Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016
From a Research Project to a Journal Article
Conference Proposals and Article Types
A team of researchers consisting of two Educational Psychology professors, one Curriculum and Instruction professor, a school administrator and a program director worked together on a project for an entire school year. One professor and the school personnel were the program developers; they implemented the program and collected the data. One member of the team was a statistician; he analyzed the data. Another was a prolific author on the subject; she wrote the literature review. The literature review was revised significantly 17 times before sharing it with the team and the statistician said, “It would have taken me months to write that—and it probably would not have been that good.” The statistician analyzed data gathered on the experimental and control groups; he returned to the data set several times to get different “cuts” of the data and to complete a post hoc test. Proud of their work, they submitted it to the premier journal in the field and, 12 weeks later, the decision was “revise and resubmit”. Instead of balking at the outcome, they corresponded back and forth and make every effort to address each recommendation. The editor responded with a few minor suggestions that required additional attention. After those were completed, the work was accepted. The entire process, from project to print, took 2 years but, when the final revision was filed and accepted, the editor wrote, “I understand your study well now and we are pleased to be publishing it in the journal.” Contrast this experience with the expectations of some authors who, feeling pressured to publish in time for a fall review, begin sending out e-mails in May to editors asking if it is possible to get something published by October. Given that each round of reviews takes 8—12 weeks and that leading journals often are planned 1 or 2 years in advance of actual publication, such inquiries only serve to annoy editors and expose ignorance of scholarly publishing processes. When it comes to peer-reviewed academic writing, abandon all hope of immediate publication, uncritical acceptance, and bulging bank accounts. Replace it with the expectation that it will take time that revision will be necessary, and that rewards are many times intangible. To bring expectations back down to earth, remember three things. First, developing research manuscripts is just as difficult as designing and conducting the study. Researchers—both inexperienced and experienced—need to revise the manuscript many, many times; they also need to revisit the work based on feedback from colleagues who are both familiar and unfamiliar with the area of study. Secondly, manuscripts need to be clear, straightforward, and understandable. However, if you carefully follow the very structured formats outlined in this chapter to generate their first drafts, you will be well on your way to producing a better research manuscript. Third, part of the responsibility of a quantitative researcher is to clearly communicate the purpose of the study, research questions, and expected outcomes; accurately describe the methodologies (e.g., subjects, measures, treatment); and appropriately present the results to assist the editors and reviewers to determine the quality and the importance of the manuscript that is submitted for publication. By adhering to the guidelines offered here, quantitative researchers will significantly improve their chances of getting a manuscript accepted for publication as an article, book chapter, or even a book.
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