Supporting Students as Scholars: Using the Library Context to Investigate How Graduate Students Learn About Publishing

Graduate students are increasingly encouraged to publish during their studies. But how do they learn this process? In this study, a team of librarians used focus groups to uncover the process for learning and teaching the “threshold concept” of academic publishing (Townsend et al, 2011). The focus groups, conducted with graduate students and faculty advisors, resulted in a rich qualitative dataset on the context of teaching and learning of academic publishing. Thematic analysis was used to identify key themes emerging from transcripts. Findings from this research indicate that students rely heavily on disciplinary mentors for knowledge and support, and appreciate experiential learning opportunities to scaffold their skills. Noted learning gaps included feeling ready and confident to embark on the publishing process, and realizing that mentors may not communicate tacit knowledge about publishing. Additionally, students emphasized the importance of integrating the mental health and wellness impacts of this topic into instruction. In response, the research team has developed an openly-licensed multimedia instructional guide that covers key topics of interest highlighted by both student and faculty participants. The guide responds to students’ expressed preference for information available to them at the point of need, and has been systematically evaluated by learners. The team will share how the guide is being used in collaborative teaching efforts at our institution. This study contributes new knowledge on how students learn, and faculty teach, skills relating to academic publishing. It also illuminates the unique teaching context of librarians, who typically have limited time to interact with graduate students in the classroom, and whose teaching must complement that of disciplinary faculty. Our collaborative approach to learning and teaching about this topic allows us to harness expertise from across our institution to support the learning needs of graduate students.
scholarship of teaching and learning, graduate students, academic publishing
Hurrell, C., Beatty, S., Lee, J., McClurg, C., Murphy, J. (2023, November 11). Supporting students as scholars: Using the library context to investigate how graduate students learn about publishing [Conference Presentation]. International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference 2023. Utrecht, Netherlands.