from IBAMer Frank Jeffries
Want to write a great manuscript for IBAM? Showing excitement for your subject is a great place to start. This is an opportunity to share your great idea with people who can help you move it forward so it is ok to be excited. If you believe in your new idea your enthusiasm will help others get excited about it too. Therefore, the start of a great submission is your attitude about what you are about to share.
Tell an interesting story and it will get read. Here are some questions to ask when developing an idea. Is what you discovered really new? Is what you discovered really important? Is what you discovered really useful? And finally, you need to be able to answer the question, So What? If all the answers to these questions are solid you probably have something worth writing about. Let’s take them on one at a time.
Is what you have discovered really new? A thorough literature review is invaluable to establish whether your idea is new. The literature review is also where all the raw material for theoretical development comes from. Many authors shortcut this stage and it is a really bad idea. Conduct a thorough search on key terms in the literature relevant to the area of research being developed. Then, read the literature so you understand not only the results but also the supporting literature and context of the research you are citing. Next put your ideas on paper in a rough draft form and run it by your colleagues to see what they think. Many times they are familiar with relevant literature that did not occur to you. If the idea makes it past these tests it is likely that it is truly a new concept.
Is what you discovered really important? The answer here needs to be absolutely yes. If you are not convinced that the research you are reporting, or the theory you are developing, is going to have an impact there is no way it will be interesting or fun to write about. The writing will lack enthusiasm and the result will be a boring manuscript.
Is what you discovered really useful? When writing for IBAM in particular it is important to think about what the research can be used for in terms of practical application. Theory is great, but the focus of the conference is joining academics with practitioners to transfer useful knowledge that can yield results in application. If there is a good chance that application of your research can yield positive results when applied to a business situation you are on to something useful.
So what, why should anyone read this paper? This is the question that you need to answer in the abstract and introduction of your paper. By addressing the other questions above you will have developed the material used to answer this question. What you have to say is new, it is important because it will have impact on the management literature, and it will be useful in achievement of positive business outcomes. If you cannot confidently make these assertions there is more work to do.
If you have gotten to this point you should be excited about your discovery and eager to share it. Write with that feeling and drive. Use an active voice and be convincing. Start by crafting an introduction that makes a compelling case for reading the rest of the manuscript. Identify the gap in the literature, state what your contribution is going to be, why it is important, and identify the implications for business. Finish the introduction with a road map of how the rest of the paper is laid out so that you prime the reader for what follows.
As you craft the paper, it is important to pay attention to the details. Include the right sections in the right order (the previous blog with Tom Martin addressed this). Be sure to include transitions at the end of one section that lead to the next. It will make the paper flow and it will be much easier to read. Tell a convincing story. Make sure that as you make your case for your new idea that you build on appropriate theory and research in a logical and consistent manner. Have others proof your draft to make sure that you are not making ‘leaps of faith’ that are not logical conclusions/extensions of established research. There are times that a line of research is so new that it is largely exploratory – in this situation it is doubly important to build a logical believable case.
Finally, follow the appropriate style manual – in this case APA. The reviewers expect the paper to follow a particular format and, if it does, it helps make their job easier. Do your very best work and have others proof it for style, punctuation, spelling, grammar, logic, and flow. Error free work allows the reader to focus on the message and is the mark of a professional.
Writing can be a lot of fun if you are really excited about what you are developing as a stream of research. Pick an area that is really interesting and engaging for you and enjoy the process of developing and sharing new ideas.
Frank Jeffries is Professor in the College of Business and Public Policy at the University of Alaska Anchorage .
See the IBAM22 Call for Papers at this site and submit your paper at http://www.openconf.org/IBAM2014/openconf.php