Writing for a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Journal – Ken N. Meadows

Last week, I attended the Sixth Annual Conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Bloomington, Indiana. The conference was a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues from around the world interested in research on teaching and to immerse myself in the latest thinking and research in the area. As the Managing Editor of a new online open access journal on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning/La Revue canadienne sur l’avancement des connaissances en enseignement et en apprentissage, three sessions that I attended were of particular interest. Each of the sessions was about SoTL journals but each was from a different perspective. Jarvis and Creasey (2009) reported on research they had conducted with editors of general SoTL journals and discipline-specific journals that publish SoTL articles. Their focus was specifically on the weaknesses of both the submitted manuscripts and the research itself. The next two sessions involved editors from a number of general SoTL journals (Loui, Richlin, Clegg, Morris, & Cruz, 2009) and discipline-based education journals that publish SoTL articles (Tenenberg, France, Ishiyama, & Grauerholz, 2009), respectively. In both sessions, the editors described their journals and answered questions. One of the common components across the three sessions was recommendations to authors considering submitting research manuscripts to their journals. I have included five of these recommendations below; they may seem obvious but are clearly worth mentioning as they were addressed in all three sessions.

1) Make sure that your manuscript fits the journal’s mission. Each journal has a specific mission and will only print articles that fit within that mission. This information is available on the journal’s web site and, for print-based journals, in each journal issue. Submitting your manuscript to a journal appropriate for your manuscript will save you and the journal’s editors considerable time.

2) Ensure that your manuscript is well-written. I will not address all of the components of a well-written manuscript but some of the issues that were mentioned in one or more of the sessions were writing with clarity and grace, using proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation, not using excessive jargon, defining important variables, and drawing conclusions appropriate in scope and form to the findings. The presenters in each session highly encouraged authors to seek feedback from trusted colleagues before submitting the manuscript to the journals.

3) Make certain that your manuscript is grounded in the appropriate literature. Although the formal education of SoTL authors is generally in other disciplines, it is still important to know the literature relevant to your SoTL research and necessary to provide the context for the research in the manuscript itself. This may be somewhat tricky with SoTL research because there are both general and discipline-specific SoTL literatures but both may be relevant to your research and, if so, should be addressed in your manuscript.

4) Ensure that the appropriate design(s), method(s), measure(s), and analyses are used. There are obviously a plethora of research designs, methods, measures, and analyses that can be employed in SoTL research and it is very important to ensure that you are using the appropriate ones to address your research question(s). If you are not sure what would be the appropriate design, methods, measures, and analyses, consult the literature to see what researchers interested in the same questions are doing. If you are not familiar with those designs, methods, measures, or analyses, consider collaborating with colleagues who have that expertise.

5) Make sure you address the practical implications of your research. Although pure forms of research (i.e., research for knowledge sake) are laudible, SoTL is inherently an applied form of research. It is important to address the implications of your research for teaching and student learning.

If you are considering submitting to a SoTL journal, please keep these recommendations in mind as they will make the publication process much easier for you and the journal’s editors. Speaking as a Managing Editor, I know I would definitely appreciate it.

Ken N. Meadows

References

Jarvis, P., & Creasey, G. (2009, October). Strengthening SoTL research: The voices of journal editors. Paper presented at the Sixth Annual Conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Bloomington, IN.

Loui, M., Richlin, L., Clegg, S., Morris, L. V., & Cruz, L. (2009, October). Publishing SoTL in the next generation: How to choose a journal. Paper presented at the Sixth Annual Conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Bloomington, IN.

Tenenberg, J., France, D., Ishiyama, J., & Grauerholz, L. (2009, October). SoTL in disciplinary education journals. Paper presented at the Sixth Annual Conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Bloomington, IN.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Writing for a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Journal – Ken N. Meadows

  1. The day that I decided to really help people get exactly what they want was the day that my business (and imcome) really took off. The more information I gave away for free, the more money people would spend on my products and services. Its a valuable less and one I learned.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s