Checklist for research journal articles

Ross Woods, 2020

This is general checklist and probably covers most difficulties in manuscripts of journal articles submitted for review. However, it is impossible to predict all possible kinds of deficiencies, so this list might be helpful but cannot be conclusive.

  1. The topic is a good fit with the purpose of the journal to which it is submitted.
  2. The research is a new and unique contribution to knowledge in its field. It does not duplicate existing research.
  3. The article complies with the submission rules of the journal publisher.
(Topic, definition of the research, introduction)
  1. The title reflects the subject of the article and is not too long.
  2. The article has an introduction.
  3. Purpose:
    • The problem is clear, important, and new.
    • The need or opportunity for this research is clearly established.
    • The purpose of the article (what is to be proven) is clear.
  4. The whole article is on a single topic and has been narrowed down.
  5. Mentions the category of research design e.g. qualitative, expository, ethnographic, quantitative.
  6. The research problem and purpose are placed at the end of introduction.
  7. State variables clearly if the research is quantitative. If it is qualitative, state critical aspects clearly.
  8. Explain the theoretical background.
  9. Assumptions and definitions are clear, including any special terminology.
  10. The abstract meets requirements. (Journals often prescribe a structure and word limit.)
  11. On the first occurrence of all acronyms in the abstract and in the text, give the full text with the acronym in parentheses immediately afterward. After that, only the acronym is used for the remainder of the abstract and the article.
  1. Explain how participants were recruited into the research sample.
  2. Give demographic information of participants, e.g. age, gender, education.
  3. Explain the data collection method.
  4. Explain any ethical considerations.
  5. Explain how data were analyzed (not always needed in qualitative, descriptive studies).
Structure and thought
  1. The outline is easy to understand and follow. (Some journals prescribe a structure and the subheadings for each section.)
  2. The section titles are used correctly. They are are not too long and accurately reflect the contents of each section.
  3. Each section is clearly related to the conclusion.
  4. The logic is acceptable.
  5. No elements are repeated unnecessarily.
  6. The outline does not lack any elements that are necessary to reaching the conclusion.
  7. Important aspects are discussed in full while less important aspects are discussed more briefly.
  8. There are no useless details.
  9. The article has no contradictions or inconsistencies.
  1. The concluding section has a clear, focused conclusion that resolves the original problem, and shows clearly that the article has reached its destination.
  2. There is only one main conclusion.
  3. The conclusion is well-supported.
  1. Language is correct and consistent (e.g. grammar, spelling, and punctuation).
  2. Language has an objective, scientific or detached style.
  3. The language is clear and expression is concise.
  4. Sentences do not unnecessarily repeat elements.
  5. Terminology is used correctly and consistently.
  6. What is written represents the writer’s intent.
  7. Language has adequate readability, e.g.:
    • The length of sentences varies.
    • Sentences are not too long or complex.
    • Language is not convoluted.
    • The direction of thought does not change mid-sentence.
References and use of sources
  1. Sources are primary sources and are sufficient to support conclusions.
  2. Facts are reported correctly.
  3. Data is well selected:
    • All data is relevent and fits the topic.
    • Material is well selected for direct quotation.
  4. References:
    • Gives references for all facts derived from outside the article.
    • References are complete and correct, and there is no plagiarism..
  5. Data is analyzed or assessed appropriately.
  6. Data is interpreted in relation to the conclusion.
  7. Any generalizations are qualified, they do not overgeneralize.
  8. Quotes are copied correctly.
  9. The contents of the bibliography are correct.
  1. Typing is neat and consistent.
  2. Typing follows instructions, including bibliography.
  3. Quotes are typed correctly.