For LRTS Authors

Tips for Turning a Presentation into a Paper

Many presentations can be transformed into papers for submission to Library Resources and Technical Services ( LRTS). A paper that develops from a presentation should meet the same criteria for acceptance applied to papers that did not begin as a presentation.

The topic should be either original or add a new dimension to a previously published topic. If the paper presents a case study (i.e., reports on a project or initiative), it should be relevant to LRTS readers and widely applicable. “How we did it good” reports should pass the "so what?” test. Authors need to consider why readers should care about the project or initiative being reported. A research paper may report on original research or replicate earlier research in order to test the applicability of the methodology at a new site or under different conditions. LRTS also publishes “think pieces” that might explore a new concept, make recommendations for the profession and its practice, or express a perspective or state on position on a key issue of interest to the profession.

The introduction should clearly state the theme, purpose, or objective of the program, innovation, or research described in the paper. Keep the paper focused. Consider the readership of LRTS when preparing the manuscript—this will be the primary audience for the paper and will influence the kind of background information and level of explanation that should be provided.

Develop an outline that follows a logical sequence and uses headings and subheadings to guide the reader through the paper; use transitions between sections of the paper. A published paper has a more formal tone than a presentation, which can be casual. LRTS’ preference is to use third person, not first—although this is not a rigid requirement. Do not use contractions and take care to avoid conventional phrases (e.g., “for the most part,” “by all accounts”) that are common in oral presentations.

A research paper should include an introduction, a description of research methods used, result or findings, a discussion and/or analysis of the findings, and a conclusion. The research methods section should fully explain the methods or procedures used so that readers can judge the validity of results. If the paper describes a research study that uses statistics, consult with a statistician to ensure that the statistics are handled correctly. If the research used a survey instrument, it should be provided as an appendix.

Put the paper, whether case study or research report, into context by providing a review of relevant literature. Make sure citations are accurate, complete, and follow the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. Highlight important findings reported in the literature.

Describe the setting in which a case study or research project took place. This provides a framework for the reader and should have sufficient detail (but not too much) to understand the research or case study’s circumstances.

Be evaluative; explain to the reader why the research or the case study is important to practitioners.

Illustrations, tables, and/or figures often will enhance or illustrate the points and concepts presented in the paper. Be conservative, however; use no more than six to eight.

Position papers (“think pieces”) will not have all the conventions found in research reports and case studies, but they should provide a context—a literature review that reports other perspective and/or documents why the topic being addressed is of interest or concern to the profession.

Use informal reviewers at your own library or institution, or ask professional colleagues in another library to read your paper prior to submitting it. Select individuals with writing experience; ask them to read the paper and consider its organization, logic, clarity, and grammar, as well as its content.