By Jim Parsons, Executive Editor
The Canadian Journal for Teacher Research
I have been approached a number of times recently with a query that goes something like this:
Hi Jim, My name is _______, and I have just finished my MEd. I would love to write an article about my research for The Canadian Journal for Teacher Research, but I fear my work is too long for your journal. It is about 6000 words. Would you consider publishing it?
The person is correct, we generally don’t like to publish articles that are that long, especially if they are also really “formal” – it just isn’t what we feel our mandate is. Instead, we are interested in teachers informing teachers about their own research and what that research might for their colleagues. In short, we want to help build a community of practice, where teachers support each other’s professional learning. As I note in my work, I consider myself an applied researcher. By this phrase, I mean that I am interested in the (1) What? (What did I find?); (2) So What? (What does what I found mean for me and for others?); and, (3) Now what? (What should we do stemming from my research findings?
So, what do you do with your longish, formal article? And, how can you shape it to fit The Canadian Journal for Teachers’ Research (CJTR)?
The first thing I would encourage all “new” researchers to do with their 5000 word article is to send it to ERIC; and, I suggest doing it as soon as possible. Most educators and researchers know about ERIC, and many use it to find articles. But fewer educators and researchers think to share their work on ERIC. That’s a mistake. At the CJTR, we believe we all should share our work widely, and ERIC is a perfect venue for sharing. ERIC is ubiquitous; it’s easy to use; and has, recently, worked to make its database of educational articles and papers full-text.
For those who don’t know ERIC, simply stated it catalogues educational journal articles and houses educational papers – from conferences, presentations, or simply from educational thinkers and researchers who want to share their papers. I encourage you to send your papers to ERIC – just follow the directions: it isn’t difficult to download a paper. If it’s good – and most are – it will be posted.
Then what? Let me ask a question? Have you done a presentation using a PowerPoint (PPT) that speaks to your work? If you have, you are ready to write. In fact, you have already started to write. You will want to copy the words you have used on your PPT and begin writing from these words. On the right hand side of the top of PPT format is an outline function - rather than a slide "showing" function (on the left); and, if you copy the words in your outline and use those words to write an article, usually you can keep what you want to say down to the 1500-2000 words we prefer for CJTR. I have used this technique many times to produce readable, shorter articles that have been published globally.
If you have not done a PPT, and you want to write an article for CJTR, I would suggest you start by doing a PPT. Construct a PPT that shows others what you want to say. If you don’t work to create something manageable, you will have a tendency to try to whittle at your lengthy article; and, if you are like me (and other writers I know) you will go crazy trying to lose phrases and words – and you might quit.
By the way, once you have created a PPT, I suggest you also share the work you have done in presentation formats – ask to present at a local PD venue or at your teacher conference. Can you imagine if all of as teachers started to share our work?
I hope my suggestions make sense, and I invite you to submit the work you create to me at CJTR. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org