NSCPHD1163 Strategic and meta-strategic considerations when publishing in STEM education research

Volume 2015/2016
Math and Science Education PhD students in the Department of Science Education (IND)
  • Subject area

In this course, STEM education researchers analyse their PhD projects from a Toulminian perspective to gain insights into their work from a substantiated ‘claim’ perspective. After using this same analysis on several articles from journals in which they would like to publish, they use these insights to write a publishable article from any point in their PhD project. Their goal is to take their initial article ideas to completion by the end of the course. They will be guided in scholarly writing, review and revision skills by four faculty who review extensively for international STEM journals (see special journal review qualifications attachment).


Preparation before the course:

Participants hand in an outline of a paper that they want to write or bring to completion during the course. Participants also identify two possible journals where they want to publish their paper (along with a brief justification of why these are appropriate). Based on this, the course leaders will identify one or two papers from these journals on which the participant performs a review using a substantiated ‘claim’ analysis devised by the course leaders. These reviews are submitted during the first meeting.


First meetings In October

Participants will analyse the argumentative structure of their own paper-outline, as well as the papers they have reviewed. For this purpose, the participants will use an innovative analytical tool to lay bare the argumentative structure of scholarly papers. The second half of the first meeting focuses on good quality writing in English. This involves both lectures and writing sessions. In addition, participants will partake in an analysis of different journals in STEM education research in order to acquire knowledge of the different norms and genres for and of different journals.


Preparation for the second meeting:

Participants will read about Toulminian argumentation and how it can be applied to PhD studies to align them with publication expectations. They will also read self-selected articles from their ‘target’ journals to continue to align their own work with extant publications. They will also continue to work on their paper based on the input they received during the first meeting. During this period, smaller groups of participants will make biweekly exchanges of small text excerpts from their evolving papers (max 250 words). In this way all participants will learn to give and receive feedback on their writing. Two weeks before the second meeting, the participants will submit the current version of their paper for interim (formative) review by course leaders and guest lecturers.


Second meetings in November

There will be an in-depth writing workshop where participants can discuss more thoroughly with peers, course leaders and guest lecturers about the specific challenges they face when writing their paper. This includes both plenum and small-group sessions. Also, during this meeting participants will study different authentic decision letters from editors and acquire strategies for responding to such letters. The large experience with reviewing submissions to international STEM journals will be used to guide participants to successful scholarly writing.


Preparation for third meeting:

The biweekly exchanges of text excerpts will continue. Two weeks before the third meeting, participants will submit a coherent draft of their paper. The course leaders will provide reviews based on international journal protocols from the journals to which the participants will submit. Second reviewers will be the other course participants. Based on the reviews, course leaders will write what corresponds to an editorial decision letter for each paper.


Final meetingin January

Submitted papers will have been reviewed by faculty and course colleagues. The peer reviews will be shared first and then the faculty comments. Students will be able to evaluate the usefulness of peer reviews. The faulty will also share actual STEM review editorial feedback with the participants and suggest how to respond to editor reviews and comments. Both sets of reviews and interpretations will guide final submissions to chosen journals.

Learning Outcome

Learning outcomes

1. Introduce the participants to strategic and meta-strategic considerations when publishing in an international context.

2. Share with participants the basic tools and foci for scholarly writing.

3.Participants will acquire knowledge of norms, academic genres and bad practice.

4. Participants will learn how to respond to reviews; including simulated reviews on writings from the course lecturers.

5. Participants will have a peer and professionally reviewed article ready to correct and submit by the end of the course.

Research on Toulmin claims argumentation from research conducted by two of the faculty members.

Iterative reviews by faculty experienced in reviewing for international science and math education journals.

PhD student in science or math education
Any point in a PhD project with a goal to produce one publishable article for an international journal by the end of the course.
three two-day seminars separated by at least a month with a combination of lecture, analysis and writing
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 103
  • Total
  • 103
Type of assessment
Practical written examination, handed in at final meeting
The article written all during the course will be ready for submission and shared with other participants and faculty at the final meeting.
Exam registration requirements
The exam is just the final iteratively developed paper that accomodates the peer and expert reviews aligned with a specific target journal.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
completed/not completed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period
Final full day of course taking turns sharing with the class.
Any time when article is completed and ready for submission.
Criteria for exam assesment

Ready for submission to the target journal based on all of the course analysis and feedback.