Information on Writing
All articles must contain information of immediate or potential relevance for the solution-focused practitioner.
Resourses for Authors
Support in the Writing Process
Stylistic reminders special to us
- Make sure to define the key concepts used in the article. While it is not necessary to explain every detail about basic solution-focused concepts such as "the miracle question," authors are encouraged to provide short examples whenever it is possible to do so without distracting from the overall theme of the text. Comparatively ambiguous, complex, or previously less developed solution-focused concepts such as the "not-knowing" stance typically require a definition and a reference in order to clarify their relevance to solution-focused practice.
- Write "solution-focused" like this, in lower case letters and with a hyphen.
- Keep abrevations to a minimum. The APA Style allows abbreviations in second and following instances, except at the beginning of sentences. But abbreviations should be limited to instances when a) the abbreviation is standard and will not interfere with the reader’s understanding (examples include HIV, USA or ADHD) and b) if space and repetition can be greatly avoided through abbreviation. Do not abbrevate the term "solution-focused".
- Write with the fellow colleagues in mind who are already knowledgeable in the solution-focused model.
- Strive to use simple rather than complicated words so the text is as internationally accessible as possible and free of jargon.
- The word “we” should always refer to the authors, not to the reader audience or any other group.
- Let facts and descriptions shine rather than personal beliefs and convictions.
Most solution-focused practitioners may have encountered examples of the APA Style at one point or another. APA Style describe how to structure an article, how to incert refernces and much more, here are some helpful resources regarding APA Style:
Written information on APA Style (link)
APA Style information on OWL (link)
Translation, Grammar, and Spelling
Free online translation at Google translate (link).
Free online grammar and spell check, very good if English is your second language (link)
Ready to Pay for Service? You can pay for a professional check of your text, one good alternative is Firstediting (link). They will help you with every possible need you have in preparing your article. Including, English as second language, APA style and over all language checks and editing at a fair cost.
Is English Not Your First Language?
Here are some tips for you:
- Write in your native language first; make the article as ready as possible using your native language. Use the guidelines in the menu that describes the sort of article you are writing.
- Translate the article you are going to submit using Google (free) or pay a translator
- Check the text and fix the obvious errors manually
- Check the English text at SpellCheckPlus; if you do smaller chunks of text at one time, it is free.
- Ask a friend or colleague who speaks English as their first language to proofread your writing. When you are sufficiently satisfied with the language checks you have done, it is time to submit your article.
- After you have submitted your article, you should expect to get useful comments and suggestions from the peer review and from the editor, so don't overwork the language aspect of the article. It is better to polish the English after the article is approaching a final accepted version.
- If you are to submit an article that was published before in another language the best alternative is to have it professionally translated.
Writing a short article is a good first step toward building writing confidence. The exercise below may be helpful in getting started. If you would like to start with a scholarly text right away, try writing a book review of a scholarly text.
How to write an article of 400-1000 words
A good article of this sort can be used as blog post or perhaps published in a magazine, or provide you with a starting point for a scholarly article. This is a great way to start writing, and if you want to write a scholarly article you can test yourself by sitting down and writing a shorter piece just to put your original ideas and points on paper. Following the instructions below will provide you a nice little article as an extra benefit.
The description below is just intended to let you know some tricks to get started writing. It can be easy to get stuck at one stage or another; use the timeframes to get on with writing and feel the satisfaction of have written a short article in less than one (1!) hour. Look at the menu at the left and check out the options to continue developing your writing in an academic direction.
One Hour Article. (Exercise to Get You Started)
1) Start by writing down various ideas for articles you could write. Have this list readily available to add to whenever you get an idea. When you start writing down ideas, you may experience that more ideas pop up.
2) Choose a topic. Choose what you want to write about and narrow it down a bit more. Try to think of a title for your article. Use no more than 5 minutes. At 4 minutes, write down what you have so far and go to the next stage.
3) Brainstorm. Write down everything that you can about the subject during a 5 minute period. This will be the second and following paragraphs of the article, and the most important content is to be found here. If you have much to write, several additional paragraphs may result, but try to keep to a maximum of four paragraphs.
A word of caution. If you chose a subject that you know nothing about, research will be necessary before proceeding to this stage. And sometimes, after digging a little deeper into a topic, you will find it necessary to do additional research before continuing further.
4) The first paragraph. The first section explains what you will write about in the rest of the article and what the reader will know after reading the article. (5 minutes)
5) The second and following paragraphs. Describe one idea per paragraph and use your notes from the brainstorming. (5 minutes per idea/paragraph)
6) The last paragraph. Here you repeat the key points of the article and highlight them. You simply tell your readers what you have just told them and what you hope they learned. Do not put new material in the last paragraph. (10 minutes)
7) Now it is time to check spelling and grammatical errors. Read the article aloud to yourself. (15 minutes)
Congratulations! Now you have written an article in less than an hour!
- Try to get your article to answer the following questions: why, where, when, and how.
- Do not worry about spelling and grammar while you brainstorm. The important thing is that you get the basic content and a sensible number of points. Then you can retrospectively fix all else.
- If you are experiencing "writer's block," take a time-out and put the paper away; however, try first to just go on with writing without worrying so much about the quality of the text and your ideas as you write.
Articles on Research
This type of article describes original research and development of a subject. We welcome these kinds of articles. This article is based on your original empirical studies, analysis of original data or secondary analysis of existing data. Both research based on qualitative or/and quantitative designs are welcome. The article should be approximately 3500-4000 words in APA style (link to OWL with information about the APA style) and should include a structured abstract of 100–300 words (headings to include aims, method, results, and conclusions)
When you write your article, you don't necessarily need to write the first part first. The easiest way to write, and often the one that will make the most sense, is to start writing the part about the Method (you can write this during the actual research, while you have the details fresh in your mind) and then continue to write Result, Introduction, Discussion, Abstract, and last, decide on the Title.
The Content of the Article
The structure of the article should follow the progression of the headings below in the order in which they appear:
Title. The title of the article should be approximately 5-15 words and describe the article accurately and concisely
Abstract. An abstract is a summary, a condensed version of the article in 100-200 words. The abstract should be able to "stand alone" in presenting the study:
- Objective: The problem and aim addressed in the study
- Method and process in short (sample, design, analyses)
- Result: Main finding and the most significant implications of the findings
Introduction. Include the following:
1) Definition of the problem of inquiry and objective.
- What is the problem and what is the purpose of the study? Define why this study is important and of interest. What does this study contribute?
- Explain your key concepts.
2) Literature review
- Describe the current literature relevant to your study. Don't leave any surprises for the discussion.
- Explain why your study is needed. What is lacking that this study can clarify?
3) What method did you use and why?
Tip: Avoid simply listing facts; use a narrative style to clearly explain the connections between the problem at hand and the aim/objective of the study. Describe the research question and the design of the study, as well as earlier research with your study.
Method. The method section can best be described as a story. How did you go about conducting the study? Include the following when appropriate:
- How were the participants recruited to the study?
- Consent and ethics committee approval!
- Beginning number and drop-outs.
- Include information about sex, age, race, education, cognitive status, illnesses, medicines, and other factors that could contribute to the understanding of the research conditions regarding the participants.
Tip: Most of this information is best presented in the form of a graphic table. Describe the most important in the text.
2) Material or Instruments:
-Tests, medicines, questioners, report forms used, statistical computer program used.
Tip: Before you construct your own material, check to see what was used in previous studies. This will make it possible to compare results and build knowledge more easily within your field of study. Write in detail, but not excessively. No theory here, just state the facts. Let yourself be inspired by how others have done a report similar to yours.
-Describe the design of the study.
-Describe chronologically the passage of events during the research process, using the design to make the research.
-Use imperfect, past tense.
-If the procedure is complicated, use a figure.
4) Analysis of data:
-Describe briefly. If the sort of analysis you used is uncommon, you may need to describe it in more detail.
Tip: Write so clearly that the reader could conceivably use the article to repeat the study. Use, if possible, a method that makes it possible to compare your results with other research and conduct meta-analyses.
Result. What did you discover? What data are most relevant?
- Select the appropriate way to display numbers: Few numbers - use text; many numbers - use a table; important numbers - use a figure.
Tip: Do not overstate your results:
"The drug cured 1/3 of the infected mice, another 1/3 were not affected, and the third mouse got away.”
Mirror the structure of the Method section in the Result section. Do not discuss what you found, just report on the plain results.
1) Main Findings
- Present your main findings succinctly
- Include unexpected findings
- Compare with earlier research and therory.
2) Methodologcial conciderations
- Describe possible limitations of your findings as well as the strength.
3) Practical implications
- Discuss the practical implications of your findings
4) Research implications
- Discuss the theoretical implications of your findings
- Imply future research when it adds to the content, but do not say “more research is needed in this area” simply as scholarly disclaimer.
- summarize the above discussion
References. Use APA Style for the references.
Research Review Article
The purpose of a review paper is to review recent progress on a particular topic of research. Overall, the paper summarizes the current state of knowledge of the topic. It creates an understanding of the topic for the reader by discussing the findings presented in recent research papers and the author’s conclusions about the state of knowledge regarding the topic.
A review paper integrates the results from several primary literature papers to produce a coherent argument about a topic or a focused description of a field. It then synthesizes the information into a new way of looking at the topic. Almost every scientific journal has special review articles that you could look at for a reference on how to write and structure the article. Researchers commonly use reviews to communicate with each other and the public. A key aspect of a review article is that it provides the research evidence for a particular point of view in a field.
The emphasis of a review paper is interpreting the primary literature on the subject. You need to read several original research articles on the same topic and draw your own conclusions about the meanings of those papers.
Choose a topic. It should be quite specific (not too wide). If you find that you started too wide, you can always narrow your focus during the process. Maybe there are several interesting questions that you are trying to cover at the same time. Then you may end up wanting to write more than one article within one wider subject. Recognize this and choose a smaller idea to start with.
Research your topic. You will want to base most of your topic research on scientifically legitimate sources of information obtained from primary literature and other appropriate references.
Overview of the structure of the article: Your article should consist of four general sections: Introduction, the body of the paper, conclusion and future directions, literature cited. Use APA style when you write your article (link to a description of the APA style)
Review articles contain neither materials and methods sections nor an abstract. Use topic headings. Replace the topic heading that reads "Body of the paper" above and instead insert the topic headings to refer to the actual concepts or ideas covered in that section in your article.
- Introduction and Background
- Make it brief (~1/5 of the paper’s total length).
- Grab the reader's interest while introducing the topic.
- Explain the "big picture" relevance.
- Provide the necessary background information for the topic.
Body of the Paper
Empirical evidence: Describe important results from recent primary literature articles and explain how those results shape the current understanding of the topic. Mention the types of research done and their corresponding data, but do not repeat the studies’ procedures step by step. Point out and address any controversies in the field. Use figures and/or tables to present your own synthesis of the original data or to show key data taken directly from the original papers.
Summarize your major points. Point out the significance of these results. Discuss the questions that remain in the area. Keep it brief.
Typically, at least 8-10 references are required.
Essay- Basic Template
This is a description of the basic structure of an essay. Use this when you want to write, for example, about your practice, your ideas, the solution-focused practice development, case descriptions and so on. For more ideas and details on very specific types of essays see also this pages Case Study, Commentary Article, book review, interview.
When you write a paper on research there is a more specific research article template on this page (link)
Remember to us APA style (link to OWL with information about APA style),
A Tip: Write down your ideas just as they come to you before you start structuring your writing into an article!
Word Count: Use as many words you need, but no more … (an article often have between 1000 and 4000 words and sometimes more...) Use "Word Count" in "Tools" in the word program on your computer to get an idea how many words you have used.
Organization of an Essay article
An abstract is a summary, a condensed version of the article in 100-200 words. The abstract should be able to "stand alone" in presenting the essay. It should include this parts.
- The aim and/or claim of the article
- Summary of the main ideas
- Summary of the conclusion
key words: define the key words, which words should result in your article coming up in a web search?
The introduction is the first paragraph in the essay, and it should accomplish a few specific goals.
- Capture the reader's interest
- Introduce the topic
- Make a claim and/or define an aim for the article, express your opinion in a thesis sentence.
The thesis sentence should provide your specific assertion and convey clearly your point of view. The claim or aim or thesis could be directed toward the subject of the article ("We propose that the use of scaling questions is essential for solution-focused therapy") or toward the usefulness of the article for the reader ("We aim to inspire the creative use of scaling questions with a couple of examples from our practice"). Your claim or aim is the answer to the one of this questions, chose one of them to help in inspiration in formulating your claim or opinion; "what is the point of writing this article?", "what do I hope the reader will get out it?", "what do I hope to share with the reader" , "why do I think this article would be of interest to read", "why did I put time in to write this particular article" or "What use is this article".
The body of the essay will include paragraphs, each limited to one main idea that supports your thesis. You should state your idea, then back it up with evidence or examples. The headlines in this section are chosen by the authors and depend on the subject.
The final paragraph will summarize your main points and re-assert your main claim. It should point out the main points, but should not repeat specific examples.
Once you complete the first draft of your essay, it's a good idea to re-visit the thesis statement in your first paragraph. Read your essay to see if it flows well.
You might find that the supporting paragraphs are strong, but they don't address the exact focus of your thesis. Simply re-write your thesis sentence to fit your body and summary more exactly.
By doing this, you will ensure that every sentence in your essay supports, proves, or reflects your thesis.
5) References (remember to use APA style)
When you have sent in your article you will get a confirmation within 24 hours that we received your article. All articles are peer reviewed.
Below is a guideline for writing a commentary article or invited essay. We hope this template will facilitate the writing of your commentary article. Most commentary articles share some common parts. Note, however, that these guidelines are only intended as a starting point. Since persuasion is typically an important goal of a commentary article, the topic chosen should be at least somewhat controversial in view of the reader audience.
This should clearly indicate your position regarding the topic.
The preamble provides the reader a background to the current controversy or discussion and reveals why the writer considers the topic sufficiently important to address in the article.
This part provides a detailed description of the author’s position. It often contains suggestions or requests.
4. Arguments and counterarguments (pro et contra)
In this section, a detailed argument is given for why the author’s position is correct. A well-written and persuasive commentary piece provides relevant and sustainable arguments. Presenting the counterargument as fairly and accurately as possible will further the paper’s credibility.
Provide sources for all assertions, and use exact citations whenever possible to support all major counterarguments. Refrain from mean-spirited statements or unessential information that would be likely to offend or embarrass an adversary, as such behavior is unprofessional as well as counterproductive. To a large degree, our own position can only achieve strength and credibility in its conclusion in proportion to the level of fairness and accuracy with which it presents the counter-position. However, bear in mind that concerns about “winning the argument” should never override the actual content of the article. An effective commentary article is typically written about a topic of importance to the author from a position of experience and perspective.
Summarize your position and your best arguments.
Provide clear references.
Formulating a convincing argument requires a clear mind, a thesis, and specific reasons that support the proposed view. This is best accomplished with a clearly defined thesis supported by well structured arguments.
- The author should be familiar with the subject of the thesis and well informed about the facts and the values that are used to support it.
- The introduction should invite the readers’ commitment to the issue.
- Ensure that the arguments provided are directly related to the thesis.
- Counterarguments also must clearly indicate the writer’s familiarity with thinking represented in the counter-position.
- The author must successfully respond to the counterarguments. The inability to do so during the process of writing may be an indication that the writer doesn’t have a credible case.
- Use paragraph subdivisions and headings to clarify the various sections of the article
- Make the language varied, powerful, and effective. The word “we” should always refer to the authors of the text at hand and never to the reader or any other group.
Below you will find a template for a book review. We hope it will be of help in writing and aid you in focusing on the things you want to share about the book you have read. Note that this template is only a starting point and that although all the headings may not be included in the finished text, they should be used as guiding the process during writing.
1. Review of [Book title] by [author's name]
The preamble includes:
• Book's title with any explanation of it
• Full reference information
• Short presentation of the author
3. The book’s main focus
Describes the book's main focus briefly. For example, "This book offers new ideas for how we can understand and approach teen pregnancy."
4.The book's setting
Describe the context and the environment the author writes about. What are the place and time the author has collected the data and ideas?
5. The book's main ideas
This part of the review describes the main ideas of the book. The book should have a few main ideas but not very many. Every idea in this part may be a sub-heading, as below:
Idea 1: Start by giving a short presentation of the idea and its place in the content.
Idea 2: New idea as above.
6. The book's form and composition
……Form. Describe the author's writing style. The form refers to how the text is structured. Is the language figurative? Is the language clear? Are there many difficult words and very many references and links to other literature? Are the main ideas clear? Does it use simple sentences? Does it have an adequate number of references?
……Composition. Describe how the author has chosen to tell the story. Are there separate parts of the book that describe the main ideas from different perspectives? For example, one part may have the theory and main ideas, one part case stories to illustrate them, one part exercises or tips for learning new skills. Or are these interwoven throughout the book around different themes? Or does the book have a more purely theoretical or practical focus?
Summarize what message you think the author would want to give to the reader of the book (or if you think that no message is available). This part of the review is an analysis of the book from your perspective. Try to give some examples and quotes from the book that confirm your thesis of the book's message.
It is, after all, a book review you are writing and what would it be without a recommendation? But first, you need to discuss what is good and bad about the book and why you think so. Try to save your opinions about the book for this part of the review; give neutral descriptions in the above sections. This gives a space for readers to get first impressions of their own.
In the discussion part, you can also compare the book with other literature, which gives it a context; again, it is up to you to analyze the book.
Explain everything you write carefully and use moderate rather than combative language; this will make the reader more focused on the content of what you write and on the book that is the focus of the review, and not shift the focus to you--the person writing the review, sitting behind your keyboard.
Our recommendation is that you should only write a review of a book that you like to recommend others to read. Your recommendation should be underpinned with arguments. Also include who you believe the book would especially fit and why.
When making the final touches to your book review, carefully check this again:
• Double-check the spelling of the author name(s), character names, special terms, and publisher.
• Try to read from the viewpoint of your audience. Is there too much/not enough summary? Does your argument about the text make sense to someone who has not yet read the book?
• Should you include direct quotes from the reading? Do they help support your arguments? Double-check your quotes for accuracy!
Choose Your Interviewee
An interview is a great opportunity to ask someone about the things you want to know, what they do and think about, and all other stuff you always wondered. Social norms may tell you that you can't start asking all that when you meet in private or professionally. So if you have someone you would like to ask all those questions, why not make an interview and write an article about it? We would be happy to hear about your plans for an interview.
Phases of an Interview
An interview could be described in these phases: preparation, conversation (the interview), writing and control. The first thing you should do is to prepare. Find out as much as possible about the person or subject that the interview should be about. Do your research well.
A common beginner’s mistake is to write down a lot of questions, then to sit throughout the interview and be nervous that you did not ask all your questions on your note pad. It is better to have 5-6 good, wide questions and ask them. Then you can listen attentively and ask good follow-up questions. It is not how many questions asked that's the point, but how effective they are.
A good interview should be like a conversation, not an interrogation. The most important thing is then to listen, to both what is said and what is not said.
Ask only one question at a time. Start with a question that you think the person you are interviewing could find easy to answer. It's a great way to get started.
Avoid questions that only give yes or no answers. It is the interviewee who should say things, not the interviewer. But keep within your planned frame of questions; do not allow the interviewee to take over. If you get into other topics than you planned, then it is better to put that aside and plan another interview at another time than to try to cover all questions at the same time.
Take notes during the interview; focus on writing down what brings something new and relevant to the subject.
Try to train your mind to write when the interviewee says something that you think is so important that you want to quote it--that is, to repeat exactly what the person said. You have to write that down verbatim.
You can record the interview to make it possible to check your quotes, but not instead of taking notes.
After the Interview
When we publish, the interview questions are generally of secondary importance. Therefore, there is no need to have them in the finished article. But as you write the article, you may want to use your questions as headings for the paragraphs to orient yourself in your writing. Then, when you are close to finished with writing your article, you should delete the interview questions from the final text, as they should only serve as a supporting structure for you and not be a part of the final article.
Example: Your interview question was, "How did you first come in contact with solution-focused ideas?" Your article may say, "Mary´s first contact with solution-focused ideas came about in…" instead of including the original question.
In these sorts of interviews, it is important that you let the interviewee read and approve the article before you submit it. Then any misunderstandings or quotes that need clarification may be corrected. It is important that the interviewee is happy with how the interview turned out in writing.
The use of Cases in Research - Case Study or Multi-Case Study
A real case study has an ambition to answer a researchable question and can be the main focus on your article in itself. This is much different from the types of case descriptions described above. Many groundbreaking discoveries are done by practitioners who observe one case or a small group of cases that seem to defy what is known before. This sometimes is the gate to a new paradigm or field of research. If you feel that you are onto something important (and it may not be a shift of paradigm that you feel is coming on), a case study is a great way to start collecting data and organize your hunches and intuition into a clear description of your experiences and conclusions regarding the question at hand. Much of solution-focused practices have been developed in this way.
Tips: Article "Introduction to Case Study" by Winston Tellis link
Cases as Illustrative Teaching Examples
…..An illustrative case example is a fictional description used to give the reader a fuller picture of the content presented in an article. Within an article, these are sometimes employed as teaching devices to illustrate, for example, how a treatment program works or how to use a specific therapeutic intervention within a session. The exact "case" described in this sort of description may not ever have existed or may be a compilation of several instances; it is just an average case presented for the purpose of a description. An illustrative case example is often a very useful and revelatory part of a scholarly article.
Anecdotal case examples are often based on actual cases. Typically employed as a teaching tool in training settings, they sometimes find their way into scholarly texts.
An anecdote is a powerful training tool; it can effectively communicate important reasons to support a specific method, and the immediacy of the narrative makes it easy to believe that it actually happened the way the teacher describes it.
Over the course of time, some of these case stories seem to improve in some ways and in other ways lose some of the aspects and the nuances they first possessed. A potential problem with anecdotal case description is that it can be inadvertently misused in misleading ways in the absence of actual, empirical evidence of the effectiveness of a particular technique or theoretical construct.
The reverse can also be true: An anecdote can be a way to dismiss another practice or method in one sweep without having to take care and check facts, which would moderate the critique to a more accurate level. For example, stories of how absurdly or wrongly therapists from another therapeutic school of therapy have behaved are not professional or useful.
Both of these kinds of anecdotes can be used to enhance the air of expertise of the speaker and to stroke an already positive audience in favor of the speaker. Skeptics will seldom be convinced of anecdotal cases. The anecdote then serves to enhance the feelings of connectedness between the speaker and the people on the same side in a debate, and also to alienate the other side in the discussion.
Anecdotal cases are typically frowned upon in scholarly articles, as they tend to be over-simplified and hide important aspects of a situation instead of spreading light and enhancing clarity regarding an issue.