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Lay of Land

Types of Articles You Can Propose and Publish

Publishing a scholarly journal article is quite different from writing a seminar paper or a dissertation. This table provides an overview of the types of articles, their value to your career, and special publication considerations for each.


Book Review


Book reviews appear regularly in scholarly journals, providing insight and opinion on recently published scholarly books.


  • The least time-consuming to propose, but the least prestigious for tenure and promotion (though still valuable).
  • The efficiency factor is again at play: by reviewing books, a scholar has the opportunity to stay abreast of publications and new thinking while building a publication list.

Case analysis



Case analyses appear in different fields – medical/clinical practice, business, and law. A case analysis presents the salient details of a practical situation and discusses its challenges, outcomes and implications.

  • Clinical practice case analyses require field experience and may not be applicable early in your career.
    Case analyses in the legal field, are a regular component of graduate- work and field experience.
Clinical Trial Like empirical studies, clinical trials describe the methodology, implementation, and results of controlled studies.
  • Also requires field work experience, conforming to high standards of ethics and reliability.
Empirical Study The term ‘empirical study’ is most often used in the social sciences (e.g. psychology), and refers to a paper describing the results of an experiment or controlled study. A strong empirical study paper includes a review of literature, methodology, statistical analysis, findings and discussion.
  • Detailed studies require a significant investment of time.
  • Do a lit review first, to ensure your study is not duplicative.
  • Early in your career, collaborate with senior researchers and scholars  to get experience while amassing a few publications.
Also known as a ‘survey of the literature,’ a lit review provides a historical overview of the published work in a field. Often a lit review reframes the history of scholarly dialogue to present a new direction or hypothesis for next steps.
  • Particularly useful at the start of your career. Publishing a lit review is an efficient way pf entering the publishing field while accomplishing needed research.
  • A publishable lit review will do more than recap the past; it will provide an interesting thesis or perspective on the development of the field.
Theoretical Analysis A theoretical analysis provides a framework for thinking about ideas or issues in a field of study. These articles are common in the humanities and also in fields like business management, communications, and the social sciences.
  • Theoretical analyses can be difficult to summarize in a query letter, because the paper’s impact depends on the power of the argument; you may need to write a substantial portion of the paper before you explore a journal’s interest in it.
  • These kinds of papers often deal with ‘big picture’ thinking and may take a long time to develop.

The Responsibilities of Authorship

A dark side of collaborating is that the system invites abuse. Well-known individuals may lend their name to a manuscript to boost its prestige, even though they had nothing to do with its creation. Scholars with seniority may insist on listing their names first, even though more junior scholars did all the innovative thinking and research on a project.

It’s the responsibility of everyone whose name is listed as an "author" to attest:

  • Their bona fide contribution to the work
  • Support of the research and conclusions
  • Working knowledge of the project or ideas described
  • Their position in the list of co-authors as an accurate representation of their contribution to the project

If you are invited to add your name to a list of "authors," be sure that you can live up to these responsibilities!

In addition to your responsibilities to the collaborative team, you have responsibilities to yourself – to identify and use the tools that will make your life easier and streamline your process as you develop your publishing experience. From these "big picture" questions, let’s zoom in on some specific details.