Guidelines on Publishing Research Paper in Impact Factor Journals

Tutorial Objectives

Writing high-quality research paper and thesis in Business Research can be a daunting task. However, if one is focused and uses the right tools and techniques writing and ultimately publishing in high-quality academic journals listed in Social Science Citation Index and Science Citation Index can be easy. The course is designed to help research scholars learn what it takes to write and ultimately publish business research in high-quality impact factor journals. Apart from scholars striving to publish, the course has all the relevant details for research scholars doing their MS/Ph.D.


At the end of these sessions, the scholars will be able to

  1. Know-how and where to start.
  2. Understand the key elements of a research paper.
  3. Write a captivating and engaging research introduction that highlights the gaps and contributions of the study.
  4. know what should be included in the research literature
  5. Understand what should be included in a research methodology
  6. Write a detailed discussion section
  7. Format and Structure the research paper.
  8. Identify the points to consider when submitting a paper for publication
  9. Understand how to address reviewer comments


The course will offer a number of different benefits

  1. Identify what are the critical elements of a research paper
  2. How to write the different sections of a research paper

Writing the Introduction Section of a Research Paper

What to Include in a Research Introduction? This is a seriously critical question as a number of time the Editors’ decision to send the paper for review is based on how well-written is the introduction section. Normally, the Introduction should have the following elements

  • Value of your topic in general.
  • Value of your topic in your field/Area, why is there a need to study the concept?
  • Existing research on your variables, what relationships have been studied
  • Limitations/Gaps/Future Research directions on your topic based on previous studies on the variables, MUST be LATEST past 1 year
  • The Theoretical Lens
  • Contribution of your study to the body of knowledge
  • Proposed structure of your thesis/paper

Literature Review: What to Write and How

Literature review appears after the introduction in the research paper/thesis. A critical part of the research document, the literature review highlights the concepts and how they may be related with each other. The purpose of the literature review is to help the researcher to build on the work of others and to make informed decisions during the various stages of the research project.

A review of the literature identifies and highlights relevant themes and documents significant findings, frameworks, and/or instruments from earlier research that will serve as the foundation for the current project. Documenting the literature review is important to convince the reader that the researcher is knowledgeable about the problem area and has done the preliminary homework that is necessary to conduct the research.

The literature review section of a research paper shall have the following sub-section. Each of these subsection with examples are discussed in detail in the course.

Independent/Individual Discussion on Variables

How to write when developing framework to establish relationships

Individual Discussion on Variables

The literature review shall start with the discussion on the variables individually. For instance if you are assessing the impact of Leadership on Project Success. First you should separately discuss both Leadership and Project Success. Following shall make be part of your review when discussing the variables individually.

  1. The concept of the variable
  2. Is there any conceptualization of the variable in the area of your study (for Instance Higher Education)
  3. How the definitions evolved, changed over time
  4. What are the key facets/traits/characteristics that emerge from the definitions?
  5. What conceptualization/operational definition are you using in your study? Does conceptualization reflect in instrument/measurement. Why use a conceptualization, is it very close to your area of study?
  6. What do these definitions agree on?
  7. What does the variable do for the organizations – How it facilitates their working (Discuss in general and also in particular to your industry scope)
  8. Why studying the concept is important in your field of study? Discuss the general consequences (If it’s a predictor variable) – If it is a criterion, why studying the antecedents is important in your field of study.
  9. Status of literature on the variable in the field of study (Is it limited. What are its limitations?)

How to Write When Developing Framework to Establish Relationships

After the individual discussion on the variables in the study, the next step is to develop a theoretical framework and establish the relationship between the variables in the study. To do so, following guidelines shall be followed when writing the literature review to build the relationship between the study variable.

  1. Has previous studies linked the two concepts? If yes what were their findings
  2. Are the variables in any way linked to each other?
  3. Were the findings of the previous studies unanimous? On the other hand, contradictory?
  4. Why studying the linkage between variables is significant/Important (In general) and in your area/field of study.
  5. How the independent variable affects/influences/impacts the dependent variable
  6. Do the dimensions/traits of independent variable link to the dependent variable
  7. Use theory to develop linkages


  1. Your literature should not look like annotated bibliography, but rather a story where ideas/concepts are linked
  2. Try using latest references wherever possible in particular when highlighting the importance of the concept/its value/its benefits.

Has previous studies linked the two concepts? If yes what were their findings

When developing a relationship between the two variables, the first this a scholar shall do is identify if there has been any previous research linking the two variables. if there is, what were the results. However, there may be times when one is linking two concepts that have not been studied before, in this case one way is to identify the a theory that can help explain the relationship between two variables. To see how it is done, kindly refer to the end of this section, Use theory to develop the linkage

Were the findings of the previous studies unanimous? On the other hand, contradictory?

It is important that the scholar(s) review the existing research in great depth to identify if in previous research there are any contradictory findings. Any contradictions in existing research shall also be reported.

Why studying the linkage between variables is significant/Important (In general) and in your area/field of study

The scholar(s) shall clearly elaborate on the importance and need for the study, this should be done both in general and if there is a specific field or focus (like education or banks), then the relationship and its importance shall be discussed in the study setting.

How the independent variable affects/influences/impacts the dependent variable

The literature review shall clearly elaborate on how the independent variables affects the dependent variable. This can be done by explaining what leads to variance in the dependent variable because of the independent variable.

Using Theory to develop the linkage

Last but very important, the theory that you have mentioned in the introduction of your study that would help explain the underlying mechanism shall be utilized to develop the linkage between the variables.

How to Write Research Methodology

Critical Elements of a Research Methodology

A research methodology section should highlight the following details in a Research Paper/Thesis

  1. Population/Sample (Sample Size & Sampling Technique)
  2. How the questionnaire was distributed?/Data Collection Techniques
  3. Questionnaire sources (Primary Data)/Data Sources (Secondary Data)
  4. Analysis Techniques
  5. Regression Model in case of Research in the Area of Finance/Economics
Population/Sample (Sample Size & Sampling Technique)

The first part of research methodology is highlighting the population and sample details. This includes the Population for the Study, Sampling Technique, Sample Size, Study Design, and the sample details/characteristics. 

How, Where and When the questionnaire was distributed?/Data Collection Techniques

Next, in the research methodology the scholar shall highlight how the questionnaire was distributed (Primary Research), the scholar can mention whether it was through personal visits, online, or through surface mail. Furthermore, the scholar shall also highlight the data collection techniques. 

Questionnaire (Primary Data)/Data Sources (Secondary Data)

Data may be collected through primary or secondary sources. In case data is collected using questionnaire, all its sources shall be properly identified and referred to in the methodology. If the whole questionnaire is not provided, a sample item from each construct shall be presented. 

If the data is collected from secondary sources. The sources must be properly detailed and referred to. 

Analysis Techniques

It is important to mention the analysis techniques to be used in a research. For Survey based research AMOS, SMART-PLS, MPlus are famous software used. While for finance STATA, EViews are commonly used. 

Regression Model in case of Research in the Area of Finance/Economics

If the study is in the area of finance/economics it is recommended that regression model is presented. For example, please refer to the paper attached as to how it should be mentioned and explained.

What to Write Data Analysis and Results

The data analysis and results section/chapter in a survey based study should have at least the following analyses.

  1. Descriptive Statistics (Including Frequency and Descriptives)
  2. Factor Loadings
  3. Reliability (Including Cronbach’s Alpha and Composite Reliability)
  4. Convergent and Discriminant Validity
  5. Hypotheses Testing
  6. Hypotheses Summary

To Learn more about how to conduct Data Analysis using SmartPLS, Click Here

What to Write in the Discussion Section

The final section/chapter of a research paper/thesis is Discussion and Conclusion. A discussion and conclusion chapter shall have the following details.

  1. Start with the objective of your study
  2. How your results compare to results from previous research?
  3. Why a certain relationship may be significant or insignificant in your research?
  4. What does the significance and insignificance of relationship show in your field of study?
  5. Use the Theory
Start with the objective of your study

Start the discussion section by highlighting the objective of your study.

How your results compare to results from previous research?

Next, identify the results of your hypotheses and then compare your results with the previsous research. Whether the results from this study are parallel or contradict existing research.

Why a certain relationship may be significant or insignificant in your research?

It is not enough to just add a comparison to existing research, discussion is about assessing the WHY aspect. This means that one has to clearly explain why a particular relationship was significant or insignificant.

What does the significance and insignificance of relationship show in your field of study?

Why is this relationship important to discuss? How does it affect the area of study under investigation.

Use Theory

 It is always critical to incorporate the theory that you have utilized to establish the relationships as a mean to explain why or why not certain relationships exist. This is particularly important when there is lack of existing research into a particular area of research or the relationships have not been previously established.

How to Write What to Write Conclusion, Limitation, and Implications


In the end the scholars shall present an overall conclusion from your research in light of the research objectives

Limitations and Future Research Directions

A critical part of the last chapter, Limitations and Future Research Directions, a paper must have these, otherwise they leave a bad impression. Following shall make part of this section

  1.  What are the limitations of your research in terms of sample, data collection, measurement, and analysis?
  2.  Are there any conceptual limitations?
  3.  What would you recommend for future research to do related to your study, how can they take your study forward
  4.  Would you recommend adding any variables to the model you propose in future?
  5.  Would you like future research to change the conceptual scope?
  6.  Any changes or recommendations to analytical techniques?


Finally, it is very important that the scholars mention the implications of the study. One shall consider the following when writing the implications

  1.  How can your research benefit at individual, management, and organizational level
  2.  What are the policy implications of your study
  3.  What are the theoretical implications of your study.

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