Finding Opportunities to Publish in Graduate School

Recently, I had a conversation with some doctoral students which has since spawned a whole host of things for me to do. The conversation centered around publishing. As it is to be expected, people had questions about how to get published during graduate school. The conversation led me to think I should start writing about some of that on here and putting together a series of videos.

The way that I am approaching this is simple – I want to structure posts and videos in response to questions YOU have about grad school. If you have a question, there is an excel sheet that you can enter it on. You don’t need to put your name or anything. It doesn’t matter where you add the question (do put it on Sheet One). I am not writing posts/making videos in the order that the questions appear on the sheet. I’m making them in the order that it makes logical sense to me. So if you want to shape the content on this blog and my YouTube channel, this is your chance.

I want to kick off this series by talking about how to find opportunities to publish in graduate school. This stems from a larger question of how to write for publication. If you want to get published, then there are a series of things you need to think through in order to make that happen. So I’m taking this larger question of how to write for publication and breaking it down into a series of shorter posts and videos.

booksOpportunity #1: Look at Your Courses

Your courses will require you to write papers (for the most part). Why not use some of those papers as publication opportunities? During my time as a graduate student two of my five publications came from course papers. One look at reading achievement tests and policies across several states. The second was a literature review. Of course I wrote way more papers than that in my classes, but not all of the papers made sense to publish, held my interest to develop into a publishable paper, or connected to my larger research interest. If you can identify one paper per year from your courses to develop into a publication then you are doing just fine. You only have so much time! And guess what? My most sited paper was a literature review written during my second year in grad school. I need to do a follow-up to it.

Opportunity #2: Comprehensive Exams

Obviously each doctoral program has their own policy for comprehensive exams. When I did mine, I had to write two short papers and one long one. The idea was that the long one (about 25 pages) would be something that could be turned into a publication. My long paper was a literature review that related to a question in support of my dissertation. So spending extra time on it beyond the comprehensive exam period was well worth my time. It was worth my time not just to get a publication but also because it helped deepen and extend my knowledge about the research done in my field. Can’t go wrong with that.

Opportunity #3: The Dissertation

Before you actually collect data¬†and analyzing it, you will have read a ton of stuff about your area. And you will have to, as a part of your dissertation, write a literature review that situates dissertationyour study within the field. Hello! That’s a publication right there. For me, I was able to write up some of my findings and get them published as part of a conference I attended during my final year as a graduate student. Although the piece was published during my first year as an Assistant Professor, I wrote it during my last semester in graduate school. Obviously you will have many opportunities to publish from your dissertation after you have defended it, but consider what you can publish from it before you do so. At the very least, you should be able to publish a literature review or a theoretical/conceptual paper.

You Are Already Doing the Work

You are already doing the work in grad school to generate publications. You’re already getting the ball rolling. All you need to do is take it to the next level which requires you to follow through on developing your paper into something you can submit for publication. No one finishes this during a single semester. Taking a course or comps paper to the stage where it is ready to go out for review requires you to do additional work. I know….there are a whole host of questions that spring from this including:

(a) how do you know when a paper is ready for review and how long does it take to get it up to this standard?

(b) how do you develop a writing schedule that will support you in getting work published?

(c) how do you identify a journal for publication?

From there come questions about what to do with feedback and rejections, but I think these three questions will keep us plenty busy for now. The next post/video will focus on identifying a journal for publication. For me, once I know what I want to write about I then identify where I will send it to. Then I set my writing schedule and start to get it up to code. So before we can talk about schedules and quality, we’ll focus on how to figure out where to send your paper too.

Things I Published in Grad School

Duke, N.K., Purcell-Gates, V., Hall, L.A., & Tower, C. (2006). Authentic literacy activities for developing comprehension and writing. The Reading Teacher, 60, (4), 344-355.

Hall, L.A. (2005). Struggling readers and content area text: Interactions with and perceptions of comprehension, self, and success. Research in Middle-Level Education, 39, (4), 1-19.

Hall L.A. (2005). Teachers and content area reading: Attitudes, beliefs, and change. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21, (4), 403-414. Most cited paper!!!

Hall, L.A. (2005). Comprehending expository texts: Promising strategies for struggling readers and students with reading disabilities? Reading Research and Instruction, 44, (2), 75-95.

Hall, L.A. (2002). Social studies standards, benchmarks, and assessments: An analysis of an eighth grade exam. The Social Studies, 93, (5), 213-217.


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