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Going the Extra Mile: The Rewards of Publishing Your Research
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by Sheila Brownlow - Catawba College
Category: Editorials & Invited Articles
Although most psychologists are naturally curious and truly enjoy conducting and publishing their research, many "must" do so for job security. On the other hand, publishing your research as an undergraduate is not necessary for graduation or to meet class requirements, and there are few immediate rewards for the endeavor. Moreover, publishing your work is not an easy thing to do, and even the best scientists and most prolific researchers will acknowledge the difficulty and frustration inherent in the process. For example, you might start out with an interesting empirical question and find that it mutates into a monster that controls your life. You will put in more time, energy, and effort than could possibly be fairly compensated by course grades or independent study hours. You may miss countless social events and instead come to know librarians on a first-name basis. You will be subject to the whims of research participants and the even more capricious dictates of computer data analysis programs. Constant meetings with your advisor might leave you shaking your head and feeling as though you will never get things right. And then you might take that last step to send your work out to a journal, carefully following a multitude of (overly) picky style and format directions. And the worst is yet to come . . . you will receive the reviews of your work, and you will discover that a number of people have poked holes in your ideas, critiqued your writing, and generally found that your research is not as important as you thought. Your self-esteem will tumble, and you will wonder how these "experts" could be so ignorant of the clear points you were trying to make. After changes to your approach in your paper, rearrangement of thoughts and writing, further data analysis, more trips to the library, increased business for the postal service as you send and receive manuscripts and letters, and many, many months . . . your work just might be published.
Frankly, this does not sound like anyone's idea of fun. So why do it? Why take the extra step to get your research published?
Publishing your undergraduate research provides two types of rewards: The first reward is the acquisition and refinement of ...