Submission Guidelines

Please use the following to aid in the production of your submission to The Civilian. The purpose of your submission is to provide a summary of your published work that is able to be understood by the general public. We look forward to hearing about your research!

1. Your work must be accepted in an accredited academic journal within the past 3-5 years.

2. You must be an author on the author list of the publication. 

The average American reading level is 7th/8th-grade. We work to publish each one of our pieces below a 12th grade USA reading level. To start, please work to get as close to that level as you are able. You can check the reading level in Microsoft Word (Review > Spelling and Grammar > Document stats > Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level). Your piece should at least be below a 15th grade level upon submission. You can still explain complex concepts if necessary, but keep the language and sentences simple.

Outline of Your Summary (total recommended length: max 2-3 pages single-spaced, 12pt font)
In the first part of the piece, you should lay out the big picture question that the research addresses, ideally linking the paper’s question to a real-world issue, idea, or experience that the reader can easily relate to or understand. Lead off with a hook, a sentence or two that evokes empathy or curiosity about the research (try to avoid starting with statistics). Then lay out the relevant background, including previous studies, the agreed upon ideas in the field, and any gaps in our understanding. A single- sentence, high-level summary of the finding may be useful here.

The next section should delve more deeply into the hypothesis or main question of the paper – you should clearly state the goal of the paper. You can then go into how you went about addressing the question, and lay out the general methods used (for example, if you used fMRI, you can briefly explain how fMRI works and what it is used for). This might be a good place to explain any methods that are unique or new to this particular study. Leave out methods that are not vital to understanding the main point of the paper. Try to avoid jargon, and make sure that you define (either explicitly or implicitly) any words that your audience might not know in this context.

The next section should go into the results of the research. Identify the main storyline of the work, and pick the experiments most necessary for understanding the paper. It is important to note that all experiments will likely not be able to be discussed. Walk the reader through the logical flow of the most important experiments, explaining the purpose, results, and interpretation of these experiments. Talk about why these findings are interesting or important, but do not make any unsubstantiated claims.

The last section should again reiterate the purpose of the study, and should summarize what you found. This section should also include some analysis of the study: what are the strengths and weaknesses, what are the next steps, how does this study fit into and shape our current understanding of this particular field, how does everything relate back to the real-world issue/idea/experience from your introductory section, etc. What is the main point that you would like the reader to take away from this piece?

*Note: There is no limit to how many times you submit. We encourage people to submit summaries for multiple papers. However, you cannot submit for the same paper more than once.