One can start writing a literature review by finding for example five good articles, of which some are from the target Journal, and maybe few good books discussing your topical area.
Write a few pages long summary based on these articles and books. This will help in obtaining a relevant understanding on your research topic and acts later as a frame for the theoretical part of your article. You may also be able to obtain credits for these summaries.
Write the theory to support the storyline or your article. Note that it is not customary to describe the development of your own understanding in an article (cp. e.g. Master’s tese de doutorado), but describe what others have studied relevant to your topic. When looking for references, do not chase terms, but aim to understand what the true meaning of these articles are. It is important that you refer to some gurus in your field to show that you know the scientific research in your field. Additionally, it is important to refer to new Journal articles to ensure the timeliness or your article. Minimise references that are not in English as reviewers cannot verify them.
It is wise to finalise the theory only after writing the results of your article. This way you can once more search for related studies and can thus better focus the literature review to match your results.
5. Research method/ process
An article must describe your research, the set up, and research methods precisely. This way the reviewers can assess the scientific basis of your research and the justification of your results. In principle, research method/ process should be described so that another researcher can repeat the study.
It is important to clearly describe how the research is done. If needed, you can visualise the preceding of the research. Also, you can include more justification as appendices, if necessary (for example, in qualitative research, the interview questions).
6. Results (Monografias Prontas)
Once completing experimental research and analysing the results, it is time to write and summarise the results, and especially the analysis. The experimental part of a Journal article must concentrate on the actual analysis of the material, not on documenting the data. Note that this differs from writing for other purposes, e.g. research report.
Consider what the core results of your research are and bring them forward clearly. Also, do highlight the core results by using visual elements (anything that differs from basic text, e.g. lists, illustrations, and tables). This way, anyone who quickly riffles through the article will focus on the key results and will automatically get a level of conception of your results.
Typically, articles are not accepted for publication exactly as they are initially submitted, but reviewers require some changes. Obtaining critical comments is a good thing, meaning that you have a chance for publication – it is a time to work and analyse! The feedback may initially seem harsh, however, do not get depressed. Be analytical and start the work.
It may be sensible to ask colleagues to join analysing the critique. You may be closer to acceptance than you first think. If you have chosen the right Journal, you have good chances for publication, once you take the effort and react to the given feedback.
It is important to carefully analyse what the feedback really means. Any requirements that initially feel extensive may in practice require relatively small changes to the article. Often you only need to adjust the way the “story” is told.
Do react swiftly to the given feedback and acknowledge all the critique. Should you wish not to change something, regardless of critique, do justify this decision in the covering notes. Do write a cover letter, where you give a point-to-point response to all the reviewers’ comments indicating all the changes to the article, and justify if you did not change something. The purpose of the point-to-point response is to avoid the reviewers being forced to read the entire article again when checking your changes.
As a doctoral student you can apply for research grants to finance your research. There are a variety of different grants available, for full and partial time work, ones for a specific purpose, such as travel or equipment purchase. Do note that there are also supportive grants that are given regardless of your income from any other sources, as a reward for good work or a research plan. You can also decide yourself how to use a supportive grant, while reporting the progress of your dissertation work is often the only requirement.
This document does not try to describe the process of applying grants, but gives few tips for effective application. Preparing grant applications for different foundations also helps you in outlining your own research plan. By asking your colleagues to comment your application you will improve the chances for success and clarify your research plan. Do remember to return the favour!
Research grants are mainly applied from numerous different foundations supporting research in a variety of fields. For example, the University of Turku, Finland maintains a list of different foundations, each of which has its own unique criteria and application process. As a general advice, more applications you send to different foundations, higher the chances are for obtaining a grant. Nevertheless, foundations often wish to support young researchers that are capable of coming up with results, and whose research may have a positive influence to the surrounding society. Even if you are a more mature person, do apply when possible as there are foundations that are interested in supporting
researchers of all ages. It is always worth applying, even at the start of your doctoral studies, as applying will improve your research plan and you can never be sure when you will be successful.
The central aspect of your application process is your own research plan. You may need to slightly modify your research plan for different foundations, including the length and focus of your plan. It may be wise to target the description of your research to fit the criteria of a potential foundation.
As a rule of thumb, maintain two parallel research plans to enable effective modifications for different foundations:
– 4 pages (main version)
– 1 page summary (often the most vital part of your application)
Research plan structure
– Summary (Monografias Prontas)
– Introduction – describe the subject matter of your research, and who benefits of your work (target foundation specifically)
– Description of the current state and future progress of your research
– Description of the realisation of your research and potential results
– Research questions, methods, etc.
– Description of financing your research (other grants, or other finance)
– Schedule for your research
– Your existing publications, if any (as evidence that you do get the work done dissertação de mestrado).
When writing your research plan, pay special attention to clarity and readability. Aim to describe the benefits and results as clearly as possible. Do not write overly scientific descriptions, but aim to write for “wider public”. The foundation representatives are not necessarily specialists in your specific field, and he/she receives hundreds of applications.
The recipient also wishes to understand in a limited timeframe to whom he/she believes the money should be given. One needs to easily see the core aspects of our research plan.
Bring forward the progress of your work clearly, together with any obtained results, both in your research plan and in grant application. It is important to show your progress to the date and assure that you can progress swiftly with your research and will complete your dissertation. You can give this indication, for example, through listing your publications.
Update your research plan frequently, at least in the pace of common application deadlines, 2-3 times a year. In the field of engineering, the main application deadlines are roughly during winter (January-February), spring, (May), and autumn (SeptemberOctober).
One important aspect for receiving research grants is letters of recommendation. Do ask your supervisor to write a recommendation letter (supervisors usually are happy to do this). These recommendations have a significant role when deciding who gets the grants.