Submission Guidelines for Written Three Minute Thesis Articles



eParliament has partnered with the University of Alberta, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research to create the Written Three Minute Thesis (W3MT)

In association with the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition,  we invite graduate students from any discipline to submit a W3MT to share your thesis findings even more broadly. W3MTs are short (less than 500 words, or ~3 minute read), engaging, articles written for a general audience that showcase the original research being done by graduate students. We publish W3MTs year-round, so please submit anytime!

Benefits: This experience will help you learn how to frame, share, and pitch your research to a non-specialist audience through engaging writing, which is an important skill for a researcher to develop (and to include on a CV!). By submitting a W3MT you will get to practice distilling your research into an accessible form and be able to share it with a wide audience!

Eligibility: Be currently enrolled in a graduate program at an accredited university or have graduated from such a program within the last 6 months. If you are already competing in the 3MT competition, we encourage you to simply adapt your presentation into written form as a W3MT article. If you are not competing this year, no problem! You may still share your research through a W3MT. These articles may contain either published or unpublished research.

Do you want to write a larger, more involved article on your published work or about other published works your field? If so, you can consider writing an Ideas article instead! 

Please read the following submission guidelines in detail, and submit your article along with a completed W3MT Submission Form via email to:

Editorial policy

We want your research to be broadly accessible and eParliament will work with you to make it happen! Each submission will be assigned to an eParliament Editor for review. The Editor may suggest revisions and provide light feedback on the submission prior to acceptance for publication to ensure it adheres to our guidelines, scope, and quality. For articles submitted during the 3MT competition, feedback and a response will be withheld until the conclusion of the competition.

Submission organization

All submissions will contain the following files:
1) Mandatory: Completed W3MT Submission Form.
2) Mandatory: Main text file containing the title, main article text, reference list, and figure title.
3) Encouraged: The associated figure will be submitted as a separate file.
4) Optional: Proof of consent from a publisher to reproduce a figure for this article.

1) Submission Form: Each submission must be accompanied by a completed Submission Form which is available for download here: Download W3MT Submission Form

2) Main Text Document

Title: The title is meant to pique the interest of a reader outside your field and draw them into your article.  The title should be concise, less than 75 characters, and convey the main message of the article in plain language that is directed towards a non-specialist reader. Avoid subject specific jargon and abbreviations.

Key words: Include a list of 4-8 key words.

Main text: The main text of the article is limited to 500 words. We suggest that the article is structured as follows:

·    Draw the reader in with a “hook”, then introduce the topic and engage the reader (~100 words)
·    Explain your main research question (<100 words)
·    Describe how you addressed the question, including methods that you used (>200 words)
·    Draw conclusions and highlight the impact of your findings (~100 words)

The indicated word counts are only suggestions. Ensure you avoid subject specific jargon throughout the article where possible, or make sure you explain the terms as needed.

Reference list: References are numbered and listed in the order that they appear in the main text. Pick the most suitable reference where possible, instead of citing multiple references for a single piece of information. Please include DOI’s in the reference list, and use the Vancouver referencing style, explained in detail here:

3) Figure: Students are strongly encouraged to submit a single figure along with their article which can double as a graphical abstract. The figure should encompass the main message of the article and assist the reader in understanding your work. The figure should be easy to understand with only a title. Please do not include a figure legend, complex ideas, or raw data. Include the figure title in the main text document.

4) Consent: To avoid copyright infringement, figures or parts of figures may only be reproduced from other publications (even your own!) with included consent from the publisher. Please include documentation of this consent along with your submission. However, it is often easier to create a new figure for your submission instead!

Supplemental Information: Supplemental tables, figures, or data, are not accepted.

Style and Format

File formats: Please submit the main text file in either a DOC, DOCX, or RTF file format. Please submit figures in either a JPEG or TIFF file format as individual files for each figure.

Font: Use a standard font size, and any standard font. When using symbols in the manuscript, either copy and paste in the Unicode character or use the ‘insert symbol’ function in your word processor.

Headings: Headings may be used if the author wishes.

Layout and spacing: The main text should be double spaced using standard margins (2.54 cm on the top, bottom, left, and right).

Line numbers: Lines should be numbered so that we may use them when providing feedback.

Footnotes: Footnotes are not permitted.

Abbreviations: Keep abbreviation use to a minimum. Consider that the reader may be unfamiliar with all of the abbreviations in your field, and too many at once can be daunting. When using an abbreviation, define it at first mention in the text. Only use abbreviations for terms that appear at least three times in the text.

Units of measurement: Use the International System of Units (Système International d'Unités, SI).

Language: Articles must be submitted in good English. Either American or British English is acceptable, but not a hybrid of the two. Authors who believe their submission could benefit from editing are encouraged to seek peer or professional language editing services prior to submission.

Additional Tips:

·   Try to think of a relatable metaphor to assist the audience in understanding your research.
·   Focus on the significance that your research has in its field and its impact on society
·   Write in a clear and logical manner while considering the flow of your article (consult “main text” section for flow details).
·   Give your article to a friend from a different field or outside of academia to review so they can identify any jargon or unclear sections and provide feedback
·   Keep the figure simple and complementary to your message