Monday, April 7, 2014

Vetting Prospective Venues for Student Research Papers

It is my belief that student research papers can and should find authentic audiences. This is why I require my students to conduct social discovery. During their writing process, they reach out to a variety of types of individuals to obtain social proof for their developing ideas. As they formalize their research, they target specific presentation or publication venues. When my students submit their final papers to me, they are required to document the process of their paper's development and to indicate they have submitted their paper to one of those venues.

As an interim step prior to that final submission report, I am now requiring my students to vet their prospective venues. In short, I want to be certain that they have investigated the conference or the publication outlet with respect to topic, timeliness, length, tone, formatting and any other submission requirements. In short, I don't want their submission to be an academic exercise; I want them to have a serious shot at getting their work accepted.

To this end, I am making the following assignment for my students.

Create a blog post in which you introduce and vet your prospective venues for the presentation or publication of your completed research paper. Include all of the following categories. In order to give meaningful responses to some of these, you are required to find and read two examples of prior publications or presentations from your intended venue.

  1. Venue Research and Reading Report
    "In preparation for submitting to ______________, I read the following two articles (if a publication) / conference program and abstracts (if a conference)" (include complete citation). Refer to this reading and research in responding to items 4-7 below.
  2. Venue Title and Sponsoring Organization
    If this is a conference, include both the title of the conference and the conference panel. If there is sponsoring organization, name this as well. The links to these should not be to a call for papers or submissions, but to the general entry point for the conference, publication, and organization.
  3. Call for Papers and Dates (for submission, and for event/publication)
    Link to the page calling for papers or submissions, and indicate clearly when submissions are due and when the event takes place or when the publication is slated.
  4. Topic
    Briefly state why your topic would be appropriate for the targeted venue. Refer to the call for papers, the general topics of that venue, and/or to the publications you read.
  5. Length
    State the required length. If no length is indicated, investigate the length of comparable papers that have appeared in this venue and report on that. 
  6. Formatting
    Is a documentation style indicated? If so, what? If not, how have prior publications handled in-text citations and bibliography? Do published versions include subheadings or images? If so, how will you include these in your own submission?
  7. Tone & Rhetorical Approach
    Identify the tone and rhetorical approach of your target venue. Refer to examples in the articles or abstracts that you read.
  8. Social Media
    Identify social media and hashtags used to discuss this venue. Refer to any of the following: Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, Google+ pages, Pinterest pages, etc.
  9. Mentions 
    1) Use your own social media to mention your interest in or intention to submit to your target venues.
    2) Search social media to find those who have discussed your targeted venue and name one or two such individuals.