Suggestion 6. Recommend that students consider writing one or more articles for publication during their time as a student (and more than “recommend” to doctoral students)

In addition to regularly sharing their knowledge through presentations, one of the leadership expectations of people with master’s and doctoral degrees is they also share their expertise with their organizations and their colleagues through formal publications: articles intended for the peer-reviewed and professional publications named in an earlier post.

What types of articles can students publish? Students can publish many types of articles:

  • For professional publications, these can include tips and tricks articles—which offer suggestions on how to perform tasks used on the job, summaries of relevant research—often presented as heuristics (specific rules) that suggest how to specifically apply this research, interviews with thought leaders, case studies of real-world projects, and analyses that help practicing professionals put concepts into perspective.
  • For academic publications, these can include book reviews, integrative literature reviews that provide a consolidated report on the state of the literature in a particular area (a great way to report findings from the literature review of a thesis or dissertation); reports of empirical research (either the student’s own work or a co-author credit on a project led by the professor); and a theory article, which provides a new perspective on the field that emerges from an examination of the empirical research.

Table 1 suggests some specific formats to recommend to students.

Table 1:  Potential Publishing Opportunities for Students

Workplace-oriented students Pre-Doctoral and Doctoral Students
  • Tips and tricks articles
  • Summaries of relevant research—often presented as heuristics
  • Interviews with thought leaders, case studies of real-world projects
  • Analyses that help practicing professionals put concepts into perspective
  • Your suggestions
  • Book reviews
  • Integrative literature reviews
  • Reports of empirical research (either the student’s own work or a co-author credit on a project led by the professor)
  • Theory articles
  • Your suggestions

 

Where can students submit their articles? Students can also publish in a variety of outlets.  For professional publication, these include newsletters and websites (usually easiest to publish), magazines and webzines (next in difficulty), and reports.

For academic publication, these include several types of peer-reviewed sources, including book chapters and articles for peer-reviewed journals.

An additional challenge, however, is that each of these types of articles has a particular format and imposes a series of expectations on authors, expectations that many aspiring authors do not even realize exist.

Table 2 suggests some specific formats and publishing outlets to recommend to students.

Table 2:  Potential Venues for Student Articles

Workplace-oriented students Pre-Doctoral and Doctoral Students
  • Workplace newsletters
  • Workplace websites
  • Professional association newsletter
  • Professional magazine
  • Your suggestions
  • Professional association newsletter
  • Academic journal
  • Professional magazine
  • Independent websites
  • Your suggestions

How can I prepare students for the writing task?  To help students ease into these roles, provide class assignments in which students have an opportunity to try out one or more of these forms, sometimes with the goal of submitting the resulting publication for class.  The class activity might explicitly identify the conventions used in particular types of articles (like the expectations of research article or how-to article) and provide students with several opportunities to develop drafts of such articles.

Why should I emphasize with students about the writing process?  Those several drafts suggests a second issue: emphasize the importance of revision to students.  Most student papers are high stakes: they submit one draft for a grade.  Many students just write the one draft.  Most have never gone through the formal process of review and revision.  Some see that process as torture rather than as one of continuous improvement.  Providing formal opportunities for revision helps prepare them for the revision process typical in all aspects of our professional work.

How much publishing should I recommend? The number and type of articles that students should publish varies, depending on the degree and their long-term goal:

  • Suggest publishing to highly motivated bachelor’s students who have good communication skills as a stretch goal (not required but one intended to stretch a student beyond complacency).  Newsletters and website articles provide perfect opportunities to launch their publishing “careers.”
  • Recommend publishing to all master’s students. The experience provides a great developmental opportunity and looks good on their resumes. Students intending to go right into the work force should consider publishing one article in a professional newsletter, magazine or webzine.  Those who plan to pursue doctoral studies might individually or co-author one publication for a peer-reviewed publication.
  • Doctoral students should publish in both academic and professional venues.  Research and theory publications in peer-reviewed publications is essential to academic employment.  As many candidates for faculty positions enter the job market with these publications, those preparing for it should expect that they need them.  So they should have at least one, though three to five (some on which the student serves as a co-author) is recommended.

But publishing in professional magazines and webzines is equally important, especially in an applied field like ours, where practitioners are not only the ultimate recipients of research-based advice, but often the subjects of the research. Because research tends towards the theoretical and follows precise rules that hold little interest to practicing professionals, many of them difficulty understanding research-based publications.  By writing for practicing professionals, aspiring researchers have the incentive to explain their research in language accessible to the average training and development professional.

 

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