Writing a Scholarly Article
A scholarly article may be defined as academic research on a particular topic which:
(a) considers what is already available and
(b) interprets and adds something new to existing knowledge.
The ‘something new’ doesn’t need to be world-shattering, it may be as simple as adding an insight, providing an interpretation, seeing something in a new way in applying knowledge in a novel or interesting fashion.
Note the phrases in Bold in the above paragraph:
Particular topic = the writing is oriented around investigation which is very specific in nature (e.g. not Autism but ‘how children with autism can be catered for in the primary school classroom’; not Assistive Technology but ‘Assistive Technology to support students with communication impairments in education support centres’). The golden rule is do not go ‘around the world and back’…keep it specific and keep it simple.
Available = what has already been written about the topic (literature review). This gives you some idea about what professionals are saying about the area which then allows you to make your own informed comment. In this way you are also ‘spring boarding’ from something which already exists into something new. In other words, you are not merely speaking from a position of ignorance based on limited knowledge.
New = this refers to your own contribution to study on the topic. After reading around the area and summarising the main contentions, what seems to be an emerging theme? What are your views regarding what has been said and why? You need to engage with the topic and provide your own insights. You are a professional and as such, have every right to make a contribution to any ongoing debate.
This is normally around 10 words and is a succinct description of your article. Anyone reading your title should know immediately what the article is about (e.g. “An exploration of gaming habits of ten year old boys” or “The formal teaching of spelling in upper primary school” or “Using maps to teach longitude and latitude to young children”). Using the information you presented under ‘title of the project’ on your Proposal Form is a good beginning for developing your final title.
Although this goes at the beginning of your paper, it is normally written last. Why? Because it is basically a summary of what your article is about. It should be about 100-150 words in length and will be similar to what you wrote under ‘description of the project’ on your Proposal Form, however, it will probably need to be refined after the article has been written as you will then have a better idea of what it actually contains.
This is where you read around your chosen topic and summarise and interpret relevant aspects as these present themselves from the literature. Try to make this section hang together thematically rather than present bits-and pieces that are not really related in any way. A literature review is not an individual summary of each authors’ work, but a cohesive examination of themes emerging from the topic. You are developing an argument around a theme and not merely stating disparate facts.
Your literature review should be about 1000-1500 words.
Analysis and Discussion
Here’s where you discuss factors that impinge on or arise from the literature and provide your own insights. What seems to be emerging from the literature that appears to be worth talking about? What seems to be missing? What are areas for potential investigation and why? How could the existing knowledge be applied? How might you interpret what is being said differently? Where do you agree with what has been stated and where do you disagree? Why? Can you use a diagram/figure/chart/table to summarise your ideas? What are the benefits for the classroom? What are the implications for education more broadly?
Overall: what unique contribution can you add to what is already available? As stated previously, this need not be ‘world-shattering’ but simply thought-provoking.
Remember: in presenting your own ideas, refer back to the literature and interact with it.
This section should be about 1000-1200 words
This is a short section, about 250-300 words, and draws together the whole discussion. It should not be the same as the Abstract. Whereas the Abstract is an overall factual summary of your article, the Conclusion synthesises the information and finishes with a statement of why what has been written is significant.
You can also talk about future directions, i.e., where to from here? What are possible directions in which the research can move and why? Recommendations for further research in the area can also be made.
• This paper should be written in 3rd person
• Headings are permissible
• Lines should be double spaced
• Paragraphs need to be used
The attachments to this Unit Outline provide an indication of what is required for the production of a scholarly article.
Subject Matter HD D C P F
• Structure is appropriate for a scholarly paper
• Topic is appropriately articulated
• Thoughtful engagement with the subject matter is evident
• Relevant literature has been cited
• Literature has been interpreted and not merely presented
• Critical thinking is evident
• Relevance for primary regular and/or special education settings has been considered
• Appropriate conclusions have been drawn
Students are expected to demonstrate a high standard of academic writing. To score a high grade, these criteria must be addressed:
• The paper has an introduction, a conclusion, and a logically sequenced set of body paragraphs.
• Standard Australian English is used to communicate key ideas clearly and concisely.
• The School of Education’s APA referencing style is followed consistently and precisely.
• Format requirements for presentation and length are closely followed.
NOTE: The overall grade awarded for the assignment cannot be greater than that awarded for the Academic Literacy component.
Writing a Scholarly Article