NOSC 2012: Who is Publishing?

By Kirsten J. Barnes, Center for Community-Based Partnership

Dr. Diane M. Doberneck explored who is publishing and what they are publishing during a presentation at the 13th Annual National Outreach Scholarship Conference. Doberneck is a researcher at Michigan State University’s National Collaborative for the Study of University Engagement and an adjunct assistant professor in the Liberty Hyde Bailey Scholars Program.

The study reviewed an array of information, including who the authors were, what they studied and how the studies were conducted. By reviewing seven scholarly journals and their publications over the past 20 years, Doberneck and John H. Schweitzer studied community engagement journals.

The study found that more tenure track professors at public universities with more than 10,000 students produced the bulk of the articles found in the publications they studied.

"Fifty percent of the articles were qualitative studies," Doberneck said. "Some journals published qualitative and quantitative studies. In fact, six of the seven journals that we studied published articles that involved both qualitative and quantitative studies."

The study showed the first authors typically are full professors, academic staff members, or administrators, while doctoral research was also high on the list.

After discussing who is publishing, James Taylor and Drs. Jessica Averitt-Taylor, Edward Mullins and Cassandra Simon went over the nuts and bolts of writing.

"Many times when writing our research, we say one thing and do another," said Taylor, a lecturer in the College of Education and Human Services at Northern Kentucky University. "Do the research before you submit your article. Study the journal and the types of articles they publish. Also, be aware of other avenues of publishing, especially when you think about engagement writing."

Although the workshop was mostly focused on traditional scholarly writing, Averitt-Taylor, now an assistant professor of social work at Northern Kentucky University's Department of Counseling, told participants that UA's National Outreach Scholarship Conference-funded Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship includes literature reviews and personal well-thought essays.

She advised writers to use reference books, "Elements of Style" and a current edition of American Psychological Association stylebook.

"We include pictures in JCES, particularly for our younger generation of readers," Averitt-Taylor said.

Mullins, former dean of UA's College of Communication and Information Sciences and production editor of JCES, informed attendees about a great tool for readability.

"How many of you know that Microsoft Word has a readability test?" Mullins asked the group of approximately 40 people. "The higher the score, the easier the document is to read. It also will give you the number of years of education that it will take to read and understand your work."

Mullins said shorter paragraphs and sentences improve readability significantly.