Writing the Body of the Manuscript - From Professional Experience to Expert Advice - Conference Proposals and Article Types

Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016

Writing the Body of the Manuscript
From Professional Experience to Expert Advice
Conference Proposals and Article Types

The body of the manuscript typically consists of three to five main headings. The body of the manuscript is comparable to the filling in a dumpling; it is what gives it substance and appeal. Try using a “shopping list” approach to organizing ideas; just as you would sort the items on a list to correspond to where they are in the grocery store, you can cluster ideas that go together by cutting and pasting on your word processing program. It is sometimes helpful to phrase main sections in the body of the paper as questions that you want to answer for your readers, at least at first. This helps to maintain a focus on what actually belongs in each section. A common set of headings for the body of an article about a practice that is relatively new to readers would be:

· Definition of _____ (find authoritative definitions and show how the practice is related to what they already know)

· Rationale for _____ (use theory and research as support to persuade readers to consider making this change in their professional practice)

· Challenges when implementing ______(provide evidence-based advice, clear examples, and troubleshoot common problems)

· Outcomes of instituting ____ (describe the advantages of making these changes to professional practice)

· Additional resources for ______ (lead readers to other practical tools, perhaps in a sidebar or Appendix)

· You can always go back and change the headings later to make them more appealing. When you do, use a consistent format (for example, each heading beginning with an —ing verb or each heading with a colon (e.g., Principle 1: ____).

Now take another look at your pronouncement paragraph. It must be in alignment with the main headings of the article. Organize your material to match your pronouncement paragraph or, if it no longer works well, go back and revise the pronouncement paragraph rather than forcing material to fit. Keep going back and forth between the sections of your paper and the pronouncement, fine tuning them until they match. Now you have the body of the manuscript structured.

The pronouncement paragraph and the abstract obviously are related; however, they should not be the same paragraph repeated in both places. Naturally, the abstract needs to match your headings as well. Look at the example in Activity 6.6. It shows how the abstract and the headings align in a review/practical journal article on cheating (Hensley, 2013).

Activity 6.6: Alignment in the Practical Journal Article

Read the abstract and then look at the main headings of the article. Write an abstract for your article that matches main headings of the manuscript.

Abstract: Cheating is antithetical to the goals of meaningful learning and moral development. The more that community college faculty , staff, and administrators understand the nature of cheating and factors associated with the behavior, the more effective they can be in creating environments of integrity both inside and outside of the formal classroom, This paper reviews the literature on understanding, predicting, and preventing cheating in postsecondary environments, discussing the role of individual, interpersonal, and contextual aspects in cheating. The paper then considers a variety of approaches to building environments in community colleges that encourage behaviors in line with academic integrity and discourage academic dishonesty.

Main Headings and Subheadings

· Academic and Motivational Aspects Related to Cheating

· Interpersonal Aspects Related to Cheating

· Classroom and Institutional Aspects Related to Cheating

· Implications for Practice and Policy

· Implications for Academic Support

· Implications for Student Life

· Implications for Commuter Environments

· Implications for Classroom and Institutional Policies (Hensley, 2013)

In a well-structured practical article all of the pieces are in alignment.