Professor Contributions: Conference Papers to Publications

The editresses asked our Sociology professors the following:  Do any of you have any small bites of wisdom on how to do transition conference papers to publications?  Drs. Patricia Hill Collins, Bill Falk, Rashawn Ray, and David Segal replied to our request.  Check out their advice:

Dr. Patricia Hill Collins:

** Select two possible journal outlets for your conference paper, a first and second choice, that you think are a good match for the content of your paper.

** Read/skim a selective sampling of RECENT articles in the journal(s) you selected to get a sense of what they publish and the formats most used by people who have successfully published there.

** Imagine how your work might fit into that journal, what issues it might speak to that are not adequately covered.

** If possible, locate a benchmark article in that journal that uses a format that might work for you (content need not be similar, in fact, if it is too similar, you might get rejected on those grounds).

** Revise your article, using this research on your journal(s) re: content and format as guides.

** Submit and move on. Repeat for your next conference paper.

Dr. Bill Falk:

My 2 cents worth:  Find a published paper on a topic akin to yours or one using the same methodology.  Study hard its structure — how it’s organized, how much space is given to statement of the problem, discussion of methods, analysis/results and discussion.  Then work hard to make your paper look as much like a published one as you can.

Dr. Rashawn Ray:

Use conferences as a deadline to have a completed draft. The ASA schedule is great for this. Prepare a paper in the fall to submit to ASA, SSSP, or ABS in January. Then work on the
paper during the spring and summer to present in August at the national meetings. Unfortunately, you may not get great feedback during the small window you have to present at conferences so plan to have in-depth conversations with people about your paper and even bring copies for others to read and provide comments on later.

Dr. David Segal:

1.  When you first write a paper, do so with a view to where you would ultimately like it published, and cite appropriate papers that have appeared in that journal. Journal editors
like to be able to show that their journal occupies a niche in which knowledge is being cumulated.

2.  Attend to comments made on your paper at conferences at which it is presented. The person making the comment may turn out to be a reviewer down the road, and will not want to be disregarded.

3.  Anticipate that the people you cite in your paper may well be asked to review it (how else do you think editors select reviewers?).

Thank you for your advice, Drs. Collins, Falk, Ray, and Segal!


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