University of Central Lancaster Midwifery Society
- winners of MIDIRS Midwifery Society Prize Draw 2017
We invited UCLan Midwifery Society, winners of MIDIRS Midwifery Society Prize Draw 2017, to take part in a Q&A session on writing for publication, with MIDIRS Principal Editor, Cathy Ashwin. Here are their questions and Cathy’s response to each one.
Q: When thinking about a topic to submit, is it better to write from experience and reflection or something of interest which is a current topic?
- Either is acceptable; reflections are particularly pertinent for students as the experience always adds to the learning of others who may encounter a similar scenario.
- Something of personal interest is sometimes more tricky for those new to writing as it may be difficult not to introduce bias.
Q: Are there any tips specifically for students wishing to write for publication?
- Students often write really good module assignments that are never read by a wider audience, so these can often be adapted to a paper without involving a lot of extra work.
- Research the topic well, keep references contemporary.
- Keep a record of all your references as you write, as you can guarantee the one you don’t document will be crucial to the paper and you cannot find it again!!
- Literature reviews are good for getting into practise for your degree (MSc and then PhD!).
- Many people think they are not good enough to write for publication.Not true – you are at university.
- Have a look at several journals and read the submission/author guidelines to give you an idea of their different styles and requirements.
Q: Do you put out specific topics for people to write on or do people submit what topic they wish to write about?
Some people write in to ask for topic areas, but because the Digest is a collection of originals, reprints and abstracts (some reviewed) we don’t run with themes (we always have plenty of ideas though).
Q: Do you put word counts on articles or do they edit down to suit publication?
- Ideally the word count for MIDIRS Midwifery Digest is around 3,500 words, but this is just a guide as some papers lend themselves to more or less, depending upon the topic.
- Dissertations can often be worked into two papers – the literature review and the actual study, if it is a piece of original research.
- Don’t be afraid to send any ideas, rough plans through for comments.
- For experience it is good to review abstracts for inclusion in the journal (these are preselected by the editor, unless you have a paper of particular interest to you).
- Always get someone to proofread your paper before submission as sometimes you will have worked with it for quite a time and become ‘word blind’ to any spelling, grammatical or typographical errors.
- Hint: when beginning to write, set out a plan with the beginning, middle and end with ideas of what you want to put into each section and approximately how many words you need. Make a list of key words/headings.
- Always have a thesaurus to hand to avoid using the same words repeatedly.
- If you have writer’s block – go and do something else for a while as a distraction, or you will feel frustrated sitting staring at an empty screen or playing computer card games.
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