WUURD Submission Guidelines
The goal of the Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest (WUURD) is to reach a broad audience; therefore, we are interested in publishing articles from all undergraduates, regardless of their areas of academic interest. Submissions may be in the form of either feature articles or 300-word summaries. Both types of submissions should be written in The Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition) format. Feature article submissions should be approximately 2,000-3,000 words (10-15 pages) in length. It is expected that manuscripts and summaries be well organized and presented for an educated general audience of undergraduate peers and faculty.
Feature Article Guidelines
Manuscripts will be evaluated by the WUURD Peer Review Board based on their originality and academic—as well as practical—contributions. Furthermore, manuscripts should be accurate and credible and use proper grammar and referencing. The author must also be available and willing to work with the editors to prepare the manuscript for our audience. Your feature article submission should also include a title page and endnotes for works cited.
General Outline for Manuscript
- Introduction: The introduction provides readers with the information they need to understand the rest of the paper. Provide the basis and background of the project, define terms that may not be familiar to readers outside of your discipline, present the research question and objectives, summarize previous research and current status of the topic, discuss the significance of the research, and describe the general methods used to explore your hypothesis.
- Manuscript Body: Describe here what your research entailed. Use the accepted terminology in the field, but be sure to define your terms. In this section you will also describe your methods.
- Results: State your results clearly and succinctly. Do not represent raw data: use text, tables and figures to summarize your data. Thoroughly discuss, interpret and analyze the implications of the findings. Describe any problems you encountered, and explain any unexpected findings.
- Conclusions: Provide a conclusion that restates the question(s), results and broader significance of the research. Plainly and succinctly discuss the impact of the results to enlighten readers, regardless of their academic background. Also address any implications of your research beyond the scope of your research discipline.
In addition to the body of the manuscript, your paper must include a title page featuring the following: an abstract, a list of key terms, and your acknowledgements. The following sections describe in detail these parts of the paper
An abstract is a summary of your paper and/or project. It should be single-spaced, one paragraph, and no more than 300 words. It is NOT an introduction to your paper; rather, it should highlight your major points of content, explain why your work is important, describe how you research your problem, and offer your conclusions. It should be clear and concise, without any grammatical mistakes or typographical errors. It does not include any charts, tables, figures, footnotes, references or other supporting information. The wording of an abstract should be understandable to a well-read, interdisciplinary audience. Specialized terms should be either defined or avoided.
A successful abstract addresses the following points:
- Problem: What is the central problem or question you investigated?
- Purpose: Why is your study important? How it is different from other similar investigations? Why we should care about your project?
- Methods: What are the important methods you used to perform your research?
- Results: What are the major results of the research project? (You do not have to go into all of the results, only the major ones.)
- Interpretation: How do your results relate back to your central problem?
- Implications: Why are your results important? What can we learn from them?
This is a list of up to seven alphabetized words or short phrases that if entered into a search should produce your paper.
In this section, thank people (faculty mentors, advisors) who have supported your research, and acknowledge funding sources where applicable.
A research summary is a precise and well-developed explanation of your research and its significance; it is very similar to an abstract. The summary will introduce the reader to the research objectives/hypotheses and the methods utilized, and present the findings or intended results. It does not include any charts, tables, figures, footnotes, references or other supporting information. Your summary should be no more than 300 words.
General Outline for the Summary
The summary generally follows an introduction/methods /conclusion format. You must keep in mind that you are concisely explaining your research to a general but well-educated audience. Therefore, your research must be understandable to those outside of your area of study.
- Introduction: State your research question, purpose and goals. State why this research is of interest. Define any area specific terminology. Write out abbreviations that are area specific.
- Methods: Keep it general and explain all your terminology. Explain what might be unique in your methods.
- Results and Conclusions: Explain what you found, or what you expect to find. Explain the significance of your findings or expected findings to your study area, as well as other general implications of your findings outside of your discipline.