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How to write an article in six steps

You obviously need to know how to write an article or you would not be reading this piece. The good news is that writing an article can be interesting and truly absorbing if you choose the right subject and follow some simple steps. In this article, you will learn how to:

 

The first and one of the most important steps when writing an article is deciding upon the topic. If the decision makes you feel uncomfortable, you need to change your mindset if you can. The reason for this is that deciding upon which topic to write can actually be enjoyable. If, instead of viewing it as just another chore, you try to see it as a pleasurable choice, then you will find the whole exercise much easier. After all, if you have a choice, that can’t be bad. It’s not like being made to write an essay that has a truly dull question or one that is so complicated that it makes your head burst.

When deciding upon which topic to choose, there are three main factors that you need to take into consideration.

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In your second step, you are going to do your background research and also plan your own original research.

Background research. This is where you will find out what other people have written about your subject. For instance, if you are going to write about obesity, you will need to investigate what other peoples’ views are on it. This means that you could:

  • Read papers, books and journals written by the medical profession.
  • Read papers and journals written by holistic lifestyle experts.
  • Delve into what politicians are doing about the situation.

Plan your own original research. Once you have done your background reading, you will find that your interest in the subject has narrowed to certain aspects of it. For instance, you may have been shocked to discover that obesity often leads to diabetes which can lead to limb amputation if it is not rectified by an overall change in lifestyle. You may be wondering why more is not done about this or you may be consumed by why it is allowed to happen. At this point, you need to plan how you are going to get some answers for yourself. You could:

  • Create a questionnaire that delves into why people eat too much sugar and refined foods.
  • Create and organize how you will operate a focus group at your local community centre or even health centre if you could permission.
  • Research and write interview questions for people that have had limbs removed because of diabetes, that has evolved through obesity, so that you can conduct some case studies for your research.

In step three, you need to do two things.

Hypothesis or research question. You have to develop a hypothesis or research question. The reason for this is twofold. First of all, it helps with categorising your research. In other words, it means that you can see which background research you need to consider when writing your article and which background research to discard. It also will help you to see if the original research questions that you have designed for your own research need to be modified or not. You can go through them asking are they relevant to my main research question. Secondly, your research question will also help your writing because it will keep it streamlined and prevent you from going off on a tangent. For instance, your research question might be “is the diabetes epidemic due to too much junk food in our supermarkets and on our high streets?”

Hook. The hook for your article is going to be the first sentence before you explain your mission. The reason for the hook is to get editors and readers alike buzzing with your intent. You are offering your goods up and teasing them with the possibilities of a fascinating read to come. If the hook that you create at this stage seems a little limp, don’t worry because the hook is something that you will keep returning to as your research and writing make you more fascinated with your subject. You should be working on your hook right up until you are sending your piece in.

In step four, it is essential that you carefully plan your article. If this seems like a waste of time, it is not. In actual fact, it can save time. You can only truly plan your article once you have your research question. The reason for this is that up until that point, you have your topic but it is probably large. You will have done lots of background reading and note taking and specific interests will have arisen within you. However, it is only once you know exactly what you are writing about that you can formulate a tight structured plan. The reason for this is that you can go through your research and discard anything that is not relevant to it. For instance, if you have been reading articles about people having to have back operations because of obesity, you could discard those. At this point, it is worth mentioning that it is very tempting to put all interesting aspects of a study in your article but this will ruin it. it has to be streamlined and to the point otherwise you will not get it published.

Your research. If you can do your own original research for an article it will make it more interesting and give it more academic weight. When you do this there are some important factors to consider. For instance, if you are interviewing people that have got diabetes through obesity, you need to ensure that you are diplomatic. Excess weight is a truly emotional subject so you have to tread carefully. This can make interviews so much more difficult because you also have to ensure that you are not leading your subject. Being overweight can truly make people vulnerable so you also have to be aware that they may give answers that they think you want to hear. Unfortunately, that would make your research invalid. It’s also a good idea if you could film the interviews. Again, with this particular subject, you will have extra difficulty because your subjects may not like being filmed because of their weight.

Interviewing experts in the field. Another good way to give your article academic weight is to interview experts in the field that you are researching. This will help you to truly delve into their opinions. Sometimes, this can take quite a bit of setting up because of busy lifestyles; however, if you are organized it should not be a problem and it is well worth doing if you can

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