Teacher Response to Module #3: When Is An Argument Not An Argument?

Grades on Blackboard.

Everyone got the same feedback:

“This is really getting somewhere. Now you need to identify a journal and write to the conventions of that journal/editor of that journal.”

This is a very good thing

In every graduate class I’ve taken or taught, students reach a certain point of theoretical density that is sufficient for a “term paper,” which is still the dominant genre of graduate seminar paper in our field. A term paper is not a publishable paper, however, because it doesn’t necessarily interact with a specific venue for publication.

In order to get published, in other words, you have to write an article that is publishable within a specific journal. This means:

  • Catching the eye of an editor with a compelling argument and timely idea
  • Matching your writing style to the style most prevalent within that journal
  • Making a persuasive case for why your particular theoretical argument belongs within the conversation present within that journal
  • Submitting a manuscript that is well-written and matches the editorial guidelines for the journal (e.g. length, preferred citation system, formatting, etc.)
  • Successfully incorporating reviewer feedback, should you get a revise and resubmit
  • Seeking assistance from┬áthe editor of the journal if you have questions about formatting your manuscript, or if you are unclear how to incorporate reviewer feedback, including asking them for a phone call or Skype call to ask in-depth questions
  • Starting this process over with a new journal, should your manuscript ultimately be declined
  • Learning from early publishing mistakes and improving your writing continuously until it is of publishable quality