Disseminating Research (aka Academic Publishing)

I was planning on writing a “Fun Fridays” post, really I was… but my brain is too full of NERDERY for that! (In a P.S. to yesterday’s news, I got confirmation today that I did in fact pass the last portion of my qualifying exams, and my dissertation committee chair has requested a meeting to get the ball rolling–woohoo!)

pictures of Starr and books1. QUALS CONQUEROR!!1!, 2. Explosion of Sources, 3. Marbled Books, 4. FINISHED.

My brain’s been full of thoughts about academic publishing lately. I’ve had several questions about how to do research and how to present or publish it, and my recent foray exploring fiction publishing (it’s a whole OTHER world) has just emphasized this.

A few semesters back, I took a course called The Essentials of Academic Publishing (EDHE 6500). Though I’d presented and published before it, it provided insight into the process of disseminating research. Firstly, it emphasized the importance of disseminating research (which I’ll talk about in a later post); something that isn’t always valued in library science or education for its inherent value but for its addition to a faculty portfolio. Second, the course taught us how to think about research dissemination as a series of steps. Here’s my take on the process:

  • develop the research study
  • create a poster about how you expect to carry out the research & its goals

    yes, you really can submit a poster before you get any results! it boggled my mind, too. poster sessions are incredible sources for early feedback, meeting scholars with similar interests, refining methodology, and getting ideas.

  • perform the research study (this is the “duh” step)
  • create a poster about the study’s preliminary results

    again, you get feedback about whether your communication of results is clear and interesting, and it provides you with the outline for a presentation

  • perform more sophisticated statistical analyses
  • give a presentation on the analyzed findings

    an academic preso will often require a paper; other conferences simply require the presentation itself. they vary from 5 minutes to 90 minutes in length; i most commonly give 20 minute and 45 minute presentations.

  • potentially give related presentations on unique methodology you used, or on specifics of the study that might be relevant to different audiences

    think about implications you didn’t have time to discuss in other presos, & find an appropriate (different) conference at which to present

  • write a research article detailing the method, results, and findings

    you’ve already got the outline, content, and potentially an academic paper to start this with; it’s really just about formatting and making every step of the process replicable

  • if the study had practical implications, potentially write a second, non-academic article about “how we did it” or “best practices,” etc.

    this option is particularly apt for practitioner fields like library science & education

All of the dissemination steps are optional and most of them can really be done in any order, but this order provides a logical progression of composition from simple to complex. Meaning, by the time you write the article, your earlier presentation provides much of the content and perhaps even an academic paper that simply needs tweaking into the format required by the journal to which you’re submitting it.

I’ll be writing more on this topic in the near future. Feel free to submit any comments or questions, and I’ll try to address them. I’ve also got a page on this website listing some great Publishing Tools.

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