Here are some basic steps i’d recommend:

  1. Go through the papers you’re reading for your literature review (or the ones in your reference list) and identify about 10 journals where these papers are frequently published
  2. Pay particular attention to the research papers that are similar to yours and note down which journal they’ve been published in
  3. Consider the impact factor of the journal – the higher, the more prestigious the journal, but also the more difficult it will be to publish your study
  4. Bearing in mind steps 2 and 3, reduce the number of potential journals to 5.
  5. Once you have a list of approximately 5 potential journals, go to their websites.
  6. Read the about section of the journal to get a feeling for what type of research they’re interested in publishing
  7. If your research paper fits the description, read at least the latest issue of the journal to get a better feeling for the studies they’ve recently published, and ask yourself whether your study focus is within the scope of the journal
  8. If the answer above is yes, highlight that journal, and try to reduce the number of candidates to 2 – 3
  9. Also, consider if the journal open access. If you can, choose one that is; it will make your research much more widely available not just to other researchers, but also the general public.

While going through this process, you should already be writing. Don’t wait with writing until you’ve chosen your journal.

Also, try to keep your options open, and have a final list of 2-3 candidates where your paper might fit. This will help you act more quickly in case of a rejection in your first journal.

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