Today I sat down to write and found myself sketching out ideas for how the ground the revision of a paper. I found myself then re-reading an article on publishing by 3 amazing women in #mathed that further inspired my learning
Here is what I am learning about playing the publishing game…
- Contribution. You have something unique to contribute. State it clearly. Allow this contribution to guide the coherence of the article. This will support the reader in making sense of your ideas.
- Ask and answer questions. Each section of your manuscript is designed to point back to and support the question(s) you asked and the results you found. Allow the questions and results to be “blinders” to guide your paper, keeping it focused and on point.
- Introduction. Set the stage for your article. Answer the “Why?” up front. Make people care. And tell them the importance of this work.
- Literature. Craft a logical argument. Identify and state the problem of interest (linking back to why we care – the “So What” motivation of the study). Synthesize the major results of existing research that addresses some responses to the problem. Clarify how this study augments existing work in the field.
- Theory. What is the conceptual model that guides your orientation toward this piece of scholarship? What are the assumptions this study is rooted in? What are the relationships among the key constructs this study is investigating?
- Methods. What did you do to answer your research question. Stay focused on the specific aspect(s) of the study you are presenting in this piece. SO often, one study is multi-dimensional, and it is highly unlikely that an ENTIRE study can be captured in ONE article. Keep it focused on the rigorous, systematic processes you employed to get to the specific results reported in this study. Convey enough detail so that someone else could replicate what you did.
- Results. Tell a story. Animate the ideas through visuals, dialogue, examples, narrative. Keep it well-organized and to the point. Following a logical structure will support the reader in making sense of the data.
- Conclusion and Discussion. “Talk back” to the literature you synthesized earlier in the article. Do your findings support previous findings? Does this study contradict or call into question prior work? What alternative interpretations are possible?
- Let go. Writing is an expression of ideas at a particular time, in a particular place. Allow the experience to be what it is. And let go of the rest. Be ready to practice resilience to criticism. As the review and revision process is another aspect of publishing that I explore in another post.
These ideas were inspired by years of writing. And by multiple reads of the following article.
Thanheiser, Eva., Ellis, Amy., & Herbel-Eisenmann, Beth. (2012). From dissertation to publication in JRME. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 43(2), 144-158.
Note: If you don’t have open access to this piece, just email the authors. They are nice people.
Remember: You must write. For a paper not written will not get published.