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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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7. Singleton-Jackson J, Lumsden DB, Newson R2009Johnny still can’t write, even if he goes to college: a study of writing proficiency in higher education graduate studentsCurr Iss Educ1210https://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/article/view/45.
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9. Doran JM, Somerville W, Harlem-Siegel J, Steele H2014The more you know: the impact of publication and peer-review experience on psychology graduate studentsTeach Psychol41212212910.1177/0098628314530342 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0098628314530342
10. Maher MA, Feldon DF, Timmerman BE, Chao J2014Faculty perceptions of common challenges encountered by novice doctoral writersHigher Educ Res Devt33469971110.1080/07294360.2013.863850 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2013.863850
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2018-03-30
2018-09-20

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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