How To Write Your Dissertation and Journal Article At the Same Time

Which Comes First?

Your Dissertation or a Journal Article?

In my last year of graduate school I was struggling with the same thing as many other PhD students: I was eager to publish, but I wasn’t sure how publishing would fit into the “big picture” of getting a PhD and moving onto a new job.

Should I start working on my journal article while writing my Dissertation?

Or, should I write my Dissertation first?

In this article I will dispell the two common myths that paralyze PhD students when it comes to writing their journal articles. 

The questions that so many students struggle with:

When you are working on your Dissertation, should you start writing your journal article at the same time?

The answer is really that it depends.

Sean, a student of mine, was expected to have an article accepted in a journal before his committee allowed him to write up his Dissertation. While having a publication accepted in order to graduate was stressful, it also made it easier for him to write up his Dissertation.

Other students are just expected to have an article submitted to a journal before they are allowed to defend their Dissertations. There are also universities where there are no publication requirements in order for you be able to submit and defend your Dissertation.

If your university has publication requirements in order for them to approve your Dissertation, then you must abide them. While having these requirements puts pressure on you, not having these requirements is also stressful because it leaves the decision up to you: when should you start writing an article for publishing?

Does a Journal Article Improve Your Chances of Finding a Job?

Myth: I need to publish to get a job

The guidelines at some universities make the decision easy for you: if you’re required to have a publication in order to graduate, then,  you need to write your publication before writing you Dissertation.

But, what if you just really want to publish so you can improve your resume and CV? Wouldn’t a published journal article improve your career prospects?

In order to answer this question, we must consider whether you are looking for a job in industry or in academia.

In academia, “publish or perish” is the old adage. But, even in academia, one paper in a high caliber journal is more valuable than multiple articles in low quality journals.

I have met postdocs who got an offer for a tenure-track position at a prestigious university with a single publication.

While publishing is important for an academic career, the quality of your publication far outweighs the number of publications you have.

How much do companies care about your publication record?

In contrast to universities that receive grants based on proposals, companies make money by selling a product or service. In order for them to give you a job offer, you need to be able to demonstrate that your work will generate revenue for the company.

This is why publications are not essential to get a position in industry.

Your past publications give you credibility and authority, but they do not generate revenue for a company.

Companies value expertise and leadership skills, which will help you bring their products and services to the market.

Although this concept may sound foreign to those of us who have been bred to be academics – valuing ideas over generating money- it makes a lot of sense when you think about it from the perspective of the employers, who need to make payroll every month.


How Bad Is It to Start Writing a Journal Article When You Are Already Working?

Myth: It’s impossible to publish if you’re already working

As a graduate student, I thought it would be ideal to publish by the time I graduated. After all, who wants to write a publication when you have already started working?

It is  better to have a publication when you start working, but do not let the fear of “not having a publication” deter you from applying for a job. First of all, many industry jobs will accept you without a publication. Second, you can finish your publication while you are working.

It is true that writing a publication when you have “moved on” to a different university or job is challenging. With the demands of your new job and you personal life, it is challenging to find the time and focus to write a publication.

You need to create your own schedule that allows you to make some progress on your publication consistently (preferably every day while you are actively writing). 

In addition, you need to maintain contact with your supervisor and co-authors in order to get all the revisions and put the submission together for the journal.

Unfortunately, many papers do not get published because the first author (usually a student of postdoc) moved on before the paper was ready to be submitted for publication.

One of my students, Yvonne, started her postdoc after her paper for her PhD research was rejected from a journal. She needed a lot of tenacity to rewrite the paper and keep contact with her coauthors in order to resubmit the paper while she was working in another state.

You can write a paper when you have moved on to another job, but it does take focus, discipline and motivation to keep working until you are ready to submit to a journal. 


Whenever Possible, Prioritize Your Dissertation

But, what if you just want to wrap things up in terms of publishing before you start a job?

It’s important to make sure that your Dissertation gets done on time.

If you don’t have to publish by the time you graduate, prioritize your Dissertation. Here’s why:

  • You need to have a Dissertation in order to get your PhD
  • It takes much longer to get your publication accepted than your Dissertation

The reason a publication has to go through more rounds of revision than a Dissertation, is that it will be read by a wider audience.

Many Dissertations (most probably) are only for the eyes of the student and the committee. A publication, on the other hand, will be read by hundreds, maybe even thousands of people.

The reputation of your co-authors, and the journal, hinge on the quality of the paper. When a paper needs to be retracted, it damaged the reputation of the authors, as well as the publication.

To protect their reputations, journals have high standards for their articles, and they subject every submission to a rigorous peer-review process.  

A Dissertation still needs to undergo many rounds of revision. But, the difference is that the work is evaluated based on your research process during your PhD: what you have learned, and did you demonstrate that you can do independent research?

The journal, on the hand, focuses only on the results of your paper. What contribution are you making to your field of research? How likely are other authors to cite your paper?

As you can see, the criteria for your Dissertation and a journal article are quite different.  

This is why it is really important to mentally separate your Dissertation and the publication.

Unless your Dissertation is a collection of your publications, you need two different processes for writing, editing, and reviewing your Dissertation and publications.

Are you looking to get a paper published soon?

Click here to get on the waitlist for the Publish Your Research Program Opening Soon For Enrollment

The post How To Write Your Dissertation and Journal Article At the Same Time appeared first on Finish Your Thesis.

find the cost of your paper

Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

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The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.