Terry O’Banion offers 10 guidelines for successfully transforming your work into an academic article (or two) that reaches more readers. Nuria Gual Belles/istock/getty images plus At long last, you’ve finished your dissertation. But, unfortunately, for all the work you’ve put into it, it may only be read by members of your committee, your editor if you needed one and maybe your mother. Still, ideally, it contains original research that’s important enough to share with other people in your field.
The best way to do that is for you to write an article based on your research for an academic journal or some other venue. You might consider writing scholarly journal articles or more informal editorials, opinion pieces, blog posts and so on for the popular press, which also have value. The research articles carry more weight in academe, however, and are the focus of this essay.
The challenge of writing a research article is that you have had to follow a fairly distinctive formula in preparing the dissertation, and you must abandon that formula in writing the article. But if you believe that colleagues in your field will be interested in your research, you should consider writing an article soon after you pass the final doctoral defense. Waiting too long to write it encourages procrastination, may make your data out of date and may cause any committee member who might volunteer to review your article drafts to lose interest.
Another factor should compel you to write an article soon: as a new doctoral graduate, you have joined a special club of highly educated aspiring leaders in your field, and your committee members, program leaders and others will expect that you will add to the knowledge in your discipline by writing. You have a professional obligation to make this commitment to your mentors and colleagues a reality. And finally, you will have recently learned a great deal about good writing just by completing the dissertation, and it will be helpful for your future success if you continue to improve your skills by continuing to write.
In my own publishing experience, I have written 18 books, 24 monographs and reports, 28 chapters in other books, and more than 200 articles. I have also published three articles from my dissertation and have worked with more than 100 doctoral students in my career as a professor of higher education at the University of Illinois, the University of Texas at Austin, Nova University, Kansas State University and the University of California, Berkeley. I have always encouraged students to write an article or two based on their dissertations, and I am pleased to share what I’ve learned over the years in 10 guidelines.
> Determine if and why an article based on your research is worth publishing. Ask yourself: Is the topic of the dissertation relevant to the important issues in your field? Does your study address an issue in a creative and innovative way? Do your findings answer significant questions? If the conclusions and implications were implemented, would […]