How to Write a Cover Letter for a Research Paper: Tips & Steps

When submitting your research paper, you are often required to submit it together with a cover letter. For many of you, this might be a new thing but cover letters are meant to demonstrate to the research paper editor why your research is important or new. Let us explore what it is.

What is a Cover Letter for a Research Paper?


A cover letter for a research paper is a note attached to the paper to explain the importance of your research. The letter provides an opportunity to demonstrate why the research is credible, important within your discipline, and the new information it adds to the study. This is because your research paper will either go through a research paper editor before being published or through your professor.

In short, a cover letter for a research paper is important during the peer review process. Since the research paper is meant to be studied by readers, the cover letter will demonstrate why those readers will be interested in reading it.

It should be noted that a cover letter for a research paper is different from a cover letter for a CV/Resume.


How to write a Cover Letter for a Research Paper

Now that we have understood what a cover letter for a research paper is, its importance, and its difference from a cover letter for a CV/Resume, it is time to learn how to write it.

research paper cover letter

This section will provide a detailed guide on how to write a cover letter for a research paper like a pro.

Before we proceed, it is important to note that even though this article will provide a guide for writing the cover letter, you should follow the authors’ guide provided by the target journal.

The information that has been requested by the editors should always be prioritized.

Your research paper may be rejected if the required statements are not included.

1. Start with your Introduction

The first step in writing a cover letter for a research paper is beginning with the introduction of you as the researcher. This demonstrates that your paper is professional and reliable/credible.

Also, giving your institutional affiliation demonstrates that the research paper and the author of the paper come from an academic institution hence the research is credible.

2. Address your Audience

The second step is to address the editor by their name if they have provided it. In most cases, the editor(s) will provide their names hence the reason why you should address them.

This also personalizes the cover letter. It also shows that you have researched the publishing journal and your research paper is suited for its discipline.

3. State the Type of Research

The third step is to state the type of research paper at the beginning of the cover letter. As noted earlier, the publisher or journal will provide a guide for the authors that should be adhered to.

Stating the type of research is one of the most critical pieces of information that should be provided. To know more about this, read our guide on

how to write research papers

and get some insights.

At the beginning of your cover letter, state whether the submitted manuscript is a case report, original research article, case report, and so on.

There are various types of research papers and you should specify the type of manuscript that you are submitting for peer-reviewing.

4. Include the Authors

The next step when writing a cover letter for a research paper is to include the full details of the author or authors of the manuscript. This information should include the full names of the authors, phone numbers, and email addresses.

This is very important because the editors will use the information to communicate with you concerning the status of your research paper.

5. Explain the Goals of the Research

The next step is to explain the goals and results of your research. This should be a brief explanation that should not be more than three sentences.

The reason why you should explain the goals is to provide a direction for the editor(s) when peer-reviewing your research paper. It gives them a perspective concerning what your research paper is about.

Explaining the results of your research will help the editor(s) connect your content to the purpose of the journal or publisher.

It provides the context of your research paper so that the editor(s) can understand what the submitted research paper is all about.

6. Demonstrate the Importance of the Study

The sixth step in writing a cover letter for a research paper is to demonstrate or explain why your study is important. This part allows you to explain the research paper’s contribution to the literature and the impact the paper will have on the field of research.

If your cover letter misses this step, then the editor(s) may reject your research paper. They will assume that you have skipped the step because your research paper has no importance or contribution to the literature.

7. Create Interest in the Study

Another important step that should never be skipped when writing a cover letter for a research paper is to explain to the editor why your research paper is suited to be included in the journal. You should demonstrate that the journal’s readers will be interested in your study.

8. Declare Publishing Details

It is imperative to declare that your research paper has never been published or submitted in other journals or publications.

At the same time, declare that everyone who has participated in writing the research paper has read and agreed to the paper’s contents.

Also, reveal that your research paper follows ethical guidelines whereby the relevant committee has approved the paper on ethical grounds. At this point, you should also disclose the possible conflicts of interest, if any.

9. Appreciation

You should conclude the cover letter by thanking the editor for taking the time to read the letter and consider your submission. All the steps mentioned above should be concise, brief, and courteous.

In conclusion, a cover letter for a research paper is very important because it will convince the editor(s) why your research paper should be peer-reviewed and published in a particular journal.

Without it, your research paper submission may be rejected. If you follow the aforementioned steps, there is a great probability that your research paper will be passed.

Difference Between a Cover Letter for a Research Paper and a CV/Resume

A cover letter for a research paper addresses the editor(s) of your research paper by their name because they are the ones responsible for peer-reviewing your paper.

It explains why your research paper is relevant for the discipline or study. This is very important because it helps the editors understand what your research paper is all about.

drafting a CV cover letter

The cover letter for a research paper will also demonstrate your paper’s credibility and why it is suited to be published as a journal.

You may come up with a research paper that may not be credible or suitable for publishing.

As such, the cover letter for the research paper should convince the editor(s) why the paper needs to be published.

A cover letter for a research paper is meant for the editor(s) and it should contain academically objective information that will help your research paper go through the peer-reviewing process.

On the other hand, a cover letter for a CV/Resume is a document used during the process of a job application. It states the position that you are interested in and the reason why you are interested in the job position.

A cover letter for a CV/Resume, which is meant to increase your chances of being hired in a particular job position, should demonstrate the most relevant and impressive skills, including your experience in the profession. It should also demonstrate why your skills will benefit your potential employer.

A cover letter for a CV/Resume is meant to advertise you as the best candidate to fill a job position so that you can be considered for an interview.