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Turning good research into good publications

David Ahlstrom (Department of Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
Garry D. Bruton (Department of Management, Entrepreneurship and Leadership, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas, USA)
Li Zhao (Department of Applied Economics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)

Nankai Business Review International

ISSN: 2040-8749

Article publication date: 31 May 2013




The purpose of this paper is to provide a basic list of items that many standard empirical papers need and to highlight some common and fixable problems, as well as some corresponding suggestions and solutions such that authors can turn good research into good papers that have an improved chance of publication.


This paper is a conceptual study on publishing, though it draws heavily on two of the authors' experience as editors of major management journals and their past work on paper organization and research design. A number of helpful resources for authors have also been provided from the academic literature – both journals and books – so that this paper can be a helpful resource to authors in organizing and preparing their work to submit to an appropriate journal.


This paper's findings are listed as follows. First, prospective authors will gain a much clearer understanding of whether a journal is an appropriate outlet for their work by reading the journal's aims and scope. Second, a good Introduction is a crucial element of a paper and must contain key basic information such as the research question (or thesis statement), a mini‐literature review that situates the paper in past work, a quick summary of results, and the paper's contributions. Third, in the Literature Review or Theory section, it is important to review the development of the more relevant literature in the chosen topic, the key empirical or case findings, and why the focal paper seeks to enter the field at this time. Fourth, in the Method section, authors should try to provide as much helpful descriptive data as space permits. Fifth, in the Results section, authors should present the results for each hypotheses one by one, but limit the discussion in that section to the results and some brief explanation. Additionally, the Discussion section should have four parts including the contributions, limitations of the research, future research, and any other unusual findings. Finally, many papers suffer from formatting problems or do not fit the aims and scope of the target journal. Authors should be careful to check on these issues before submission.


This paper is complementary to works on methods and research design in that it helps authors with the important step of organizing their papers to turn good research into good manuscripts with a better chance of publication.



Ahlstrom, D., Bruton, G.D. and Zhao, L. (2013), "Turning good research into good publications", Nankai Business Review International, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 92-106.



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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