Dr. Kritsonis, Writing for Professional Publication in National Refereed Journals


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Founder of National FORUM Journals – Over 4,000 Professors Published

Dr. Kritsonis is founder of NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS (since 1983). These publications represent a group of highly respected scholarly academic periodicals. Over 4,000 writers have been published in these refereed, peer-reviewed periodicals. In 1983, he founded the National FORUM of Educational Administration and Supervision – now acclaimed by many as the United States’ leading recognized scholarly academic refereed journal in educational administration, leadership, and supervision.
In 1987, Dr. Kritsonis founded the National FORUM of Applied Educational Research Journal whose aim is to conjoin the efforts of applied educational researchers world-wide with those of practitioners in education. He founded the National FORUM of Teacher Education Journal, National FORUM of Special Education Journal, National FORUM of Multicultural Issues Journal, International Journal of Scholarly Academic Intellectual Diversity, International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration, and the DOCTORAL FORUM – National Journal for Publishing and Mentoring Doctoral Student Research. The DOCTORAL FORUM is the only refereed journal in America committed to publishing doctoral students while they are enrolled in course work in their doctoral programs. In 1997, he established the Online Journal Division of National FORUM Journals that publishes academic scholarly refereed articles daily on the website: www.nationalforum.com. Over 500 professors have published online. In January 2007, Dr. Kritsonis established Focus: On Colleges, Universities, and Schools.

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Dr. Kritsonis, Writing for Professional Publication in National Refereed Journals

  1. 1. Writing for Professional Publication in National Refereed Journals: A Session for Faculty And Doctoral Students William Allan Kritsonis, PhD Professor PhD Program in Educational Leadership Prairie View A&M University/The Texas A&M University System 1. Professional reasons for writing for publication - Promotion; tenure; recognition by peers; seeing name in print; making a contribution to written knowledge – advancing knowledge; clarifying thoughts; writing is a liberating experience; improving teacher; teaching aide; inform theory; inform practice; reflect on practice; invite help/criticism from colleagues; income/consulting opportunities. 2. Personal reasons for writing for publication - For fun and growth; to relax and “recreate”; personal satisfaction; improve communication skills; ego building; sharpen your inquiry skills; define and refine new ideas. 3. How real writers behave - Reading extensively and picking up vocabulary and sentence patterns; develop a sense of style from reading; reading aloud from paying attention to the sounds of words; writing and revising work that really means something to them; soliciting opinions from trusted, truthful colleagues; getting feedback from those who write; belonging to a learning community of writers. 4. Writer’s write for the following reasons - Communicate important ideas; to tell the stories of their professional lives and share their wisdom of practice; to connect with a wider audience; to make a contribution to their chosen field; to obtain tangible rewards (e.g., promotion, consulting work; to enlarge, extend, and organize thinking; to maintain and enhance learning about a topic of interest; to establish and participate in professional networks of like-minded individuals; to be heard and engage in the discourse of the professional community; to develop expertise and be recognized for specialized competence in their field.
  2. 2. 5. How to get started - Write, write, write, write, and write; be doing things; be active and alive; have colleagues; cooperative; offer to read papers and manuscripts; offer to do book reviews; critique and edit; read attentive; be observant; be courteous; be helpful; use technology; do short but interesting pieces; do vignettes (to describe or sketch briefly); do anecdotes (short narrative, interesting amusing incident); write, write, write, write, write; have writers tolls: dictionary, thesaurus, style manuals, library access, publication directory; read critically; be busy doing; write, write, write, write, and write. 6. What will “sell” the editor on your work? What beginners often miss is that, after you have identified an area of interest, the best ideas are most likely to surface during writing rather than prior to writing. 7. Formula: Brilliant Ideas + Good Luck + Knowing the Right People = Publication - Many newcomers to the task of writing articles would produce a formula like this to explain success in writing and publishing in professional journal articles. 8. On scholarly work - Requires a high level of disciplined-related expertise; breaks new ground, is innovative; can be replicated or elaborated; provides documentation of results; is subjected to peer review; has significance or impact; pursuing these goals of scholarship and publication all begins with reading. 9. Reasons to write and publish journal articles - Affirmation from peers; potential influence on the field; staying current in the field; fulfilling the mentoring role. 10. Writing and publishing journal articles enables you to… Disseminate your ideas to a wider audience that typically is possible through conference presentations; establish a reputation in the field as an expert on a particular subject; master the content at a more sophisticated level, thereby enhancing your teaching; expand your teaching role to include anyone who happens to read your work (e.g., students who are conducting library research, scholars in other countries searching for information on the Internet); provide evidence of your competence as an author and persuade a publisher that you have potential as a book author.
  3. 3. 11. Three basic types of articles: practical, review or theoretical, and research - Practical Articles: Written for practitioners in the field. Purpose: To explore the practical implications of theory and research and improve professional practice. Format: Often centered on questions or issues of concern to those in the field. Remember, practical articles deal directly with the situation facing practitioners in the field. Often they take the “how to” approach. They keep readers abreast of new developments in the field. Review or Theoretical Articles: Review theory and research. Purpose: To synthesize previously published research. Format: They are often organized around themes or trends in the research literature identified by the author. Remember, review or theoretical articles synthesize and critically evaluate materials that have already been published. They tend to be “think pieces” that urge readers to reflect on issues of some concern. Research Articles: Reports of original research that include data collected by authors. Purpose: To provide sufficient information for other researchers to understand how they might replicate the study. Format: Typically follows a format such as background, review of literature, research, purpose, questions, subjects, methods, procedures, findings, results, recommendations, and conclusions. 12. Quantitative Studies - When writing quantitative research articles, think about reliability and validity and keep in mind the overarching goals of empirical research: generalization and replication. In empirical research, authors tend to say a little about a lot of participants (e.g., national survey). You will need to provide at least enough detail for readers to decide if your conclusions were warranted. 13. Qualitative Research - Qualitative studies are typically organized by headings such as background/problem statement, subjects, method/procedures, results, discussion, and recommendations and conclusions. Qualitative research more often takes the form of case studies, interviews, narrative research, and various types of enthnography. When writing qualitative research articles, think about key words and phrases from your participants that demonstrate how you arrived at patterns and themes from the mass of words you recorded. Keep in mind the goals of qualitative research: rich description of individuals or cases that have the power to illuminate larger issues. In qualitative research, you will tend to say a lot about a few individuals or
  4. 4. cases. You will need to be credible – in qualitative research, this means you went deep and the sheer amount of information collected over time is compelling. Your readers need to be structure by the “slice of life” quality of your work that is captured in rich detail. 14. On writing books – Writing a book is like driving a car at night. You only see as far as your headlights go, but you can make the whole trip that way; after basic needs are met, human beings naturally strive for belongingness and the esteem of others they admire. 15. Four phases of book publishing: Fun, Drudgery, Torture, and Waiting - Fun: Talking about your idea, getting a proposal put together, signing the contract and going out to celebrate with your editor, colleagues, friends, family; Drudgery: Getting up (or staying up) in the middle of the night, responding to all of the criticism of reviewers, and struggling to write in addition to everything else you have to do or want to do; Torture: Proofreading for errors; responding to a copy editor’s questions about clarity, spelling, consistency, and missing references; helping with the advertising and promotion; Waiting: Watching for the publisher’s catalog, ripping open the carton to see the finished product (that always looks so pitifully small in comparison to the time expended); hoping for a respectable showing on the royalty statement, and wondering why on earth you made such a paltry pay off. Given the sobering view, why would anyone agree to write a book? 16. Some reasons to write a book – Authors learn from writing books; book authors can make a contribution o their fields; book authors are invited to speak at conferences and often paid to speak; book authors get to know other book authors. 17. Where does the dollar go after a book is published? Printing 10%; Distribution: 40-65%; Author Royalty 5-10%; Ongoing Promotion 10-15%; Overhead and Profit 20-35%. 18. What do editors and reviewers really want? Answer: Manuscripts they don’t have to edit. 19. Earning approval from reviewers and editors - Principle 1: Make your manuscript irresistible to reviewers and editors. Write and think clearly. The chief difference between good writing and better writing is the number of hesitations the reader experiences as they read. Reviewers
  5. 5. expect writing to flow so that they can read it smoothly, without reading over or puzzling over what the writer intends. The number one thing that editors and reviewers respond is the quality of the writing and thinking on the printed page. Become familiar with the publishing outlet. Know the journal and its readership. Respect the publisher’s role. Most reviewers for scholarly journals are published authors themselves. They are well acquainted with the pains and pleasures of writing. Reviewers and editors are neither secretaries nor public servants. They are required to render a decision of yes, no, or maybe. They are not even obligated, strictly speaking, to say why. Principle 2: Don’t waste editors’ and reviewers’ time. What follows are the most common ways authors waste an editor’s time: a) Failing to do the necessary homework; b) Refusing to revise; c) Protesting fair appraisals of work; d) Being impatient. Principle 3: Accept responsibility for finding a suitable publishing outlet. The typical journal takes about 3 months to review a manuscript. Multiple submissions – sending the same article to different journals at the same time are not acceptable. Principle 4: Grow up about criticism. One way to defuse the explosive potential of criticism from editorial boards is to conduct an in-house edit of any materials you write before you submit it. Those who can be of the greatest assistance are intelligent and outspoken people, including members of the following groups: Well- read individuals outside your field or who are novices in your field. They can offer a check on clarity. Content experts who have in-depth knowledge of your subject. They can offer a check on accuracy. Readers of the outlet you seek to publish. They are members of the intended audience who can offer an opinion on whether your work is well suited for the particular publication. Authors and editors who are sticklers for details and have mastered the style sheet (e.g., American Psychological Association Style) and format of published works. Principle 5: Understand the evaluation criteria. Editors are knowledgeable about writing in ways that most authors are not. The process of evaluating a manuscript’s relative worth is fundamental to peer - review. Principle 6: Volunteer to become a reviewer. Peer reviewing is worth doing, for the things you learn about yourself as a writer. Every time you provide a thoughtful response to another’s work, whether the manuscript is publishable or not, you gain additional insight into organizing manuscripts. Reviewing also will enable you to glimpse the world of publishing from the inside out as you work with an editor. Reviewers usually are chosen on the basis of commitment to the aims and philosophy of the organization; specialized credentials, competence, and
  6. 6. reputation in the field; demonstrated skills as an author/editor; consistency in providing a prompt review; willingness to provide constructive feedback. Remember, a bad section of writing in a manuscript is like a log in the middle of your living room. If you leave it there, you will have to keep stumbling over it or walking around it. You could wait for it to decompose but it is far more efficient to chop it into firewood or haul it outside as soon as you notice it. Principle 7: Use editorial feedback to improve the work. When editors first skim through your article, they tend to seek affirmative answers to three questions related to the accuracy, creativity, and significance of the article – at their simplest, these questions are: Is it true? Is it new? Is it important? Principle 8: Used editorial feedback to improve the work. When a manuscript is review, three basic decisions are possible: ACCEPTANCE – The manuscript requires only minimal revisions, changes that can be made during the normal editorial process. CONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE – The manuscript has merit but requires more substantial revision. REJECTION – An outright rejection is often signaled by a form letter. Principle 9: Regard reviewers and editors as allies. The best editors know how to balance priorities and manage people. The editor is expected to consider the quality of the product and the performance of the workers while remaining accountable to those who hold the purse strings. Remember, editors like nothing better than identifying good writers who will be a source of high-quality manuscripts. When you communicate with editors, strive to be professional and business-like. Politeness counts, persistence pays, listening skills are important, and learn to take criticism well. Follow directions. Match the style of work to the journal, but conservative (editors will be), reviewers disagree, and editors make mistakes. Principle 10: Joseph Pulitzer advised writers to, “Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they remember it, and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.” 20. What to remember about bad writing - It takes little effort. 21. How to get fired as a reviewer - Lose the manuscript or let it sit on your desk; suggest that the author include something that already appears in the manuscript; criticize the author for making errors, then write a review that contains mistakes; go off on a tangent and write a two-page response to one sentence while ignoring the rest of the manuscript; pass the
  7. 7. manuscript on to someone else to review or quote from it prior to publication without permission; write a treatise on how you would have written the article or book; treat anonymous peer review as a way to punish with impunity. 22. Publish or perish or teach or impeach - You become a better teacher from your writing. You become a better writer from writing. 23. I’ve been rejected many times - should I give up? Rejection is an inescapable part of writing; rejection should not be taken as an indication that you are unsuited to the writing life; make a writing appointment with yourself that will not be cancelled except in a real emergency; where rejections are concerned, remember, keep trying, no matter what, try again, fail gain, and fail better 24. In writing, how you read is important - A civilian readers for entertainment, information, solace. A writer reads for all these, and for craft and technique and tricks of the trade. A writer reads critically, noting what works and what does not work. A writer is always watching, even when he’s reading. 25. How teachable is writing? Writing can be taught. The person has to have motivation to write and take on the task with persistence. Willingness to work at it over a period of time until something like a pattern of success has been built. 26. “I can’t seem to tell how my writing is going while I am doing it. Can you help? Writing is usually a matter of feeling your way, line by line and page by page. Much of the time you simply will not know whether something will work until after you have written it. Remember, try out many different styles and combinations; then, select the best one for yourself. 27. Remember your purpose in writing - Your purpose in writing, even when you are writing as an expert on a topic, is not to show off but to share your ideas in a spirit of generosity. 28. What differentiates ordinary writing from writing with style - Effective writing, academic or otherwise, has a certain unpredictability and element of surprise. To write with style, first be “a good date for your
  8. 8. reader.” Create something of interest and value. Get below the surface which is really the writer’s job. Never write a bad sentence if you can help it. 29. It must get somewhat easier to write; otherwise, how would some authors become so prolific? Writers are comparable to athletes in training. At first, it may seem torturous to spend an hour composing, but, with practice and encouragement, you will learn to tolerate longer stints of writing. No matter how well conditioned you may be, you will always break a sweat. A trained writer has built up the endurance to take on more demanding writing tasks and complete them. But whether you are a marathon writer or a marathon runner, the measure of your success is doing more, not doing less. Another distinction between the more or less experienced is the determination and confidence to go the distance. 30. If writing for publication does not prove to be lucrative, why bother? Think about the things that you have written already. How did the act of writing shape your ideas? Creative work is worthwhile because it is good for your mind in the same way that being healthy is good for your body. With every sentence you write, you have learned something. It has done you good. It has stretched your understanding. Show respect for your writing. It is about what the readers should know. If this puts a strain on a professional relationship, then so be it. 31. Why creative work is worthwhile - Because it offers you freedom. 32. Show respect for your writing - It is about what the readers should know. If this puts a strain on a professional relationship, then so be it. 33. “Why I Write” (Orwell) - Sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose. 34. What really makes an academic write? If it is only a necessity of the education profession, no wonder one’s fingers get tired. No human activity can sap the strength from body and life from spirit as much as writing in which one does not believe. 35. The Writer’s Essential Tools – Words and the power to face unpleasant facts.
  9. 9. 36. No human activity can sap the strength from body and life from spirit as much as writing in which one doesn’t believe. It should be an exhilarating thought for anyone who sits before the keyboard day after day, the idea that writing is a way of continuing to be. And writing is what scholars do. There are worse ways to spend a life than climbing your own mountain. 37. “Because it was there” (Edmund Hillary) - With this comment he supplied generations with a ready-made and unanswerable defense for any new undertaking even writing. 38. Why we write - Nothing really explains why we write, but it’s a sure thing that we try to put words together because of who each of us is. 39. Climbing Your Own Mountain – Writers are a minority of gifted, willful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. 40. Be yourself - Have fun writing. “Chance favors those in motion.” (Zen) References Bernstein, J. (1998). How and why. In L. Gutkind (Ed.), The essayist at work: Profiles of creative nonfiction writers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Brande, D. (1981/1934). Becoming a writer. New York: Tarcher/Putnam. Edelstein, S. (1999). 100 things every writer needs to know. New York: Perigree. Jalongo, M.R., (2002). Writing for publication: A practical guide for educators. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Incorporated. Kerr, M.E. (1998). Blood on the forehead: What I know about writing. New York: Harper-Collins. King, S. (2000). On writing: A memoir of the craft. New York: Scribner. Kritsonis, W.A., & Griffith, K.G. (2007). On writing well for professional publication in national refereed journals in education. The Lamar University Electronic Journal of Student Research, 4(Summer). Retrieved March 15, 2008, from http://dept.lamar.edu/lustudentjnl/ Lamb, B. (1997). Booknotes. New York: Times.
  10. 10. National Book Award Authors (1995). The writing life. New York: Random House. Provost, G. (1985). 100 ways to improve your writing. New York: Mentor/New American Library. Safire W., & Safir, L. (Eds.) (1994). Good advice on writing. New York: Simon & Schuster. Steard, J.B. (1938). Follow the story: How to write successful nonfiction. New York: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster. Ueland, B. (1987/1938). If you want to write: A book about art, independence and spirit. St. Paul, MN: Graywolf Press. Winokur, J. (1999). Advice to writers. New York: Vintage Books. Zinsser, W. (1998). On writing well (6th ed.). New York: Harper Perennial. Formatted by Dr. Mary Alice Kritsonis, National Research and Manuscript Preparation Editor, National FORUM Journals, Houston, Texas www.nationalforum.com Copyright © 2010 William Allan Kritsonis, PhD – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED