One of the questions students in a graduate course I teach called “Writing Educational Research” is: What is the difference between a manuscript and an article?
The simplest way to understand it is this:
Manuscript = Written paper pre-publication
Article = Written paper that has been published
Now, scholars love to debate and I’m quite sure that there are academics out there who would delight in a robust debate on this topic. I agree that my definition may be simplistic. My purpose here is not to be reductionist, but rather to demystify the publication process for graduate students and novice researchers.
Examples of manuscripts include:
- Work submitted to a publisher that is under review or not yet published
- Term papers or elements of your thesis that you are crafting for submission to a journal.
The term “article” usually refers to work published in:
- Professional publications
- Edited journals
- Peer-reviewed scholarly or scientific journals
If you are looking at publishing your work in the proceedings of a conference, refer to it as a manuscript until the proceedings have been released.
There can be a delay between when your work is accepted for publication and when it actually appears in print. During this phase, you can call your work a “pre-publication article” or an “article in press”. At this point, you can call it an article because it has been accepted for publication.
Graduate students and novice researchers and scholars present themselves as uninformed and inexperienced when they run around referring to term papers and drafts of their work as “articles”, when the work has not yet been published. You will present yourself as more humble and knowledgeable about the publication process when you refer to your own work as a manuscript when it is in the pre-publication phase.
Readings for Writing Educational Research (EDER 603.23) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1OJ
12 Phrases to Avoid in Your Academic Research Papers http://wp.me/pNAh3-1JX
Active vs. passive voice — How to tell the difference http://wp.me/pNAh3-1HX
Why APA formatting matters http://wp.me/pNAh3-1Hc
How many sources do you need in a literature review? http://wp.me/pNAh3-1Hu
What’s the difference between a citation and a reference? http://wp.me/pNAh3-1F9
Why “as cited in” should be avoided in academic writing http://wp.me/pNAh3-1BH
10 Great writing resources for grad students – http://wp.me/pNAh3-1Bc
How to create a research paper outline: 5 great resources http://wp.me/pNAh3-1y6
Template for a 10-page graduate research paper in social sciences http://wp.me/pNAh3-1s2
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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.