Michael Wagner


How to Write and Publish an Op-Ed About Your Research
Professor Michael Wagner

Associate Professor and Louis A. Maier Faculty Development Fellow at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Sept. 15, 2017

As scholars, you have a vast body of knowledge about issues pertaining to current events. If your research or area of expertise allows you to make an important argument, you may want to consider writing an Op-Ed. These short pieces allow you to offer an opinion, and back it up with sound information.

Wagner offered a few tips aimed specifically at academic writers:

  1. Credible: Share your position title, background, and research area briefly. Readers want to know who is making a claim before they know why.
  2. Clear: Write for the general public. Readers may have no background information on the subject and it is your job to inform them.
  3. Concise: Op-Eds generally are not longer than 500-words, which may seem like nothing those used to writing for academic journals. Writing shorter pieces challenges you to summarize and simplify a complicated issue.
  4. Criticism: Academics may worry about stepping out of their comfort zone or making their opinions known publicly. While this is a valid concern, it is important that the voices of experts are heard, and that academics engage in their communities outside of the university setting.