Academic journal article College Student Journal

Publish That Paper-But Where? Faculty Knowledge and Perceptions of Undergraduate Publications

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Publish That Paper-But Where? Faculty Knowledge and Perceptions of Undergraduate Publications

Article excerpt

Faculty may encourage undergraduates to publish their original research, and several journals targets for students have been created. However, little is known about faculty familiarity and perceptions of these periodicals. In Study 1, Psi Chi advisors and non-advisors completed a survey that assessed 5 student-based psychology journals and 14 general, professional journals. Both advisors and non-advisors were relatively unfamiliar and unlikely to recommend both sets of journals. Study 2 indicated that non-advisors strongly support undergraduate publications when they chose between (hypothetical) published and unpublished students seeking admission to doctoral psychology programs. Student-based journals in psychology have an "identity crisis" such that many faculty are not aware of their existence, but faculty do encourage undergraduates to publish original research.


Graduate psychology programs consistently state that research experience impresses admission committees (Landrum, Jeglum, & Cashin, 1994; Mayne, Norcross, & Sayette, 1994; Norcross, Sayette, Mayne, Karg, & Turkson, 1998). In fact, research leading to a journal publication is the most important non-objective admission criterion into graduate psychology programs (Carmody, 1998; Keith-Spiegel, Tabachnick, & Spiegel, 1994; Landrum, Davis, & Landrum, 2000). The professional review process for top-tier journals (e.g., APA periodicals) is long, tedious, and rejection rates are quite high (Meyers, Reid, & Quinn, 1998). Certainly, all students would like to have a publication in a premier, specialty-area journal, but such outcomes are rare (Meyers et al., 1998). Students must rely on publications in student-based and general professional journals to enhance their chances of being admitted to doctoral programs in psychology. Powell (2000) reported that a publication "really impress graduate schools" and publication in a student-based journal "looks very good on a resume and application" (p. 29).

We explored these claims by conducting two national surveys of U.S. psychology faculty. In Study 1 we compared faculty Psi Chi advisors with non-advisors about their knowledge and opinions of a sample of student-based and a matched set of general professional journals. It seemed conceptually logical that Psi Chi advisors would be well informed about publication outlets for undergraduate psychology students. In Study 2 we presented hypothetical scenarios of two students with or without publications in either student or professional periodicals. The second set of psychology faculty determined if publications in these periodicals improve acceptance to a doctoral graduate program in psychology.

Study 1 Method


Mailing labels containing the current name and school address for each of the 950 Psi Chi advisors were provided by the Psi Chi national office and a random sample of 950 American Psychological Society (APS) members' were generated from the 1999 APS Directory of Members. We selected APS as the source for the non-advisors because most of its members are instructors at colleges and universities. From these samples minus non-forwarded envelopes, 195 Psi Chi advisors (20.8%) and 187 non-advisors (20%) returned surveys. Overall, respondents most often taught at a public institution (59.5%) with a mean of 362 undergraduate psychology majors (SD = 112.9), 50 graduate students (SD = 21.1), and 17 full-time psychology faculty (SD = 8.4). Respondents also identified their institution as a "teaching university" offering bachelor's and typically master's level degrees (49.7%; n = 190), a "liberal arts college" offering exclusively bachelor degrees (33.8%; n = 129), or primarily a "research university" that offered doctoral degrees (16.5%; n = 63).


Faculty were mailed a survey, return postage-paid envelope, and a cover letter requesting participation. …

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