About Research Reports
The most commonly published format in the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, these articles report quantitative, qualitative, critical, and mixed methods studies and their results. Examples include experiments, textual analyses, content analyses, surveys, design research, interview-based studies, usability tests, and ethnographies.
About Integrative Literature Reviews
A new type of research report actively sought for the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, integrative literature reviews are an empirical research report that systematically collects, classifies, and analyzes a body of literature on a topic. As part of the research report, authors of integrative literature reviews describe the methodology used to search, choose and code studies, and focus on providing a critique or interpretation rather than just reporting data. Popular in other disciplines because they succinctly summarize and empirically assess all of the literature on a particular topic, these types of articles are actively recruited by the Transactions.
Note: We recognize that, in our effort to focus on readers and be clear with authors, our guidelines are extensive and directive. We hope, however, this detailed guidance provides authors with the strongest possible guidance and ensures the most positive outcome possible from the peer-review process.
|Formatting References||Follow the IEEE style for formatting references, which differs from the APA and MLA styles that are more widely used among professional communicators.For instructions on formatting references, see Guidelines for Formatting References.|
|Formatting Text||Note specific guidelines regarding:
See the Guidelines for Formatting Manuscripts for details.
Please use these titles as major section headings
Address these issues in the section
|Introduction||This section is intended to situate the study and explain its significance.|
|Open this section by:
Close this section by:
|Literature Review||This section situates this study within the larger body of literature. Although professional communication is an interdisciplinary field and readers have eclectic interests, the one thing that connects readers of this journal is their interest in professional communication. Therefore, make sure that the literature review situates the study within the larger conversation on professional communication.|
|Immediately following the Literature Review heading, add a short paragraph that provides a preview of the Literature Review section. The paragraph should follow this format: SENTENCE 1: In 30 to 40 words, state the overall purpose of the section. SENTENCE 2: This section starts with list the sub-sections in the section, using words that match word-for-word the titles of the subsections.|
|Start the Literature Review with a sub-section that has the title:Theoretical Orientation|
|In the Theoretical Orientation section, describe the theoretical orientation underlying the study.Some of the theory presented later should be moved to this section.|
|Next, explain how you selected literature to include in the review.Explicitly state which topics were chosen (and, if they were not mentioned in the discussion of the theoretical framework, explain why you chose them):
|Then, theme by theme, present the relevant literature as it relates to this study.|
|If you are presenting a qualitative study, end the discussions of each topic with the suggestion of a relationship that will be explored in the study. Do not yet present the research questions.|
|If you are reporting a quantitative, hypothesis testing study:
For each hypothesis tested, you might state something like, “Based on the relationship between A and B suggested in the literature, we propose this hypothesis: STATE THE HYPOTHESIS.”
|Methodology||Note that readers of the Transactions come from a wide variety of research traditions. So regardless of the methods employed in your study, a large group of readers will have limited experience with them. To help them follow the study—and to provide other researchers with as much information as possible so that they could replicate the study (a purpose of all research reporting)—the Methodology reporting is expanded. Some of it is to bring about transparency, some of it is to bring about greater clarity to all of the readers.|
|Immediately following the Methodology heading, add a short paragraph that provides a preview of the Methodology section. The paragraph should follow this format: SENTENCE 1: In 30 to 40 words, state the overall purpose of the section. SENTENCE 2: This section starts with list the sub-sections in the section, using words that match word-for-word the titles of the subsections.|
|If you are not conducting a study in which hypotheses are being tested (which are presented at the end of the Literature Review section), repeat the research questions.|
|Next add a section, Choice of Research Methodology.In it, explain the choice of the research method chosen and why you chose it over other quantitative, qualitative or critical methodologies.|
|Next explain how the study was conducted.Note that many authors often mix methods and results in this section. Please only explain how the data was collected, do not report what data was collected. That will be reported in the Results section.|
|When describing how the data was collected, include information about each of the following though the order will vary depending on the nature of the study:
|Results||Present the data collected and its analysis in this section.|
|Start the section with a short paragraph that provides a preview of the Results section. The paragraph should follow this format. SENTENCE 1: In 30 to 40 words, state the overall purpose of the section. SENTENCE 2: This section starts with list the sub-sections in the section, using words that match word-for-word the titles of the subsections.|
|The nature of the reporting varies, depending on the nature of the study. Here are some suggestions that cover the types of research most commonly presented in the Transactions on Professional Communication.|
Avoid providing readers with “statistics before [readers] get any narrative sense of outcomes or significance. Frontload narrative, background and support with the math. The ‘story’ of this study needs to be told in a way that makes the reading” easy.
|Conclusions, Limitations and Suggestions for Future Research||This section closes the article by describing the broader implications of the study.This section has 3 separate sub-sections:
The sub-sections should be presented in this order.
|Conclusions. Present the implications of the findings within the larger context of professional communication.Link the conclusions back to the literature cited earlier. In some research traditions, this is called the Discussion.|
|Limitations should openly acknowledge all of the limitations of the article.Some typical issues that need to be addressed:
|Close the article with suggestions for future research that would build on this one.|
|Do not place an additional set of Conclusions at the end of the article.|
|Abstract||Please write the Abstract as a structured abstract. Research has shown that these types of abstracts help readers better remember the article.The format for a structured abstract for a research article or integrative literature review is:
For more information about structured abstracts, click here.
Of a quantitative study:
F. Ganier & R. Querrec, “TIP-EXE: A software tool for studying the use and understanding of procedural documents,” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, vol. 55, no. 2, 105-121, 2012.
Of a qualitative study:
P. Bosch-Sijtsema & A. Sivunen,“Professional virtual worlds supporting computer-mediated communication, collaboration, and learning in geographically distributed contexts,” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, vol. 56, no. 2, 160-175, 2013.
Of a critical study:
B. Kanoksilapatham, “Structure of research article introductions in three engineering subdisciplines,” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, vol. 55, no. 2, 294-309, 2012.
Samples of Integrative Literature Reviews Published in the Transactions
J. Ramey & P. G. Rao, “The systematic literature review as a research genre,” Proceedings of the 2011 International Professional Communication Conference, 2011.
P. G. Rao & J. Ramey, “Use of mobile phones by non-literate and semi-literate people: A systematic literature review,” Proceedings of the 2011 International Professional Communication Conference, 2011.
To learn about the criteria that reviewers consider when providing feedback on a research article or integrative literature review, click here.