• About FRM
  • FRM Submission and Editing Process
  • The Article
  • Article Types and Formats
  • Article Title
  • Spelling and Style
  • Acronymisation and Numbers
  • Audiovisual Aids
  • Referencing and Hyperlinks
  • Formatting and Submission

Future Research Masters (FRM) is a platform for current and former Master of Research students from Western Sydney University to share their research with the Australian public, and with the world. FRM publishes high-quality knowledge translation pieces, sharing specialised knowledge in an accessible form, from many of the university’s research areas. FRM is a project of Western Sydney University’s Graduate Research School, and is edited by current Master of Research students, in collaboration with the Editors-in-Chief, Dr Alex Norman and Dr Jack Tsonis.

The intention behind this document is to provide a comprehensive guide to writing for FRM. Following the requirements set out in this guide does not guarantee that your article will be published; however, it does maximise your chances and will reduce the editorial time and labour required on your part. If you have any questions about this guide, or about writing for FRM in general, write to us at editors@futureresearchmasters.com.

This Author Guide has been prepared to help authors understand the format and genre of FRM. It is an evolving document and we welcome any feedback from authors about how the guide could be made more useful.

If you are considering a pitch, we look forward to hearing from you. If you have already sent us a pitch, we look forward to working with you.

We are excited to have you on board.

The submission and editing process at FRM runs as follows:

  1. Submit your pitch via the form here: www.futureresearchmasters.com/pitch-to-frm
  2. The editorial team will read your pitch and contact you by email to confirm our interest.
  3. If your pitch is accepted, you will be asked to begin writing your article and to submit it by a given date and time.
  4. One of our editors will correspond with you directly and work closely with you to improve the article.
  5. You will receive a marked-up version of the article from our editor and will need to address all suggestions/comments.
    1. You don’t need to accept all suggestions; however, you will need to address all of them.
    2. This process may be repeated a number of times.
  6. A final decision will be made by the editorial team.
  7. You will be advised if and when your article will be published.

In broad terms, the majority of people who read FRM will not be academics or subject experts. They will be ordinary, everyday people looking for reliable and accessible specialist information. This fact should inform your every choice as an author. Your role is to translate, inform and advise.

What’s more, your readers may well be your employers. As a graduate researcher, you enjoy a privileged position in Australia since, to a greater or lesser extent, your place at university and your research is funded by the Australian public. Furthermore, most of your readers will not have access to scholarly databases and will not be able to access your scholarly publications without paying for them again.

Writing an article for FRM is a chance to do two really important things. First, it’s an opportunity to inject some reliable knowledge into the whirlpool of opinion which typifies the news cycle today. Secondly, your article is an opportunity to share your work with the people who funded it.

Language

The essence of knowledge translation is language: explaining it, sharing it, and carefully using it. Good knowledge translators are cognizant of both the ideas they express in language and what they express with their language choices. 

Article types/formats

Generally speaking, all articles submitted to FRM will translate knowledge in one of the following ways:

  • Explanation of a concept or theory related to something.
    • Thing X will help you to understand situation Y.
      • E.g. “A basic understanding of Liberalism will help you understand Neoliberalism.”
  • Fresh take on a current or old issue.
    • Traditionally, problem x has been viewed through y lens; however, looking at it z way may offer us a solution.
      • E.g. “In recent years, Australia has viewed refugee immigration as a burden; however, there are country towns who could really do with a population boost.”
  • Summary of original research.
    • Either your research or someone else’s.
      • E.g. “New data suggests that sunscreen causes coral death.”

Obviously, there are variations on these themes and new ideas are welcome; however, most articles will function like this.

Article Title

Most readers will choose whether or not to read an article based on the title alone. In fact, it may be the only part of your article that actually gets read. The title of your article also functions as a hook, the point of interest for your potential readers. It should tell the reader what your article is about and why they should read it. This means that you need to have your ideal reader in mind and getting it right is imperative.

A good title is short, punchy and quickly tells the reader what your article is about. Good titles can also be funny or contain a pun, though this is not essential. In contrast, a title might be bad because it’s too long, obscure, confusing, boring or, worst of all, not connected to your article.

For instance, an article about your research into Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale could be titled “The Handmaid’s Tale: The warning we need.” This title is fairly plain, though it is short and punchy and it gets the job done. In contrast, “Ofdonald looks radiant: Praise be!” is clever and funny, but is probably too obscure for the majority of your readers.

Finally, using the title of your research project as the title of your article is almost always a terrible idea. A research project investigating new applications for computational Bayesian statistics is really interesting and is worth writing an article about; however, the words computational, Bayesian and statistics are not sufficiently accessible or interesting to use in the title of your article.

Spelling

Spelling is about more than correct or incorrect: it’s part of your identity as a writer. At FRM, we are proud of our Australian identity. As part of this, we use Australian English, as set out in the Macquarie Dictionary (7th ed., 2017). Therefore, be careful how you spell words like colour, analyse, therefore, theatre, oesophagus and analogue.

Style, voice and register

To maximise knowledge translation, all articles written for FRM need to be engaging and written stylishly. This is principally a function of your language register (the variety of language that you use in a given situation). As most of your readers will read at a high-school level, a professional, though conversational register is best. At its best, knowledge translation feels like an informative and interesting discussion between writer and reader.

To achieve this, your article should:

  • Avoid technical terms and jargon.
    • If technical terms or jargon are absolutely essential, and they rarely are, they absolutely must be explained.
  • Use contractions where appropriate (e.g. let’s, we’re, they’re, don’t, won’t); however, avoid using etc or Etc.
  • Consistently use collective pronouns (e.g. we, they, us, them) throughout.
    • In short, if you begin your article by referring to a collective “we” or “us,” don’t end with a reference to an individual “you” or “I.”
  • Consistently use the same grammatical person (first, second or third) throughout.
    • This can take the form of a second person address to the readership (e.g. following these steps will help you), a first person comment (e.g. I believe this to be true), or a third-person reference to a group (e.g. they followed).
  • Use the active, not passive, voice.
    • E.g. “I posted the letter,” not “the letter was posted by me.”

Acronymisation

Acronymisation is a useful way to convey a lot of information quickly and you should feel free to acronymise multi-word names in your article. However, you should introduce large or compound terms fully in running text the first time you write them, with the acronym in parentheses immediately after. Some acronyms are sufficiently well known that introduction will be unnecessary; however, these are surprisingly few. So, “the ABC,” “AMP” and “ANZ,” but “Council of Australian Governments (COAG)” and “Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).”

Numbers and Symbols

As a general rule, numbers should be spelled out most of the time, especially if they refer to a number of people. Even so, FRM encourages the use of arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4…) in running text, especially for articles dealing with numerical data or statistics. So, “one in ten Australians suffer from Asthma,” but “452 people made formal complaints.”

In contrast, FRM generally discourages the use of symbols and mathematical operators; however, there are valid exceptions, including when expressing negative numbers and when expressing percentages or scores. So “-7,” “14%” and “7/10,” but never “<10” or “13+.” Using the ampersand (&) is not permitted most of the time (e.g. always use “and” in running text); however, is permissible in proper nouns or where it occurs normally in a phrase (e.g. Angus & Robertson).

As FRM is primarily an online publication, the inclusion of audio-visual aids is a necessity. For this reason, all pitches must be accompanied by suggestions for audio-visual aids. Please see below for further guidance and direct any questions you may have to the editors.

Images

Obviously, images will enhance the presentation of your article, especially if carefully chosen for illustrative purposes. As a bare minimum, your article will need a ‘title picture’ for display on the webpage.

To an extent, the editors can help you to find images for your article; however, if you need images of specific species or places, you will need to discuss this with the editors. For instance, sourcing an image of a dog with a ball would be easy, though an image of a Mahogany Glider (Petaurus gracilis) leaving a den in a large Spotted Gum (Corymbia variegata) would be extremely difficult.

You will need to supply any images of your research that you want to accompany your article. Please discuss this with the editors.

Videos

Like images, videos can help to enhance the presentation of your article. Naturally, the use of video aids in articles is encouraged; however, the videos will need to be approved by the editors and available on the internet. This means that all videos (or links) must be sent to the editors for approval. As a general rule, videos accompanying an article should help to explain a concept briefly and succinctly, so as not to lead your readers away.

Graphs and tables

Graphs and tables can also be useful ways to represent data in your article. However, all graphs and tables must be provided, in full, with your article (e.g. the editors will not create them for you). They must also be easy to read and interpret.

The use of graphs and tables does not remove the need for other visual aids and, generally speaking, should only be used when absolutely necessary. If you would like to include a graph or table in your article, you will need to discuss this with the editors.

Gifs and animations

Gifs and animations can make excellent additions to your article; however, the editors are not able to find or create these for you. Please discuss the use of gifs and animations with the editors.

Formatting

  • All articles must be 800-1000 words.
    • All articles that fall outside this range, regardless of quality, will be summarily rejected.
  • Subheadings.
    • Good knowledge translation is easy to follow and is structured logically. As such, the use of subheadings is necessary, and allows readers to follow your argument in small, bite-sized pieces.
    • Generally speaking, a knowledge translation article of 800 words should have 2-4 subheadings.
  • All text in Times New Roman and left aligned.
    • Title: size 16, bold.
    • Subheadings: size 14, bold.
    • Body text: size 12.
  • Capitalisation in the title and subheadings.
    • Only the first letter of the first word of a title, subtitle or subheading, and the first letter of the first word after a colon or semicolon in a subheading should be capitalised (e.g. “An up-to-date guide to pedantry,” “Long-term health benefits for non-smokers,” “Your title: A user’s guide,” or “I prefer pens; Others prefer pencils”).
    • The standard rules for capitalisation of proper nouns, including people, places, books and artworks, apply here (E.g. “Bram Stoker’s Dracula: A reader’s guide,” or “The Sydney housing market explained”).
    • Refer to the use of capitalisation within the title and subheadings of this document if you are unsure.
  • Line spacing: 1.5 throughout.
  • Paragraph spacing: 0 throughout.
  • Paragraphs should be separated by one 1.5 spaced return line.
  • Margins should be at least 2cm on all sides.
  • Audiovisual aids.
    • Sent as attachments if you have them.
    • Please suggest where in the body of your article you think each item should go. Such as <Insert Image 1 Here>, or <Insert image of Koala here>, or <insert video here>.

File submission

  • Email submissions to editors@futureresearchmasters.com
  • All submissions must be in .docx format.
    • Audiovisual aids should either be sent as separate attachments to your submission email or provided in link only (e.g. in a hyperlink) at this stage.
  • Please name your .docx file using the following formula (to aid with our internal file system): Year_LastFirst_FRM_ArticleTitle.docx.
    • E.g. 2018_VaneSybill_FRM_DorianSucks.docx

Author info

When you submit your essay to the editorial team, please provide some basic details about yourself and your research in your email:

  • Full name.
  • Recent headshot that can be displayed with your articles. This photo must be square cropped and be clear (not pixelated).
  • Institution, school or research cluster.
  • 1-sentence bio written in the third person.
  • Link to institution, school or research cluster website (possibly your page/profile if you have one).
  • Contact details.
    • Preferred form of contact.
    • This will likely be displayed as a hyperlink.
  • E.g. Sybill Vane, PhD candidate in Misery, School of Fiction, University of Misfortune. Sybill Vane is a PhD candidate at the University of Misfortune researching misery and revenge. www.misfortune.edu/fiction/HDR/sybillvane