Writing a good journal article: My reflections from attending the SUMERNET workshop

Wasin Praditsilp By Wasin Praditsilp - Nov 22, 2021

One of the ways for researchers to increase the influence and impact of their work is to publish their findings in a reputable international journal. This not only helps their peers and the public get to know about novel and useful research, but it also enhances their career (as the saying goes, ‘publish or perish’.)

However, writing a research article and getting publishing in a reputed journal can often seem a huge challenge in an academic’s life. There are many myths, mysteries, and misunderstandings on how to design, write and submit an article. When I began life as a new academic, I have also among the many who fell into this pit for five months, tried to find ways to climb up, and navigate me towards successful publication.

Recently, I participated in an online workshop about improving research writing that provided an opportunity for active learning, engaged with the participants, all in an atmosphere of ease and openness.

It was fortunate since I never knew about SUMERNET before. A university colleague who was invited by a SUMERNET fellow kindly shared the workshop program with me.

The workshop trainer Dr Leonie Pearson provided five tips for article writing: know your audience; plan the article with simple building blocks; build up a convincing story; convey your niche contribution; use a sharp eye to polish your drafts. These tips are useful especially for the middle phase of research publications. Before this phase comes research originality and rigorous methodology, while after writing the article comes revision and the peer review process.

We were advised to use Academic Paper Canvas (a nerd version of BMC) as the writing guideline. This canvas answered my need to find a guide to structuring my research articles, reminding me to check the flow of my ideas. The canvas can be used as a comprehensive note for research courses at any levels. It can help ignite undergraduate research minds and help postgraduates to streamline their research projects.

The workshop also gave me an opportunity to meet with young researchers in the Mekong Region. The participants from Myanmar, for example, were enthusiastic and full of young energy. Many shone out as opinion leaders and soon-to-be change agents. This helped me comes to the realization that there are many opportunities and collaborations for us in the future. This gives me more hope to do better for the region.

I would say that publishing our research publication is an ongoing process of ‘learning by doing’ and ‘learning from experienced people.” Joining a good workshop can help refresh our minds and kindle our energy. But we need to start writing, we can move closer to the finish line only if we start doing it and optimize our potential with the right mindset.

In the coming months, I will have to publish a paper as a contractual commitment. Instead of torturing myself with negative thoughts and words, I will do it with trust in myself, following the practical tips I learned at the SUMERNET workshop. I wish the best to everyone else who attended this workshop and hope that they are also successful with their research writing.

This reflection is based on the SUMERNET online workshop: How to deliver your ideal research article by Dr Leonie Pearson of SEI Asia held on 16 November 2021.

Wasin Praditsilp, PhD, is a lecturer in Digital Marketing and Branding, School of Management, Walailak University, Nakhon Si Thammarat Thailand.


This story is part of the following project

SUMERNET 4 All: Engaging with water insecurity in the Mekong Region


Journal Writing



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Sustainable Mekong Research Network

Building research for policy towards sustainable development in the Mekong Region

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