First journal article published

I’m pleased to say that my first journal article has been published in the Studies in Technology Enhanced Learning journal. In this post, I share my experiences of writing for a journal and my experiences of the peer review process.

I should start by saying that I was delayed in writing this post and my article was actually published a few months ago. Anyway….!

My PhD is a taught programme, which means you have the opportunity to write several small research projects before you undertake your final thesis. As a result, you learn a lot about different research methodologies before your final thesis begins. You also get to peer-review work from other students in your cohort. One of my research papers looked at collaboration between instructional designers and subject matter experts in digital transformation projects. This article was published as part of a special issue focusing on teaching practices in times of digital transformation.

You can access my research paper via the following link: https://stel.pubpub.org/pub/03-02-gottler-2023/release/1?readingCollection=4cd5a496

The Studies in Technology Enhanced Learning journal is edited by Dr. Brett Bligh and Dr. Kyungmee Lee in association with Lancaster University, both of which I have had the pleasure of being supervised by in various modules during my time on part one of the PhD programme (I should note that Dr. Lee is my amazing supervisor and has since left Lancaster to work at Seoul National University).

The journal is described as:

a peer-reviewed, open-access journal intended as a vehicle for publishing works of empirical investigation, critical commentary, and scholarly review in technology enhanced learning research.

STEL Journal

As part of publishing my article, I was invited to peer review another article submitted to the journal for the special digital transformation issue. The peer review process is not too dissimilar from my instructional design content analysis process, which is an adaptation of a process I learned when I completed my proofreading and editing course. My usual approach is to focus on the content to try to gain a deep understanding of the “how, what, when, where and who.” I tend not to point out too many spelling, grammar and punctuation issues, as there are software tools that can do a better job of this than me! Of course, if spelling, grammar or punctuation is so bad that it affects my understanding of the paper, it obviously has to be raised.

One hugely useful resource for learning about the peer review process is a video by Dr. Kyungmee Lee and Dr. Brett Bligh. As this video is freely available on the Lancaster University YouTube channel, I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about conducting a peer review.

My article was also peer-reviewed and received two sets of feedback from individual reviewers. I found the feedback useful as it helped me to improve my paper and strengthen my arguments. I’ve said this time and time again, but when you work on something for a long time, sometimes it becomes difficult to see the wood between the trees. Having a second opinion is always incredibly useful for me. I collated the feedback I received into a table and used it as a checklist, noting what I actioned and changed and what I didn’t (which also included a justification for why I didn’t action particular points). For the most part, I changed or incorporated a majority of the feedback I received. There were some things I didn’t include as it was just outside of the scope of my paper or I didn’t quite agree with myself. The process is long and it does take time and you really need to make sure you can stick to deadlines.

The PhD programme has been incredibly useful in giving me the tools, knowledge and confidence to write and publish articles. I know for a fact that I am not the best when it comes to writing, grammar and punctuation, and I do feel incredibly self-conscious about my writing. I feel that this blog is a bit of a safe space as the only rules are the ones I set myself, but I try to keep it professional, clear and concise. It’s annoying because I really do have a true passion for writing so it is always a struggle when it comes to posting something in the public domain (as people aren’t always very kind). I don’t actually have plans to publish anything else right now, but I do hope that this publication is the first of many.

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