1. Focused analysis. Choose your level and unit of analysis.
You cannot analyze everything equally well in the same paper. Good analysis is a concentrated analysis of one particular problem. So hence, focus is important.
How to make a level and unit of analysis? You have to develop:
– an anchor of your story – a case of one program, of one university, or the whole system – and thus analyze it at either micro, or meso, or macro levels.
– If you want to do a multi-level analysis, then develop a matrix approach, and show specificities at each particular level separately, rather than mixing them or keeping them untangled all the time.
As for the unit of analysis, try to create a memorable illustration of some subject under investigation. Details are important. Dramatic moments can be important (You want to convey to your reader that the problem is very serious, don’t you? Otherwise why talk about it. Besides,your reader may not know anything about your country, your university, your specific program, or a case of failure with innovative strategies in your academic department or in your research team, for example).
Logically, say what was before. Then say what has changed in reality over time. In reality, not in aspirations. The changes can be minimal but they can be. You want to talk about aspirations? Do it in the “Discussion” section, where you can mention what may happen with regard to policies or organizational changes in the future. Don’t make the whole paper about the future (there is a threat to end up with wishful thinking. It’s not a scientific paper then.)
The authors are also required to integrate their discussion across all the sections. The broad and long literature review does not make sense if it transcends the boundaries of your level and unit of analysis.
3. Simpler sentences; logical paragraphs.
The formula is simple: from (1) a broad statement about the problem and how it is discussed In theoretical or empirical literature, to (2) a little but memorable story, and then (3) back to generalization (but with emphasis on the value your story adds to the previous theoretical or empirical literature).
Write in simple sentences. The formula of good English is usually simple: Who + Did + What + (For Whom, Onto Whom) + Where + When. This formula can omit some of the parts in the brackets. But the sequence is pretty much the same.
Each paragraph has its own logic: 1) make an opening statement; 2) elaborate this statement with explanations, details, and examples; and 3) conclude the statement with making a bridge to the next paragraph.
Please remember: one statement per paragraph; each statement should be elaborated.
Some say that the paragraph can be problematic for reading if it is more than 12 lines. The paragraphs with less than 4 lines are also problematic if they do not elaborate the argument sufficiently. (Some newspapers use only one or two sentences for the sake of faster reading. However, they also narrow the column to make the reading faster and more convenient for a busy and hectic reader).
Sentence length in paragraphs: making sentences of the same length creates a boring text in the paragraph. Some sentences can be long, others – short. This creates rhythm. Likewise, it does in music.
Sub-sections: five or six paragraphs make a subsection. The sub-section allows to make a coherent emphasis on some issue or theme, defined by a section such as introduction or literature review.
Usually, the following makes a reasonable proportion of volumes of paragraphs in each section (Introduction – problem statement, 15% of the paper, Theoretical Framework and Methodology – 30%, Findings – 30%, Discussion -reconnection with theoretical and methodological discourse of national and global literature – 15%, Conclusions -10%).
4. Active voice in English grammar.
You can keep your reader fully engaged and make him or her read your paper to the end if you use active verbs instead of passive verbs as predicate after the subject. That is, “The new Rector implemented an innovative model of faculty performance evaluation” (active voice), instead of “An innovative model of faculty performance evaluation was implemented” (passive voice). The passive voice can periodically be used but not more than in 5% sentences, as a rule.
5. References and bibliography.
See recommendations about the APA style references at this site:
Remember that the references and bibliography are often mixed. The references are those works of other authors that you have used in your study. Bibliography is a larger set of works to which you would like to attribute your paper. Some authors differentiate the two, others mix them. Some authors support their argument by references to other works on the same subject (in this respect the reference can work more as part of bibliography, rather than a reference). Use (see also Clark 1998, Carnoy 2014) for bibliographic reference, and (Clark 1998, p. 25) for direct reference. Use quotation marks for direct references. Sometimes authors omit (see …) as shown in the previous sentence, but then enumerate a range of authors related to this argument. What you may want to create is a web of works to which you connect and communicate.
6. Native speakers of English as your co-authors or editors of your paper.
Many universities and scholars in non-English speaking countries engage English-speaking students or faculty members, who study, work or visit with their departments and universities, for editing or co-authoring papers. The arrangements about co-authorship or editorial support can be various. It depends on how much work might be needed to improve style, paragraphs, literature review etc. Explore and engage these opportunities at your university. This can be helpful for this paper, as well as probably, for your other papers, if you and your partner find collaboration mutually beneficial. Conventionally, at least try to mention your individual helpers (as well as any financial sources of support coming from some internal or external grants) in the very final section of “Acknowledgements”, if any.
Try to read these recommendations several times before you begin to work on a new version. Cheer up and remember that any good paper can take up to five revisions (probably fewer for native speakers, but not fewer than two or three times).