Penn State

Jane B. Keat - associate professor of education and program coordinator of early childhood education, Penn State Harrisburg

Book Title: Writing for Academic Journals

Author: Rowena Murray

Book Description:

When I began to teach preschool children, I searched many books for research summaries and related strategy recommendations. For two decades, my fellow teachers and I intentionally improved our professional practice by continually reading. In addition, we talked, altered, observed, noted, discussed and read more. We knew we were learning, and we were proud of our work with children; however, we never considered writing for publication to share what we learned with other teachers.

When I began to teach graduate students in courses about action research for teachers, I searched for and found books that summarized research recommended practitioner research strategies. For over a decade, graduate students and I enacted the steps of action research toward our individual goals of improving professional practice. We reported to one another the details of what we learned about students, instruction, climate, and assessment; however, we never thought about writing for publication so that other teachers might benefit.

The year that I entered a tenure-track position, I was assigned to teach a course in which the key assessment was to write a publishable quality paper. In addition, I became involved in several collaborative research studies with other tenure-track faculty who had never submitted to an academic journal. Although my graduate students, colleagues and I had written many papers for many courses and graduate programs, we all recognized that writing for academic journals required different skills. Therefore, I searched for and found Rowena Murray’s book which motivates, informs, encourages, organizes, scaffolds, reassures, illustrates and prompts. Guided by this book, my students, colleagues and I have successfully contributed our perspectives, findings, and voices to the educational dialogue.

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