Thursday, April 27, 2017

From thesis to publication

Yes, and optimisitc title and this post is really about changing honours thesis into something that you might like to submit to a journal. Anyway, no more comments on the title for now.

To start preparing your thesis consider the following generic checklist. Yes, sounds a bit daunting, I know, but it is not really, once you start, as you end up making your own work better and you might get published as many of my students have.


  • Reduce it to these subheadings: background, method, results, conclusion. Use 2-3 sentences for each of these subheadings. Some journals want to see these subheadings but for others just make sure they are covered in the abstract in that order, you don't have to type them. 
  • Check word count against journal guidelines and reduce further if needed.


  • Cut by about 50% by staying only focused on material that is related to building a case for the hypotheses.
  • Remove duplication.
  • Update citations (e.g., new up-to-date citations).
  • Cite previous work by your co-authors and their colleagues as appropriate. 


  • Remove assumption testing sections.
  • Move the "Statistical Analysis" section (where you talk about what software you used, any transformation or outlier issues etc.) to the end of the Method section. 
  • Reduce power analysis sections down to a sentence or two at most and put it in the "Statistical Analysis" section. 


  • Double check that the hypotheses are tested and reported in the order they are presented in at the end of the introduction. 
  • Remove subheadings unless absolutely necessary. 
  • Double check that all tables are needed.
  • Double check that there is not too much overlap between what is reported in tables and text.


  • Cut by about 30% to start with.
  • Make sure there are sections called "Limitations" and "Conclusion".


  • Put all tables and figures at the end of the document with tables first then figures.

To identify a journal to submit to


  • Add doi to your reference list entries.
  • Make sure to check the format requirments of the journal you are submitting to (e.g., citing, tables, figures, headings).

Other stuff

  • Remember to check the comments you have got from your examiners to see if there is anything there that you need to address.

For how to collaborate on a document see

Last but not least follow the APA manual.

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