FEATURE26 April 2010

Writing guidelines

Research-live.com, published by the Market Research Society (MRS), is the most widely read market research website there is. If you’ve got something to say and you want the research business to hear it, this is the place.

We encourage contributions from people in and around the MR industry who have experience and opinions to share. You don’t have to be senior or previously published; we’re always interested in hearing from new voices. But we demand a high standard, and reading these guidelines will give you a much better chance of getting your article published.

Our feature articles range from 600-word opinion and comment pieces to in-depth 2,500-word articles. Our readers are research practitioners on the agency and client sides. Our focus is the business of research: the big trends, debates, issues and happenings in the industry. We want contributors who can put across an interesting argument, provide a fresh angle on an issue, express a provocative opinion, or offer an expert view.

How to put an idea forward

  • Have a look at recent articles we’ve published and if you have an idea you think we might be interested in, contact our editor Brian Tarran. Feel free to call if you want to discuss it, or you can email some notes or a synopsis of up to 100 words. We read and consider all proposals. If you have examples of other writing you’ve done, please send those too.
  • We can consider unsolicited articles, but we don’t recommend you spend ages writing something before first checking whether we’re interested.
  • We carry articles exclusively. Don’t propose anything that has appeared or is scheduled to appear in other publications.
  • We’ll try to let you know within two weeks if we’re interested. If we’re not, we’ll do our best to give you constructive feedback. If we are, we can then give you a proper brief with deadline and word count.

How to submit

  • Send in your finished article by email as a Word document or in another standard format, and include a 100-word bio of the author.
  • If we’ve asked for a photo of the author, make sure it’s a good quality high resolution headshot in a standard file format (jpg, tiff, png). If you have other images that might be useful, send them through. When it comes to photos, the bigger the better – anything with a resolution below 500 x 500 pixels or a file size below 100kb is probably too small to use.

How to write

  • We expect writers to spell check and proof read their work before sending it to us. We cannot stress the importance of this enough. Alarm bells ring if care and attention has not been paid to a submitted work. For the most part, we follow the Guardian style guide, which can be accessed online here.
  • Read some of our recent articles so you have a feel for our style – check out the Features and Comment sections of Research-live.com.
  • Keep your audience in mind – think about their interests and their level of knowledge.
  • Be clear. Think carefully about what you want to say and say it in the simplest way possible. Don’t use a long word if a short one will do. Avoid jargon, business clichés and management speak.
  • Include specific facts and information where you can. Avoid generalising without offering concrete evidence. We don’t usually carry footnotes or endnotes so include any necessary attribution in the text.
  • Keep it relaxed, accessible and enjoyable. This is not an essay and we are not an academic journal. Your article should set out some kind of argument or tell some kind of story, but there’s no formal structure to stick to.
  • Let your opinions and your personality show.
  • Don’t use the article as a platform for self promotion. By all means talk about your own company’s achievements, but you should be able to step back and consider the broader issues at play, and how they affect the industry as a whole. If you just want to tell our readers how great your company is, our ad sales department will be delighted to hear from you.

What to expect

  • We don’t generally offer payment for contributions from people in the industry. Nor do we offer editorial coverage in exchange for payment, or for buying advertising.
  • We don’t give sign-off to contributors or interviewees on what we publish. We’ll come back to you if we have questions or amendments to discuss but the final edit is in our hands. Because we have to maintain a high standard and because we have considerations of space and timing to keep in mind, things do sometimes get postponed and cut.
  • If we like what you do, we’ll probably ask you to write for us again at some point.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Brian Tarran, editor

+44 ( 0 ) 20 7566 1864