidental misconduct is still misconduct. What happens after allegations are made?
The consequences of research misconduct can include several types of disciplines up to and including termination. Furthermore, if the allegations are proven true, the researcher can lose access to funding and be put under a supervised research stipulation.
An allegation of research misconduct will follow the accused through their career. The academic community is vast but surprisingly small. Word will travel throughout different departments.
Even whistleblowers who witness and report the misconduct are often ostracized by their peers, face lawsuits, and are potentially fired from their position.
How to Avoid Misconduct
If most misconduct happens by accident, how does one in the academic field prevent it from happening? The most obvious prevention is: don’t do it. Don’t purposely falsify your research to get ahead or steal someone else’s ideas. It’s not worth the risk.
Accidental research misconduct can happen when frustration and impatience set in. It can be tempting to reuse old data from prior research. However, many journals and institutions have strict policies against plagiarism, even if you’re using your own work product.
One of the most common examples of self-plagiarism involves submitting a paper that was already published to a new journal. Journals expect unique, relevant research papers, not a rehash of a prior idea.
In the case of frustration that a research project is taking too long, take a break! Step away from the research for a day or a week to clear your mind. When you return to it, you will be looking at it with fresh eyes.
If you use your previous data in the new research, add a citation to eliminate the risk of an accusation of self-plagiarism.
Another way to avoid research misconduct is to double-check your sources. Do you know where the information is coming from and is it a valid source?
An allegation of research misconduct isn’t worth risking a meaningful career in academics.
Improve Your Scholarly Reputation With Impactio
For academic scholars and researchers, reputation is everything. A good reputation can help get your work published in journals. Even an accusation of misconduct can haunt an academic throughout their career.
Impactio is the nation’s premier platform for scholars and researchers. The platform offers networking opportunities, as well as data analytics. Create your account today to stay up-to-date on the status of your scholarly reputation and to expand your network.
In a research paper, the conclusion should never be rushed, and the importance can’t be downplayed. It’s a key part of the whole research explanation, helping the reader understand the why of the paper rather than the how. You’ve already laid out in detail how the experiment was performed and what the results were. In the conclusion, you’re reminding the reader why all of that should matter to them and/or society.
Until you began writing research articles, you were probably taught that a conclusion simply restated the introduction and summarized the main ideas. However, if you write yours this way, you miss out on a prime opportunity to synthesize the key points, suggest future research opportunities, and convince the reader how important your paper is. You get to present the last word on what you’ve discussed in your paper and summarize your thoughts and how significant the research results are. It’s also your chance to connect gaps in existing literature with your answers to those holes.
Your conclusion is where you tell the reader how important your ideas are and how new ways of thinking should be approached because of your research. So how do you write this massive and vital last part of your paper and keep it to two or three paragraphs? These tips will guide you as you attempt this endeavor.
Five Tips to Help You Write Your Ending
You already know the formulaic way to write a conclusion: restate your research topic, restate the thesis, summarize, connect, and conclude. While those steps aren’t wrong, they also aren’t exciting enough to grab the reader’s attention and leave them impressed with your paper in a way that will make them want to share it with others.
If you really want to leave your reader hanging with the idea that they just read something impactful to the field of science or their lives, use these five tips:
- Appeal to the reader on a personal level. How can what you just wrote be applied to humanity in general?
- Involve an action step. To make an impression on the reader, challenge them to do something related to your research or pose a question that makes them think long after they’ve read the last word on your paper.
- Discuss how your paper solves a need in society or in the field of science. This is often implied or inferred, but you can go into detail in your conclusion. Explain where the gaps were previously, and how your research filled those gaps and saved the day (somewhere).
- Go ahead and handle the “so what” question. You know it’s coming. Some of your readers are going to want to know what made your work so much more important that the rest of the articles on the topic out there. By nipping this in the bud and explaining that “so what” question, you can build a larger audience. You’re, in essence, telling them why your work is important and why they should care. You can even go as far as to explain why they should feel bad if they don’t care.
- Suggest where to go from there. You may be done with your research on the topic and ready to move on to greener pastures, but there are plenty of other scientists who might use your work as a springboard in their own field. Offer suggestions about other projects you could see stemming from your work, questions that are broached since your research conclusions, and ideas for how they could be answered.
Did Your Work Make an Influence? Use Impactio to Find Out
You’ve written an engaging conclusion that tied your arguments together and made your audience think about what they read. But did it do its job?
If so, then your work’s metrics should be on the rise. You can follow them on Impactio, America’s number one platform for scientific networking and data analytics. Check out how many people are citing your research article, talking about it on social media, or blogging about your ideas. You could be making a larger influence than you realize, and you’ll know it when you sign up for Impactio!
You’ve heard the term SEO used in various areas, but you may not be wholly familiar with what it includes. Before you write your next research paper, it’s a strategic move to get confident with the practice and how it can help increase the reach of your content.
SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization.” It’s used by website builders to increase the visibility of their site when someone enters relevant keywords in a search engine query. Consider the search engine to be a sort of librarian computer. This librarian computer has access to every digital word on the internet, and when a user comes in to look for information on a particular subject, the librarian points them in a particular direction.
The more a site matches keyword descriptions, the more likely it is that the “librarian” will recommend the site to a searcher. In terms of your research paper, the more keywords you can connect between your paper and the search engine, the more attention your paper will receive when someone queries those terms.
How Your Paper’s Visibility Impacts You As a Scholar
The fact is that you don’t have to understand the logistics and complex formulas that drive search engine algorithms. You just have to know how to use them to increase the influence and impact of your research. Your scholarly reputation depends on it.
As a scientist, much of your career is spent developing your reputation. This becomes your standing within the research community, and it can determine how well you qualify for funding, particular jobs, tenure, and more. Your scholarly reputation relies strongly on the quantity and quality of your published work. The more visible and high-quality your work is, the better your reputation becomes.
At a certain point, your previously published work drives your reputation for the rest of your career. Provided you don’t do anything to tarnish that hard-earned reputation, you don’t have to work as hard in the “publish or perish” culture to keep a solid name for yourself as an expert in your field.
Using SEO to Make Your Job Easier
We understand that your job is already significantly busy. You’re juggling so many hats that even one more can be too much. But if you get to know SEO, it becomes something you do in line with writing your paper. It doesn’t have to be anything extra, yet, doing it makes your marketing job easier when it comes to increasing the reach of your paper.
As a researcher in a competitive field, you want your paper to stand out from the crowd. Aside from your publisher, no one knows you’ve written your document until you tell them. Word-of-mouth doesn’t work quite as well in a field like research, where your niche connects to your inner circle, but might not connect with anyone else nearby. You need to expand the knowledge of your paper to the whole world.
SEO does this for you, as long as you use these simple tips:
● Take advantage of keyword research tools. They’re already there, designed to tell you which terms you should highlight to improve and drive organic traffic to your paper. Use a word or two in your title, subtitle, and abstract, and mention these as the keywords at the beginning of your paper.
● Use those keywords to build your content. Add them into the discussions you have about your paper, whether it’s through email, blogs, or social media feeds. Include them in visual content.
● Pay attention to what the competitor articles are using as keywords. Are there any that match your paper, as well? If you can naturally include them without doing too much, you may be able to get your paper seen before the competition.
● Think about how your audience will search for your information. If your audience includes your peers, then you can simply use keywords and phrases as you normally would. However, if your audience is a general person, you may have to adjust your SEO to meet the words and terms they’ll be searching for, which likely won’t be on a graduate school level.
Follow Your Work’s Influence on Impactio
You’re building your reputation, and you want to follow your work to ensure it’s taking you in the right direction in your career. To do that, you must stay on top of the metrics on your published work. Impactio makes this easy to do with our data analysis reports. Follow your quantitative and qualitative metrics, and see how your work is influencing your audience and your scholarly reputation.
Academic writing often includes complex language, including two holdovers of Latin that still permeate the English language. The abbreviations “e.g.” and “i.e..” The problem is that many writers frequently misuse the two. When it comes to scholarly research, the simplest of textual errors can negate the validity of the study as a whole.
Knowing the difference between the two Latin phrases and using them correctly can make or break your research paper. Using the correct phrase isn’t so difficult once you know the meaning of each abbreviation.
The Origin of Latin in English Languages
Not too long ago, learning to speak and write in Latin was taught in classes throughout the United States. Some primary schools and higher education institutions continue the tradition. However, the majority of people in the U.S. do not speak or understand Latin.
Despite this, using “e.g.” and “i.e.” is common in all types of writing. But academic scholars are particularly fond of using Latin phrases. The translation is an important part of knowing when to use which abbreviation.
What E.G. Means
Literally defined, “e.g:” means exempli gratia in Latin. In English, that translates to “for example.” It’s used when providing one or more examples of something mentioned in the text. The abbreviation implies that there are more examples that aren’t listed in the writing.
What I.E. Means
In the Latin language, “i.e.” means id est. It translates to “that is” in English. Its usage is to specify something already mentioned in the sentence. “I.e.” is often used in the place of “namely” or “specifically.”
Can They Be Used Interchangeably?
Many writers use “i.e.” and “e.g.” interchangeably but that is not correct. The confusion comes from misunderstanding when to use which abbreviation. There is a mnemonic cheat to help remember the proper usage.
Using the first letter of each abbreviation, the trick is to remember “i.e.” = “in other words.” and “e.g.” = “example.”
When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Use E.G.
Both “i.e.” and “e.g.” are useful in academic writing when used correctly. The popularity of the abbreviations likely relates to how fancy they look when placed in a text. The phrases elevate a research paper to the next level, but only if used in the intended manner.
Examples of E.G. vs. I.E.
Here are a few examples of the difference between e.g. and i.e.:
There were several dog breeds (e.g., Pit Bulls, Boxers, and German Shepherds,) for adoption at the shelter.
My favorite breed of dog (i.e., a Weimaraner) isn’t often found in shelters, only rescue organizations.
Jessica has too many hobbies (e.g., dancing, hiking, and reading,) that she barely has time to study.
My daughter wanted to try a new restaurant, (i.e., Pastabilities,) but it’s too expensive.
Keep a close eye on the punctuation before, during, and directly after the usage of the abbreviations. In particular, note the comma placement after the second period, like so:
Some style guides suggest using italics for the Latin terms. The letters should always be lowercase unless they start a sentence or are used in a title.
What You Can Use in Place of E.G.
If you’re still not sure how to use i.e. or e.g. correctly, you can skip their usage entirely by using a synonym. Since e.g. means “for example,” writers can easily use that in place of the Latin abbreviation. What other synonyms can replace e.g.?
● For instance
● As an illustration of
● As an example
● As a sample
Published Your Paper? Use Impactio to Follow Your Work’s Influence
You’ve successfully navigated the treacherous territory of using e.g. and i.e. Your work has been published in scholarly journals for your peers to read. Now what? Impactio is the nation’s premier platform for networking and data analytics among the higher learning community. Published authors can track their paper’s influence and impact using Impactio.
In the academic world, young students are taught about the importance of sharing and working together to accomplish a goal. However, as we get older, we also start to begin seeing the distinction between sharing for the good of everyone and the problem of one person using that knowledge to further themselves. This becomes clearly evident in competitive fields like research, where the credit for valuable data can enhance one’s scholarly reputation so much that one is sometimes willing to be, well, less than totally honest about the steps one took to get there, such as using data that wasn’t theirs to begin with.
Yet, there are plenty of advantages to sharing data when you’re a researcher, and you can even earn coveted open science badges from some journals. So how do you know when to share your data, and when to avoid confidential dilemmas and scooped data sets? These are valid concerns with answers that, like the debate itself, aren’t always black and white.
Concerns About Data Sharing
There’s a solid debate that has been raging for years as open science becomes more popular. Should a researcher make their data public, or are there legitimate reasons to keep one’s data set private, particularly when they want to use it for personal studies?
This is where science remains, somewhere stuck in the shades of gray of partially open-source, partially closed databases. Your institution likely has policies and guidelines for you to follow, but those will change if you move careers, try to publish in a new journal, or talk to someone from another institution or country. Although the US National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the European Commission are on board with science becoming open, there aren’t any clearcut ways to make it happen.
Right now, many publishers and institutions follow the FAIR standards. These are the set of data-management procedures that the US NASEM and European Commission have endorsed, and they’re based on the principles of making research findable, accessible, interoperble, and reusable. If you’re using a government funding source in the US, Europe, or Australia, you’ll be required to showcase how you’re managing your data and the protocols for sharing it, and many private funders and journals are following suit.
You can host your data sets in an open-access repository, where it can be shared amongst other researchers. The advantages of this in terms of how data sharing could benefit the greater world of science should outweigh the disadvantages of one scholar’s reputation, but does it have to be either/or?
When to Share Your Data
Many researchers believe in the idea of greater openness in theory, but they don’t want to be scooped out of their hard work, and that’s understandable. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a middle ground?
You spend so much of your important time curating the data necessary to complete your research. You know how beneficial it is to use other scholarly data sets available on open source databases, and you don’t mind sharing your work with others. However, when is it too soon to add your information to open-science, and how do you do it?
If you don’t have a lot of expertise in the field of data sharing, curation, and metadata collection and dispersion, not sharing can be more of a matter of uncertainty and confusion rather than a choice not to do so. They key is to ensure your data is useful to others by making it easy to site. This is done with a digital object identifier (DOI) that makes your data discoverable amongst the endless other files in a database.
How and when to do this depends on your field. Neuroscience and biomedicine fields, for instance, have limited data, which makes everything you can provide potentially beneficial. These researchers spend a lot of time generating their data set because it is all unique. This is an expensive undertaking, and those same researchers likely want to hold onto their data until it has paid for itself before they share it with others. They do want to share it, they just want to ensure their investment is covered, first, and that’s also understandable.
If you’re in a field where scooping is common because credit for an important discovery can mean anything from an impressive scholarly reputation to big bucks, you want to hold your data even closer to your chest. When that’s the case, you should consider keeping access to your data set limited until you’ve published your findings, unless they have the potential to benefit others on such a wide scale that, ethically and morally, your reputation should take a backseat.
Regardless of when you share your data, you should always follow your work’s influence on your target field. This is easily done with Impactio’s data analysis tools. Choose the factors you want to monitor, and watch their growth using Impactio’s complex and impressive report features. Your new knowledge can be a springboard to your next level of academic success.
As a society in general, we begin to cover up our mistakes and flaws early in life. We see these as shortcomings that make us less than perfect, disappoint others, and/or get us in trouble. It’s understandable to merge this thought process into your research and attempt to hide those limitations, but doing so could be dangerous to your outcome and your scholarly reputation.
Limitations in research studies happen all the time. The flaws and shortcomings are a natural part of not having unlimited funds, access to data, or a perfect methodology to follow. It’s nearly impossible to have a study that is completely without flaws and considers every potential factor, variable, and aspect.
Because of this common knowledge, it’s expected that your study has limitations, but it’s also expected that you’re honest and transparent about them and exhibit them in your writing. Doing so correctly doesn’t make you look bad; in fact, it shows that you have a solid understanding of the research you’re doing and where your limitations were throughout the project.
Why You Must Discuss Your Study’s Limitations
The entire point of a limitation is to discuss the potential weaknesses in your study. Why would you want to point them out? Well, the reality is that if you don’t discover them and discuss them yourself, someone else is likely to find them and share them for you. This can make your study look weak, as though you missed out on key flaws that may have impacted the overall result.
By addressing the limitations early, it shows that you knew about them and accounted for them as you went about the steps of performing your research. This strengthens your argument and allows you to identify problems before your peers or reviewers notice them. Pointing out those flaws and weaknesses shows that you have examined all the facets of your research and understand where your variables had limits. The more reasonable “weaknesses” you find and discuss, the better it shows you know your topic.
How to Include These “Flaws” in Your Paper
There is a fine line between including limitations and discussing everything that could have potentially gone wrong in your research. Your limitations should point out those areas where your study lacked the ability to cover a vast data set but shouldn’t discuss them in depth.
Your limitations are generally placed in the Discussion section, and slid into your research article before the conclusion. Remember, the intent of including your limitations is to proactively discuss questions a peer or reviewer might have about why you didn’t cover a particular concept or area. For example, your study pool may have been small because you couldn’t access the funding to cover a wider number of participants, or you may have been missing a particular minority group because no one from that group volunteered for the study.
This section should be short and succinct. It will show the reader that you considered all the angles of your research and recognized the areas where you were unable to dig deeply enough to answer them. It explains why you chose this method of data collection over another or used the methodology that you chose over one that could have worked, as well. In essence, this is the part of the study where you go through and try to criticize every choice you made before someone else gets the opportunity to do so.
You can point out the mistakes you made, the choices that had other options, and where your limitations were in your article. After you do so, the peer reviewer or other readers feel confident that you know what you were doing, recognized the limitations, and reasonably worked around them.
Use Impactio to Enhance Your Work’s Credibility
Limitations are part of every scholar’s work. You can’t sit down and discuss the reasons behind theories proposed by long-dead scientists or generate complex mathematical formulas using irrational or infinite numbers and then see how they correlate to real-life problems. Some things simply can’t be accomplished within the scope of human limitations.
Mistakes are an inevitable part of life. In fact, they are an integral part of life. Without mistakes, we’d never learn anything. Those in an academic setting tend to hold themselves to a higher standard and well, that’s a mistake.
The learning process relies on mistakes being made before progress and knowledge can take hold. For researchers, the trial and error of their career journey inform their overall academic career. Young researchers tend to take mistakes to heart without realizing just how necessary it is to mess up sometimes.
There are 5 common mistakes early career researchers make. What are they and how do they shape a career in research?
Why It’s Common to Make Mistakes Early in Your Academic Career
Have you ever been in a hurry to get somewhere but wind up making a series of silly mistakes – dropping your keys, forgetting you need to fill your gas tank, etc. – that only makes you later? Your eagerness to get there actually prevents you from arriving on time.
For those just starting their research career, eagerness and inexperience are a recipe for mistakes. As they say, with age comes wisdom. It’s important for ECRs to remember that the mentors they seek to emulate were once early in their careers, too. Mistakes happened to them, too. If the next generation is lucky, their mentors will share the mistakes they once made to prevent the younger researcher from making the same errors.
Of course, that only works if the mentee is open to the idea that they don’t know everything, at least not yet. Many young researchers make the mistake of thinking they have nothing to learn, thus making more mistakes along the way due to arrogance.
Things You Can’t Rush or Change: Experience, Knowledge Acquisition, and Luck
The research field is no place for impatience. Results won’t come easily or swiftly. There may be many times a researcher wants to throw in the towel and end the project. But persistence will be rewarded with publication and accolades if you stay the course.
5 Common Mistakes ECRs Make and How to Avoid Them
Researchers early in their careers make the mistake of thinking they already have the knowledge and experience. However, both of those only come with time. In the meantime, here are five avoidable mistakes that you don’t have to become victim of:
- Neglecting writing skills
Research papers don’t write themselves. After compiling data and statistics, the findings must be presented in a way that both scholars and non-scholars can understand. Additionally, academic writing is more structured and strict than other types of writing. Neglecting your writing skills can delay the publication of your research paper, thus stalling movement in your career.
- Failure to document datasets
At some point in the future, researchers may want to reexamine prior findings. But it will likely be impossible to remember the exact steps or details. Thoroughly label your data and analysis as if a stranger will read it. Your future self will thank you for your attention to detail.
- Waiting too long to publish
Academics are acutely familiar with the “publish or perish” trope that engulfs the research field. There’s a fine line researchers must navigate by rushing to publish with incomplete data and waiting too long to publish once the research is complete. If you’re confident in your findings, publish as soon as possible. Speaking of confidence…
- Losing confidence
At some point in your early (and even late) career, you’re going to botch some part of your research. Perhaps losing a sample, miscalculating data, or having an experiment outright fail. But how you react to that failure will influence your future. Do you crumble under the pressure or take your mistakes and learn from them? A blow to your confidence doesn’t have to mean the end of your career.
- Making your career your whole life
There’s life outside the laboratory or office, but it will pass you by if you don’t take caution. Young researchers may believe spending most of their time in the lab/office will boost their careers. But instead, it’s more likely to lead to early burnout.
Build a Network to Enhance Your Research Knowledge
Everyone in the research field can benefit from having many networking connections. This is especially true for early career researchers. Impactio is America’s premier platform for scholars and researchers to build their networks.
- Neglecting writing skills
You’ve hit the path in your career journey where you’re expected to leave writing styles like MLA behind and move into the complex formatting of APA papers. This can be a little intimidating because, as structured as MLA was, you had a lot of room for subjectivity and flexibility.
Conversely, APA provides the essential foundation of manuscript writing that lets you turn your ideas into clear communication. It does this by being extremely structured, taking out most of your opportunities for digressing into off-the-point but still relevant topics.
This style began nearly a century ago when a group of prestigious scholars in the American Psychological Association banded together to design a universal style guideline for scientific writing. In this guideline would be the procedures that writers were to follow to make their work easier to read and comprehend by others. While the details have varied since its inception in 1929, the overall tenets of APA continue to hold true. The changing needs of different fields, such as the social and behavioral sciences and natural sciences, cause each writer to tweak the format slightly. Still, in general, you can use the APA style for any scientific manuscript you write.
The Parts of the APA Structure and How to Implement Them in Your Paper
Because APA’s structure is sound, it holds true for every field of science. As a researcher, you’ll want to get exceedingly comfortable with this writing style, as you’ll be expected to read it, write it, and dissect it throughout your career.
The APA style requires specific sections in a set order, which makes it easier to write since you know what to expect, and easier for the reader since they know exactly where the section they’re looking for should be located.
This structure goes as follows:
● Title page
Amidst those sections, you will likely (and should) have tables and figures.
There are some formatting rules to keep in mind while you set your paper up for completion. To get started, remember that the title page, abstract, and reference sections should be on separate pages from the rest of the text. Any images, such as tables or figures, should also be separated.
APA-style papers are always written in 12-point font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins on the top and bottom and left and right. Write your paper in the past tense, regardless of what you’re talking about.
General Tips for Each Section
Every writer has their own preferred way of approaching a scientific paper. Some people prefer to start with the methodology first, then move into the intro and results, skipping the outline. Other writers swear the outline is the most important part of the writing process. No matter how you approach your paper, ensure you have these sections written correctly by using these tips.
● Title Page: Limited to 10-12 words that reflect the main goal of your paper. On this page, include the title, your name, and the school or journal’s name, double-spaced without extra spaces.
● Header: Create a page header with a flush left running head in all capital letters. This is a shortened version of your title, not exceeding 50 characters. Flush right on this line should be the page number.
● Abstract: This is labeled and centered but not bold and is limited to one paragraph of 120 words or less, block format (no indenting), and double-spaced. In your abstract, you’ll state the topic in one sentence, then provide a short overview of the method, results, and discussion.
● Introduction: There is no label for the intro section. Your paper segues from the abstract into a new page that begins your paper. The intro should hook the reader with a summary of the knowledge you’re presenting and a hint of what the study was and why you chose to conduct it. Start out broad and move into a narrow focus through the use of logical ideas that connect into the next idea.
● Method: This section is labeled, centered, and bold. It’s the “easiest” part to write because it simply relays what you did in your study. However, this is also the most important section because it must be written in such a way that other scholars can exactly replicate your study. Methods include the Participants, Materials (Apparatus), and Procedure sections, each labeled flush left and bold.
● Results: Also labeled, centered, and bolded, this section describes the data you collected, how you analyzed it, and what your findings included. You can break this section down into subsections if your data was particularly complex.
● Discussion: Now, you can take the data you analyzed and interpret and explain those results. Place them into a broader context that relates to literature in your field of study. Begin with the specific findings, then work them into the more general ideas.
● Conclusion: In your final paragraph, you’ll restate your introduction and end with a final concluding statement that reminds your reader why your paper was important and how it added more knowledge to the topic you studied.
● References: Last, you’ll include a new page for your references, labeled, centered, and bolded. Add an alphabetical listing of every reference you used, double-spaced, without extra spaces between each reference. Use a hanging indent on the second line of each reference to separate them from the next one.
This simple structure lends itself to short publications or lengthy manuscripts. Get comfortable with it, find your preferred method of approaching the paper, and you’ll be able to tackle any research topic you’re presented with in your career.
Translating books into other languages stretches as far back as written history goes. With the Rosetta Stone, we unlocked the secrets of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. We’ve moved philosophical foundations of thinking from Latin and Greek bases into thousands of other languages, and books like the Bible have been translated into every possible tongue in the world.
Yet, all of these changes had one thing in common until recently: they were all adapted by humans who spoke more than one language. This took time, energy, and resources and, of course, dealt with the fact that human error could come into play in the translations.
Now, computers use machine translations to transfer text between languages almost instantly. Over the past decade, this facet of computer science has become an invaluable tool to millions of people as they visit other countries, communicate with foreign language speakers online, try to learn new languages, and, in the case of research, attempt to change their manuscript to that of the preferred journal publishing format.
While it’s been arguably invaluable, the reality is that sometimes, machine translations don’t consider things like style, dialect, jargon, and other language nuances. The result of an incorrect machine translation can negatively impact your journal article.
How Machine Translation Works For and Against You
Machine translation, by definition, is when content is automatically translated from one language into another. The language starts at a source and moves to a target language without human assistance.
Computers have had the translation function since their initial application in the early 1950s. Since computers required so much processing power to function on a basic level, there was no way to house and store something as complex as translating languages until recently. When basic machine translation became part of everyday software and hardware, developers finally had the chance to do what they knew was possible: teach computers how to do machine translation.
When Google’s team of experts turned their focus to artificial intelligence (AI), and how it could be used to learn more about the neural system, an inadvertent bonus happened. They learned that their smaller designed machine translation engine could compete with larger computers and was continually improving the language quality of translations based on response and input.
The use of neural machine translation became Google’s pet model, and other development companies began copying the output. But, like any computer system, there is still a margin of error. What computers don’t understand is nuance, tone, dialect, and other important language components.
The more complex AI is, the better this becomes, but right now, when you entrust your academic manuscript to a machine translator, you’re taking a chance that they might or might not get your words right.
When to Use Machine Translation
Modern methods of machine translation use neural processes. You can choose multiple platforms, depending on factors like your budget, speed, and content.
The use of machine translation is beneficial when speed and volume are a factor. If you need to translate thousands or millions of words quickly, machine translation does this for you. The program generally doesn’t watch for comprehension and whether what it’s translating makes sense. The right program can do this, but if you’re using a cheap or free software app, you may be losing something in translation.
It’s also helpful to use machine translation when you have to switch from one language to another if both languages are somewhat common. Many platforms offer more than 50 languages and can confidently translate from the source to the target quickly. This swift turnover means lower translation costs for you and a faster turnaround when you’re ready to publish your work.
The key is to be proactive and on top of your translation, though. Never assume that the machine translator has clearly switched your ideas, theories, and other content and that the words you’re using in your primary language translate into the same meaning in your target language.
Before you start your machine translating process, do your research to find out which programs work better for academic language. Then, make your article as easy to translate as possible by avoiding jargon, using short sentences, and following other best practices. Go through your article and look for words that may not have a clear translation, such as necessary academic terms specific to your field. Then, find out the translation as best as possible, and create a custom-engine glossary tailored to your most frequently used text.
Opt for full post-editing when you send your work to a publisher and let them do the hard scouring for you. If any areas don’t make sense to a scientific editor, they may have been changed in translation. It’s better to catch them now than after the paper is released to your audience.
Now that your paper has been translated and published, follow its influence on your target demographic with Impactio. With Impactio’s data analytics tools, you can watch your work as it expands throughout your community and grow your scholarly reputation at the same time.