Monday, 15 September 2008

How to minimise the time taken for revisions of a research paper

Revising research papers after they are written in first draft is time consuming and, for me, tiresome. Here is a procedure which may help to minimise the time taken for revisions, and generally streamline the production process. It is intended for analytical research papers.

Question preparation
1. State a question with evident importance, capable of giving interesting results even if the prime hypothesis is rejected
2. Split the question into sub-questions for examination
3. Perform a literature identification of anyone who has done anything similar
4. Write down the literature’s questions, approach, results, etc.
5. Produce more precise questions and sub-questions in the light of the literature review

Specification preparation
1. Draw up rough testable specifications capable of answering the question and sub-questions
2. Check data availability for being able to answer the questions
3. Produce a theoretical derivation getting roughly the specifications
4. Rewrite the specifications for the question and sub-questions as indicated by the derivations

Data preparation
1. Get the data for the specifications
2. Write down any potential data problems or impacts on the specifications
3. Process the data for exact suitability
4. Summarize the data and store the table somewhere

1. Select appropriate estimation methods
2. Estimate and store results
3. After each estimation, summarize the data used and store the table somewhere
4. Highlight any clear inadequacies in the estimations including data in inappropriate units so as to make the results easy to read – the earlier identification of data problems may help
5. Revise the estimations until all inadequacies are resolved

(For all the following steps the contents should be perfectly presented when first added. The structuring of all the sections should be as normal, eg
Questions / importance / literature review / plan / theory / specification / empirical specification / inputs / outputs / interpretation / conclusion.)
1. Set up the paper with a statement of the correct specifications
2. Add result tables
3. Add the interpretation section – the earlier identification of data problems may help, as may the stored summary data
4. Add the conclusion section
5. Add the inputs section
6. Add the specification section (the non-formula parts)
7. Add the empirical specification section
8. Add the inputs section
9. Add the plan section
10. Add the questions section
11. Add the importance section
12. Add the literature review section and bibliography at the same time

1. Proof read and spell check

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