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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

Writing an Impactful Journal Article: Resources and Tips

Initial research using library resources

Below are some tips related to starting the research that will culminate in a journal article.

Identify quality sources of background Information

Learn as much as you can early on about the larger context of your research question. Without a lot of background information, you will have difficulty both contexualizing and focusing your research topic. 

Librarians provide a variety of subject guides that help you identify valuable and reliable background resources.  Go to the "How To..." section of the library homepage to see these guides. Better yet, talk to your subject librarian about sources of synoptic or background information about your field, including online reference resources and literature databases.

Review articles, common in STEM and social science fields, are a great way to master developments in a field before you make your own contributions to it. Talk to your subject librarian about how to locate review articles in your particular field, using Lehigh's library databases.

Front-end your bibliographic work

Given the ever-accumulating mountain of literature in any field, it helps to front-end your bibliographic searching so you avoid replicating the research of others. *Lots* of time spent doing systematic and focused bibliographic work, using well-constructed searches of library databases, can avoid severe headaches later. 

Early on, set up email alerts, for example from library databases such as Web of Science, or Google Scholar, for new literature relating to your field. If you like a particular article or book, set up an email alert for literature that cite it. This is very important for purposes of tracking late-breaking literature as you do your research. Your librarian can help you design alerts.

Using Equations? 

Try Overleaf.

Organizing your research

Citation Management

The library supports RefWorks, which enables you to create your own online library of bibliographic, citations, and notes, with links to the full text of scholarly works. RefWorks also allows you to generate lists of citations and format papers in an appropriate style.   Other citation management softwares are available such as EndNote, Zotero and Mendeley. 

Research Group Management

If you have a STEM or social sciences research group, consider the use of Confluence or other wiki-based software to manage all aspects of your research. 


Use BrowZine to easily find, read, and monitor thousands of scholarly journals available from LTS, or through Open Access publishers, covering all disciplines.
It enables you to:

  • Browse titles by subject to easily find journals of interest
  • Easily view table of contents of current past journals
  • Create a personal bookshelf of favorite journals
  • Share with other researchers by posting to Facebook and Twitter.


Writing an an article that involves data? Before embarking on the research, consider preregistration...

From OSF Preregistration: "Improve your research with preregistration. By writing out specific details such as data collection methods, analysis plans, and rules for data exclusion, you can make important decisions early on and have a clear record of these choices. This can help reduce biases that occur once the data are in front of you."

Applying for grants

Some tips follow related to funding your research.

Sources of Information about Grant Funding

See the SPIN database for grant and funding information. Also, consult with your librarian for tips about how to use library databases to identify funding sources. E.g., after doing a literature search on your topic in Web of Science, see the Funding Agencies category on the left hand side of the search results. This can help you identify grants to which you can apply.

Data Management Plans ("DMPs")

Our guide Data Management Plan Assistance for Grants provides resources for writing data management plans required in grant applications. It includes information about data storage options available on campus as well as ideas about how to organize your data collection and management.