Date of Graduation

Spring 2021

Degree

Master of Arts in Writing

Department

English

Committee Chair

Lyn Gattis

Keywords

usability, academic publishing, undergraduate research journals, research competencies, technical communication, student editors

Subject Categories

Scholarly Publishing | Technical and Professional Writing

Abstract

In 1998, the Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University suggested that undergraduate students should be involved in research to improve their learning. Undergraduate research publications arose partially as a response to this suggestion because they allow students to engage in experiential learning. They also allow students to see research as serving a larger purpose rather than simply satisfying a requirement for a grade. Students, especially undergraduates, often serve as editors on undergraduate publications, but it is unclear what they understand about research, both as it applies to their own work as well as work from different disciplines, and how well they grasp key research competencies. Through an analysis of completed student editor review forms, written interviews with managing editors from three regional undergraduate publications, and a usability test of the review form with prospective student editors, I argue student editors of an undergraduate research journal appear to have knowledge gaps related to research competencies and they, as well as their managing editors, may be aware of them. Journal leadership can begin to fill knowledge gaps by supplementing classroom learning about research methods and writing and by revising their review forms and materials to better serve the student editors’ needs. Ultimately, to remain sustainable and as impactful to student editors as they are to authors, leaders and advisors of undergraduate research publications should consider running usability tests of their materials so they might diagnose usability problems and revise with their student editors as the focus.

Copyright

© Meluso Rosaria Meluso

Available for download on Sunday, May 01, 2022

Open Access

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