Practice-related feedback

Writing an article provided a chance to gain valuable feedback

Despite being an experienced nurse and lecturer, Nelson Selvaraj initially found writing an article for publication a daunting task, but says the overall experience was hugely rewarding

Despite being an experienced nurse and lecturer, Nelson Selvaraj initially found writing an article for publication a daunting task, but says the overall experience was hugely rewarding


Nelson Selvaraj says he gained a deeper understanding
of what it takes to write a scholarly article.

Converting an academic assignment into a journal article requires commitment and a different writing approach. As a novice academic writer, I felt daunted at the thought of converting my master’s dissertation into a manuscript for publication – it seemed like one of the most challenging academic tasks of my nursing career.

Nonetheless, the overall experience was hugely rewarding.

The quality of my dissertation and the feedback I received from supervisors motivated me to publish my work. But I soon realised that the structure of a journal article is very different from that of a dissertation.

I read the guidelines for authors on the Nursing Standard website and familiarised myself with the structure and style of presentation by reading similar articles in the magazine.

Feedback from reviewers

The feedback from the peer reviewers was specific and supportive. One of them mentioned some minor problems with referencing. Such errors can reduce the academic rigour of an article, and I could see the issue with the referencing as I hadn’t kept to the publisher’s guidelines. Sticking to the journal’s requirements is a simple rule and this was a valuable lesson.

One of my strengths, as mentioned by one of the reviewers, is ‘the ability to make a coherent argument based on the current evidence’, which is important for scholarly writing. But as another reviewer said, I needed to ‘explain the complex terms in enough detail’. I realised it is easy to assume that readers will understand everything but that may not always be the case.

For a novice writer, having your work reviewed by experts can be a daunting experience, but the comments helped transform my academic skills development. I considered each piece of feedback as a new learning experience, and this brought me to a deeper understanding of what it takes to write a scholarly article.


Nelson Selvaraj is a lecturer in adult nursing at Cardiff University

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