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Engaging in the Publication Process Improves Perceptions of Scientific Communication, Critique, and Career Skills Among Graduate Students

    Authors: Elizabeth A. Johnson1, Sarah C. Fankhauser1,2,*
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Oxford College of Emory University, Oxford, GA; 2: Journal of Emerging Investigators, Boston, MA
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1429
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    Abstract:

    Reading and critiquing primary scientific literature is an important skill for graduate students, as reviewing literature is critical to advancing science. Prior research indicates that graduate students lack understanding of effective communication as well as basic experimental design, but also that graduate students are capable of growth in their experimental design abilities when given proper opportunities. The provides graduate students with the opportunity to review and edit original research papers submitted by middle and high school student-authors. The purpose of this project was to determine whether participation in the primary literature process through effectively aids in developing graduate students’ perceived abilities in the domains of communication, scientific critique, and career preparation. A 12-question survey was distributed using SurveyMonkey to 215 reviewers and editors. Editors, whose role involves the synthesis of feedback from multiple reviewers and interaction with papers in their earliest stages, perceived that they benefited more than did reviewers in every domain assessed by the survey. Perceived impact on critiquing skills was only rated more highly by reviewers than by editors once the graduate students in question had reviewed 10 or more papers. The results of this research suggest that graduate students should participate early and often in the reading and reviewing of primary literature; furthermore, the study of flawed science writing can help to improve experimental design, critique, and science communication skills.

References & Citations

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2. Tour E, Abdullah C, Oarris J, Lie R, Gudzar A 2015 Fostering critical thinking skills in a master’s-level course via in-depth analysis of primary literature FASEB J 29 1 Suppl 559.20
3. Kuehne LM, Twardochleb LA, Fritschie KJ, Mims MC, Lawrence DJ, Gibson PP, Stewart-Koster B, Olden JD 2014 Practical science communication strategies for graduate students Conserv Biol 28 5 1225 1235 10.1111/cobi.12305 24762116 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12305
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5. Suleski J, Ibaraki M 2010 Scientists are talking, but mostly to each other: a quantitative analysis of research represented in mass media Public Underst Sci 19 115 125 10.1177/0963662508096776 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963662508096776
6. Jensen P, Rouquier JB, Kreimer P, Croissant Y 2008 Scientists who engage with society perform better academically Sci Public Pol 35 7 527 541 10.3152/030234208X329130 http://dx.doi.org/10.3152/030234208X329130
7. Singleton-Jackson J, Lumsden DB, Newson R 2009 Johnny still can’t write, even if he goes to college: a study of writing proficiency in higher education graduate students Curr Iss Educ 12 10https://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/article/view/45.
8. Alter C, Adkins C 2006 Assessing student writing proficiency in graduate schools of social work J Soc Work Educ 42 2 337 354 10.5175/JSWE.2006.200404109 http://dx.doi.org/10.5175/JSWE.2006.200404109
9. Doran JM, Somerville W, Harlem-Siegel J, Steele H 2014 The more you know: the impact of publication and peer-review experience on psychology graduate students Teach Psychol 41 2 122 129 10.1177/0098628314530342 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0098628314530342
10. Maher MA, Feldon DF, Timmerman BE, Chao J 2014 Faculty perceptions of common challenges encountered by novice doctoral writers Higher Educ Res Devt 33 4 699 711 10.1080/07294360.2013.863850 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2013.863850
11. Simpson S, Clemens R, Killingsworth DR, Ford JD 2015 Creating a culture of communication: a graduate-level STEM communication fellows program at a science and engineering university Across Discipl 12 3 n3
12. Zolman JF 1999 Teaching experimental design to biologists Adv Physiol Educ 227 6 S111 S118 10.1152/advances.1999.277.6.S111 http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/advances.1999.277.6.S111
13. Aiken LS, West SG, Millsap RE 2008 Doctoral training in statistics, measurement, and methodology in psychology: replication and extension of Aiken, West, Sechrest, and Reno’s (1990) survey of PhD programs in North America Am Psychol 63 1 32 50 10.1037/0003-066X.63.1.32 18193979 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.63.1.32
14. Cho YH, Cho K 2011 Peer reviewers learn from giving comments Instruct Sci 39 5 629 643 10.1007/s11251-010-9146-1 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11251-010-9146-1
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2018-03-30
2019-06-26

Abstract:

Reading and critiquing primary scientific literature is an important skill for graduate students, as reviewing literature is critical to advancing science. Prior research indicates that graduate students lack understanding of effective communication as well as basic experimental design, but also that graduate students are capable of growth in their experimental design abilities when given proper opportunities. The provides graduate students with the opportunity to review and edit original research papers submitted by middle and high school student-authors. The purpose of this project was to determine whether participation in the primary literature process through effectively aids in developing graduate students’ perceived abilities in the domains of communication, scientific critique, and career preparation. A 12-question survey was distributed using SurveyMonkey to 215 reviewers and editors. Editors, whose role involves the synthesis of feedback from multiple reviewers and interaction with papers in their earliest stages, perceived that they benefited more than did reviewers in every domain assessed by the survey. Perceived impact on critiquing skills was only rated more highly by reviewers than by editors once the graduate students in question had reviewed 10 or more papers. The results of this research suggest that graduate students should participate early and often in the reading and reviewing of primary literature; furthermore, the study of flawed science writing can help to improve experimental design, critique, and science communication skills.

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FIGURE 1

Mean perceived impact among reviewers and editors across three domains. Respondents were asked to rank the impact of their participation in on three domains using a 6-point Likert scale.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1429
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Mean perceived impact for skills in the three domains. A) Scientific communication, B) scientific critique, C) career. For each domain, respondents were asked to assess the perceived impact of reviewing or editing for on specific skills and to rank the change due to in these skills on a six-point Likert scale, where 1 = significant decrease, 2 = moderate decrease, 3 = slight decrease, 4 = slight improvement, 5 = moderate improvement, and 6 = significant improvement.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1429
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Image of FIGURE 3

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FIGURE 3

Change in mean perceived impact on skills across three domains based on experience. A) Mean perceived impact reported by editors based on the number of papers edited at the time of the survey. B) Mean perceived impact reported by reviewers based on the number of papers reviewed at the time of the survey.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1429
Download as Powerpoint
Image of FIGURE 4

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FIGURE 4

Mean perceived impact on skills by age. Respondents were asked to rank the impact of their participation in on three domains using a six-point Likert scale.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1429
Download as Powerpoint

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