Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016
Generating Publications from Presentations
From Attending to Presenting at Conferences
Conference Proposals and Article Types
Two recently hired professors who are colleagues at the same university have been working on a research project for almost 2 years. After they share their ideas in a 15-min research panel, a journal editor stays afterwards to share his business card and suggest that they submit an article to the publication. They are flattered and excited at the prospect of taking their work to a wider audience; they also are uncertain about how to proceed. No formal paper was required to present at the conference, so they would be starting at the very beginning where writing research is concerned. One of the professors thinks that they should seize upon the opportunity and quickly submit a paper to the journal while the other thinks that they should make contact with the editor but proceed more slowly and carefully to give themselves the best chance for a successful outcome. During the trip home, they begin discussing what they will need to do to convert their oral presentation into a publishable manuscript. As a shorthand way of organizing their thinking, they make a list of positives and negatives. On the plus side, they list:
· The most time-consuming tasks——conceptualizing the study, gathering the data, and analyzing the data——are already complete
· The talking points for the session have organized the material into the main categories of a research article
· More experienced peers have already responded to favourably to the work
· The comments and questions from a real, live audience have highlighted some areas that could be clarified or strengthened
On the minus side, they list:
· It may be difficult to convey the information concisely and effectively in written form
· The prospect of submitting the work to anonymous peer review is daunting
· The learning curve will be steep due to lack of prior experience with writing a research article
· Both have heavy teaching loads and other professional responsibilities, so it will be difficult to find time to work on the article
· They have very different writing styles and aren’t sure how to blend them seamlessly
Clearly, these presenters are not the first to face this challenge. Fortunately, in addition to this book, there are many publications that offer guidance on transforming a conference session into a publication (Happell, 2008; Huff, 2009; Joubert and Cronje, 2003; Steefel, 2014). Where research papers are concerned, Chap.7, 8, and 9 of this book suggest ways to structure presentations that will lead to publication and the chapters on quantitative and qualitative research offer also templates that can be used to generate a first draft.
Review Texas Tech University’s guidelines for Writing Research Papers and Posters at: http://www.tltc.ttu.edu/teach/TLTC%20Teaching%20Resources/PresentingConferencePapersAndPostersInTheHumanities.asp
The main consideration is to, from the very start, organize the presentation in the structure of a research paper. It also is helpful to conduct a search, not only on similar content, but also on similar method. For example, if you have conducted focus group interviews, find several excellent examples of published focus group research. Study how the authors explained the methods and procedures section before attempting to write this yourself. In many ways, it is like the artist who imitates the masters as a form of practice. One resource for drafting a research paper that our students have found particularly helpful is Creswell and Plano’s (2004) “scripts”. Their structure for drafting the purpose statement is:
The purpose of this qualitative [insert type, e.g., grounded theory, case study, focus group interview] study is to______(understand, describe, develop, discover) the ________(central focus) for_______(participants: person, process, groups) at ______________(site).
Suggestions on various ways that a conference presentation can lead to a publication are offered in Table 4.6.
Conference presentations matched to types of publications
Type of conference session
Workshop, training or webinar
To publish a brief explanation a particular strategy, look into the newsletters of the organization, their informational brochures, and journal articles. For a more thorough treatment of the subject investigate books for practitioners published by commercial publishers (e.g., Scarecrow Press for librarians) or by published by professional associations as a service to their members
Report on a model program
Publishable articles about model programs are highly innovative, housed in a premier institution of higher education, and/or affiliated with a prominent researcher in the field. If your project does not meet these criteria, “flip” it. Instead of a detailed report on the local initiative, conduct a thorough review of the literature on other successful programs of this type to produce a theoretical/review article or practical article. Then use the local initiative as just one example. If the program has greater visibility and a wider audience, pursue publication with a scholarly publisher or university press
All-day or multiple-day institute for professionals
Investigate publishers of training materials and resources for professionals in your field. If the material is aligned with content that is taught in college-level coursework, consider a commercial publisher
Panel discussion, debate, or roundtables
Contact the editor and publishers of edited book series as a possible outlet for the work of various presenters unified by a theme. A theoretical/review type of journal article could emanate from the work as well; for instance, a “point/counterpoint” article could be based on a debate. Chapters in an edited book are another possible publication outlet for such material.
Many organizations publish brief reports of research and a well-written poster results in an outline for a short contribution. In addition to features within a national journal, such as “Research in Brief” type of columns, the poster may lend itself to publication in one of the association’s print or online newsletters or in a state or regional publication of the group
The research paper might be publishable with the professional organization as conference proceedings, a peer-reviewed journal article, as a monograph (short book), or a book that would be of interest to the membership. Commercial publishers often publish monographs that have are of general interest to the international community of scholars, such as SpringerBriefs. Scholarly publishers may be interested if the authors have considerable prestige and visibility. University presses may be an outlet for the work if it is consistent with their mission
Develop the text of the speech to publish as conference proceedings, a journal article, as the basis for a book proposal, or as the introductory chapter for a book that you would edit