Abstract - From Professional Experience to Expert Advice - Conference Proposals and Article Types

Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016

From Professional Experience to Expert Advice
Conference Proposals and Article Types

During graduate school, students are required to produce many different types of written work in order to fulfill course and degree requirements. Likewise, university faculty members often need to write in-house documents, such as accounts of innovative teaching strategies or progress reports on local initiatives. Unfortunately, most of these manuscripts are unpublishable because they are written for a different purpose and audience than a practical article for practicing professionals in the field. This chapter guides the reader through transforming these manuscripts into works with publication potential using tools and templates. Among these resources are: a chart that details the differences between student papers and practical articles, a rubric that scholarly authors can use to evaluate practical articles; and a demonstration of how to use a template to generate a publishable practical article, and a clear structure for writing introductions and conclusions.

The number of attendees at the annual conference of a professional organization has grown so large that only a few cities can accommodate their meetings. The conference program includes hundreds of sessions with meeting rooms distributed over four major hotels. A group of participants clamber on to the shuttle that will transport them to afternoon sessions and a professor sits down next to a practitioner in the field. The latter is carrying the latest issue of the professional organization’s journal and mentions that one of the articles was particularly helpful. She says that she implemented the practices recommended in the article and shared them with her colleagues at a staff meeting. The professor smiles and introduces herself; it just happens that she wrote the article. Now the conversation really begins; they speak as if they know one another well because the article has formed a common ground. This situation illustrates the objectives of a practical article; namely to:

· Achieve a meeting of the minds

· Recommend evidence-based ways to improve professional practice

· Guide practitioners in implementing new practices that enhance their effectiveness

Across the disciplines, there is a concern about “bridging the gap” between theory research and daily practice. Each field has a cadre of practicing professionals —such as social workers in sociology, teachers in curriculum and instruction, or health care professionals in medicine (Mallonee, Fowler, & Istre, 2006)—who need to keep pace with changes in the field. Unfortunately, it cannot be taken for granted that practitioners’ career trajectories are forever on an upward trend; indeed, a decline in commitment and competence can cause professionals to become less, rather than more, effective over time. For instance, there is a decided tendency for professionals in various fields to begin their work with great enthusiasm and become disillusioned early on; particularly in the helping professions, practitioners can suffer from burnout (Bianchi, Schonfeld, & Laurent, 2014). Professional development often is credited as the answer, but what was the question? The question is one that can be answered by the practical article, namely: How do we help the practitioners in our field to increase in knowledge, understanding, confidence, competence, effectiveness, and commitment across the career span?

Online Tool

Learn more about practical articles from Rowena Murray’s Ten Tips for Writing Articles at http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2013/sep/06/academic-journal-writing-top-tips