Dissertation to Publication Workshop Aims to Remove Barrier to Publishing Dissertation Research in Peer-Reviewed Journals
After years spent researching, writing and ultimately defending their doctoral dissertations, newly-minted academic doctors have one more hurdle to clear to lend credence to expertise in their field — publication of their dissertation research in a peer-reviewed journal.
The process can be daunting, often requiring significant cuts and revisions to the final product. It’s such a challenge that many doctoral dissertations wind up forgotten in libraries, unread and collecting dust. And for graduates who are working professionals juggling family, full-time work and an academic career, being able to publish may present an even greater challenge.
Dr. Mansureh Kebritchi, the founder and chair of the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research at University of Phoenix, wanted to help close this all-too common post-dissertation gap. In 2017, she created the innovative UOPX workshop Dissertation to Publication to help propel the careers of new academics, get often-overlooked research in front of a larger audience and introduce opportunities to networking through publication. Publication is often an unsupported endeavor, but it’s a very important part of an academic’s career trajectory.
“Publishing is like opening the door, entering a garden of community,” Dr. Kebritchi said. “If they don’t publish, they are disconnected from this community.”
Since 2017, the workshop’s participants have submitted 438 articles to peer-reviewed journals. The workshop is free for UOPX alumni and affiliates, but anyone with a body of research they want to publish is also able to enroll at a registration cost of $250. It is offered twice a year with registration deadlines in August and November, and provides participants with structured support and guidelines through five monthly web-based meetings.
The process focuses on helping authors hone in on the essential information for journal publication, often requiring significant cuts to a document that has been three to four years in the making.
“The University of Phoenix didn’t just drop me off at the doorstep. They allowed me to continue on with the research, to really become one with it. And that is what I appreciate.”
— Dr. Jerry A. Bolling, Doctor of Management (2017)
Dr. Jerry A. Bolling, who earned his Doctor of Management from University of Phoenix in 2017, recalls having to cut his 250-page, carefully crafted dissertation on upward bullying in the workplace to less than 25 pages for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
The workshop helped him target appropriate journals for publication, create and populate three sections of focus -- introduction, method and results -- and a period of review and feedback of the resulting article by experienced faculty. The workshop yields a final product that is ready to be submitted to journals for consideration.
Bolling said he felt the workshop not only led to a publishable article, but helped him gain a deeper understanding of the work he produced.
This experience is common because producing a journal article requires a different type of writing than a dissertation, said Dr. Elizabeth Johnston, UOPX Associate Faculty College of Doctoral Studies, who is a reviewer for the Dissertation to Publication workshop and a dissertation chair.
“The job becomes extracting the deepest meaning and being able to present it in a succinct and compelling narrative,” Johnston said.
While it is the same research, it is a different perspective. The author has a doctoral degree at this point, so the basic skills of their field are mastered. Really what they need, and what the workshop provides, is the support to make the jump from becoming
a published researcher, which lends more weight to their roles as leaders in their field.
Dr. Kebritchi added that another consideration for the creation of the Dissertation to Publication workshop is that it also benefits the University as a whole. The more articles UOPX graduates publish in peer-reviewed journals, the more the prestige of the institution will continue to grow. It’s a win-win for all, but with a student-centered focus.
In the end, from the doctoral student’s perspective, Dr. Bolling affirms the positive impact of the workshop, saying it provided him with a platform for the next phase of his career. And it also sets UOPX apart in its efforts to support alumni beyond graduation.
“The University of Phoenix didn’t just drop me off at the doorstep,” he said. “They allowed me to continue on with the research, to really become one with it. And that is what I appreciate.”