Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Writing Research Reports and Scholarly Manuscripts for Journal Publication: Pitfalls and Promises

Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Writing Research Reports and Scholarly Manuscripts for Journal Publication: Pitfalls and Promises

Article excerpt

Based on scholarly literature and the author's experiences in research, writing, and publishing, the article presents valuable information, strategies, and guidelines for carrying out research and preparing research reports and scholarly manuscripts for publication in refereed journals. The primary aim of the article is to help prospective authors gain acceptance of their manuscripts for publication by minimizing errors and maximizing rigor and overall quality. The article addresses the topics of (a) developing the research idea or problem from a race-conscious worldview, (b) choosing an appropriate research method, (c) effectively writing the research report, (d) acquiring and using Microsoft Word skills in writing and formatting the manuscript, (e) editorially reviewing or screening the manuscript before submission to a journal in order to avoid errors and omissions that can contribute to rejection, and (f) considering issues and concerns related to research that involves Black participants. Moreover, the article provides limited discussion related to writing book reviews, theoretical papers, and textbooks, as well as editing textbooks.

The idea of writing this article for this special issue originated with a recommendation from a member of The Journal of Negro Education's "Young Scholars" Editorial Board, Dr. Robert C. Teranishi. The Young Scholars Editorial Board is made up of doctoral students and new doctorates who are starting their careers. Therefore, this article began with the expressed idea and need for older or more experienced scholars to pass on their knowledge and skills about research, writing, and publishing to younger scholars. Of course, it is assumed that some things presented in the breadth of this article may already be known by the reader; however, it is also assumed that a number of facts and strategies may not be privy to the reader, and such information would be helpful to improve research, writing, and opportunity for publishing.

To a degree, this article is based on the author's professional experiences, over the years, as editor of three refereed journals, reviewer for 10 scholarly journals, author and editor/coeditor of textbooks, author of theoretical and research articles, advisor to numerous doctoral dissertations, and consultant to publishers and grant agencies on book manuscripts and proposals for research projects, respectively. Moreover, based on research authorities and resourceful scholarly literature, this article includes knowledge, strategies, and recommendations for conducting research and preparing the research report for publication. Although this article mainly focuses on preparing research manuscripts for publication in scholarly journals, it provides additional information, strategies, and insight on writing other scholarly manuscripts for publication.


Etiology of the Research Problem or Idea

The educational researcher tends to choose a problem or idea based on (a) theoretical assumptions or principles that can be converted into testable research questions or hypotheses, (b) research that has been published or cited in the literature, (c) personal interests based on the researcher's professional experiences or personal life observations, (d) educational or career opportunities for research activity (e.g., a research grant, postdoctoral research, or employment in a research center or institute), (e) judicial decisions and legislative acts that impact education and society and generate research inquiry (e.g., Brown v. Board of Education, 1954, 1955), (f) various sociohistorical events that impact education and, thus, create a need for or interest in related research (e.g., changing immigration-population patterns and technological changes and advances in society), and (g) popularity of an educational issue or trend as reflected in the scholarly literature. Johnson and Christensen (2004) simplify reasons for choosing a research problem by stating that, "Typically, research ideas originate from one of four sources: everyday life, practical issues, past research, or theory" (p. …

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