Thesis to journal articles

Due to popular demand, I am again giving some advice on how to turn the research in your thesis into several journal articles. Some of you will already have several chapters of your thesis published as journal articles before you submit the actual dissertation. If this is your situation, please skip this. If this is not you, please read on.

I gave some tips on the steps involved in a previous blog. By way of background, you might want to consider different types of lit reviews and their purposes. This could help you to target what to include.  If you want to publish an article which is a systematic review of the literature, I have outlined the main steps here.

If your research comprises several studies, it makes sense to write an article about each one. One pitfall for researchers is to put too much from their literature review chapter in the lit review section for an article. This is what we will look at here.

How to begin and the next steps

It might be helpful to take a narrative approach as a starting point so you can sketch out the main points only and leave out other details. It’s probably worth doing this first before you even look at your literature review chapter.

You will need to leave out a lot. Nobody is expecting you to provide a comprehensive overview. Consider the objectives of your research article.

You also don’t need to focus in from general research to specific research, which is probably how you developed your lit review chapter for your thesis.  Start with research specifically related to the aim of the study you are presenting in this article.

Usually your readers are more interested in your research contribution than a complete rendition of how researchers in the field have explored the topic. That is why they are attracted to your article’s title and abstract. Keep the focus sharp here. But how?

You will probably know when enough is enough if you develop a mind map first of the main points in your tailored lit review. Then you could refer to your introduction and conclusion to guide you further in the lit review development. Alternatively, if you tend to write the introduction and the conclusion last, use the study’s aim to help you select the relevant parts of the literature reviewed in your thesis.

Keep it simple, clear and focused. Then you can write another article using some more of that carefully constructed research.