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Research Paper!

I am looking for something to do over this summer to build my CV, i am currently in year 11. I thought getting a research paper published in an academic journal/ magazine / website seemed like an interesting pursuit.
Could anyone who has any knowledge in the field help me understand what the process is really like, how i would find potential academic journals interested in publishing my work, steps i should take before / after writing the research, etc. (mostly anything you think is worth knowing).
For context, I am a year 11 student and am predicted all 9s in my IGCSEs. I chose Maths, Further Maths, History and Physics as my A-levels and I like economics, history and societal matters, or wherever these intertwine. I also like physics.
Also, if you think there is anything else I should do instead over the summer that would be more beneficial to university application building please suggest so!
Reply 1
Hi! I am also in year 11 and I am taking 13 GCSEs next month (eek). I've done chosen similar A levels (maths, further math, physics and chemistry). I had an essay published in a scientific journal last year (it was about solar wind and its effects). I found out about the journal through asking some of my teachers for ideas. For science ones (I am a physics-y person) there is the Research In Schools which is quite good, but I think it requires your teacher to sign up first. It takes you through the stages of research - you pick a title, and then they send you the information that you might need, some basic research tips and then ideas for you to look up yourself. It is really interesting, I looked into one 2 years ago about stars, but at the stage I was not good enough at physics or math to understand a lot of the principles.

Depending on what you're going to pursue in uni there are other things you might find better for uni. If your taking a more humanities route (history is one of your A levels) then you might want to look out for some summer schools in those, I know John Locke does them but it might be a bit late now. If you're going for a more engineering route then perhaps an internship or work experience would be useful. I'm not really sure as well, but that's kind of what I'm doing.
Original post by lila__
I am looking for something to do over this summer to build my CV, i am currently in year 11. I thought getting a research paper published in an academic journal/ magazine / website seemed like an interesting pursuit.
Could anyone who has any knowledge in the field help me understand what the process is really like, how i would find potential academic journals interested in publishing my work, steps i should take before / after writing the research, etc. (mostly anything you think is worth knowing).
For context, I am a year 11 student and am predicted all 9s in my IGCSEs. I chose Maths, Further Maths, History and Physics as my A-levels and I like economics, history and societal matters, or wherever these intertwine. I also like physics.
Also, if you think there is anything else I should do instead over the summer that would be more beneficial to university application building please suggest so!
im in year 12 but I don’t do any form of A-level maths so I’m not sure about this, could you do one type of maths and do a social subject instead? I do A-level sociology (biology and AS physics, picking up AS art next year) and my friend does philosophy and English language and there’s more of an overlap you’d expect, there’s still differences but they all (and maybe other courses) if you want to pursue something with people or society as a general thing. Hope this gives you food for thought.
Original post by lila__
I am looking for something to do over this summer to build my CV, i am currently in year 11. I thought getting a research paper published in an academic journal/ magazine / website seemed like an interesting pursuit.
Could anyone who has any knowledge in the field help me understand what the process is really like, how i would find potential academic journals interested in publishing my work, steps i should take before / after writing the research, etc. (mostly anything you think is worth knowing).
For context, I am a year 11 student and am predicted all 9s in my IGCSEs. I chose Maths, Further Maths, History and Physics as my A-levels and I like economics, history and societal matters, or wherever these intertwine. I also like physics.
Also, if you think there is anything else I should do instead over the summer that would be more beneficial to university application building please suggest so!


Honestly I don't think aiming to get a paper published in an academic journal is a realistic goal. Even undergraduates rarely achieve that. What's more likely is, if you managed it at all, you'd end up publishing something in a predatory publisher or vanity press journal where you pay (often a lot) to get it published. But the thing is academics know exactly how to spot that (which you probably don't) and it won't be seen as particularly impressive (and might actually make you look kind of bad realistically).

There are plenty of things you can do to engage in your course area and do research - for example, an EPQ, essay competitions, science fairs, etc. Also just doing wider reading in your proposed subject area and thinking critically about it is very valuable.
As above, forget academic journals - this is not for someone still at school taking GCSEs.

Look at extra reading/note taking - useful list of suggestions from Cambridge - good for all Unis - super-curricular_suggestions.pdf (cam.ac.uk)

Look at doing some free Moocs over the summer - useful for expanding your study beyond A level and getting some interesting discussion ideas for your UCAS Personal Statement - suggestions
Discover the Hidden History of York - Online Course - FutureLearn
What Is Sociology? An Introduction - Online Course (futurelearn.com)
Also, BBC Podcasts such as
BBC Sounds - Understand - Available Episodes
BBC Sounds - The History Hour - Available Episodes
BBC Sounds - Law in Action - Available Episodes
Reply 5
Original post by artful_lounger
Honestly I don't think aiming to get a paper published in an academic journal is a realistic goal. Even undergraduates rarely achieve that. What's more likely is, if you managed it at all, you'd end up publishing something in a predatory publisher or vanity press journal where you pay (often a lot) to get it published. But the thing is academics know exactly how to spot that (which you probably don't) and it won't be seen as particularly impressive (and might actually make you look kind of bad realistically).
There are plenty of things you can do to engage in your course area and do research - for example, an EPQ, essay competitions, science fairs, etc. Also just doing wider reading in your proposed subject area and thinking critically about it is very valuable.


Thank you, this is very helpful.
However, if I were looking to pursue STEM based subjects in university, how could I find an essay competition or something of the sort which would be STEM suited? Do you have any suggestions?
Also, would extracurricular reading count on my application? How would I quantify or measure that?
Original post by lila__
Thank you, this is very helpful.
However, if I were looking to pursue STEM based subjects in university, how could I find an essay competition or something of the sort which would be STEM suited? Do you have any suggestions?
Also, would extracurricular reading count on my application? How would I quantify or measure that?

As I noted, there is also the option of pursuing science fairs (such as the Big Bang Fair) which are very relevant for many STEM subjects. There are also depending on your interests and plans other options that may be relevant e.g. hackathons if interested in CS, robotics competitions if interested in engineering. Wider reading is always valuable.

However I think you're looking at this the wrong way. It's not about whether it "counts" or "quantifying" these activities. It's about engaging in those activities for your own benefit to broaden your horizons and understand and explore your interests beyond the curriculum. What universities are looking for in the personal statement is not a list of activities you've done (with or without receipts...) but to see your critical reflection upon those things you've done and how they have developed your interest and understanding of the subject.

The personal statement isn't about "telling" the admissions tutor a bunch of things you've done - it's about "showing" them your interest and commitment to the subject, and preparation for it. They also recognize not all students have equal opportunities to pursue all kinds of activities that might be relevant - which is why even "just" wider reading is perfectly sufficient if you have been reflective and critically think about what you read and discuss this in your PS from that critical analytical perspective.

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