^ To Top
Research in Engineering Education

Tips for Publishing in Engineering Education

How to publish in Engineering Education

Please cite as follows: Chan, CKY (2015). "How to publish in Engineering Education", Engineering Education Enhancement and Research Asia (E3R Asia).

Before submitting a journal article...

For teachers who are new in the research area of engineering education, it is advisable that they first submit their publications to conference for presentation. Conference audiences can often provide some good feedback. (See list of conferences) You can then revise the conference submission as a journal submission.

Preparing manuscript for submission

General structure of a journal article
Section Components Purpose
Title page Title
  • Attract readers' attention
  • Useful Tips: Be specific, keep it informative & concise
  • Tell readers what has been done & what are the main findings
  • Used as an index for your manuscript
Main text Introduction
  • Provide a context to convince readers that you clearly know why your work is useful (What about literature reviews? Also separate paragraphs for methods etc)
  Literature Review
  • Report the results of previous research that has been carried out on your topic of interest
  • Provide sufficient detail about your study to enable readers to evaluate its appropriateness or replicate your study
  • Typically made up of 3 subsections: participants, materials/testing instruments, procedures
  • Present to readers what have you found
  • Figures and/or tables are used to present findings when appropriate
  • Summarize significant findings
  • Interpret your findings: Explain to readers what the results mean
  • Compare results to previous research
  • Discuss the implications of your study
  • Include a brief restatement of the different sub-sections in the main text
  • Conclude the overall discussion & implication
  • Highlight how your research contributes to the current knowledge in the field and recommend further research
  • Present the list of publications you cited in the main text
  • Attach any supporting materials (e.g. survey)

Selecting an appropriate journal

  • See List of Engineering Education Journals
  • Research your selected journal
    • Study the journal’s guidelines for authors.
    • Know and understand the journal’s criteria.
    • Ask yourself  “Are my objectives compatible with the journal’s aims and criteria?”. It is an encouraging sign if you notice that the journal of your choice have published similar articles on your topic previously.
    • Look at journal impact factors: This will give you an idea on the quality of the journal and how difficult it will be to get your paper accepted.

Tips on how to increase your chances of getting published

  1. Abstract should capture readers’ attention with clear description of what the paper is presenting and what are the outcomes.
  2. Valid assessment of results, demonstrating  what is being proposed does improve student learning (e.g. use of before & after test scores or control & experimental group for comparison).
  3. Methodology – ensure your methods are suitable for your research questions. Are my methods able to collect data and evidences to provide me the results I need?
  4. The paper should be readable:
    • Minimum spelling and grammar errors.
    • Follow a logical presentation format.
    • If your native language is not English, it is advisable for you to find a native speaker or someone who is good in English to proofread the initial draft of your paper.
    • Some journals have a word and page limit, ensure that you are within these limits.
    • Most journals prefer jargon free writing, thus, write as simple and to the point as possible.
  5. Demonstrate what is original and new about your research. Highlight the contribution of your work to the field.
  6. Peer review by your colleagues. Welcome advice from people around you with potential valuable input. No matter how competent you feel, having your work seen through a different lens may help to spot flaws that you have not been able to identify.
  7. Aim high, but not too high. Aiming for top journals with research findings that are not groundbreaking will lead to a lot of rejections and time wasting.
  8. Some journals may charge publication fee.
  9. If your paper is accepted, you will be required to sign a copyright form to transfer the copyright to the publisher.

Understanding the submission and review process (Froyd, 2009)

  • Submit manuscript.
  • Editor receives manuscript.
    • If appropriate, the editor will pass manuscript on for review.
    • If not appropriate, the editor will return the manuscript fairly quickly.
  • Manuscript is reviewed.
  • Author(s) receives decision along with comments from the review process.
  • Potential decisions:
    1. Accept with no or minor changes
      • What to do:
      • Make changes and submit.
    2. Accept if major revisions are successfully done
      • What to do:
      • Read reviewer comments carefully, agree with the reviewers, make suggested changes as appropriate, and resubmit.
      • When you send back your revised paper, it is advisable for you to include a detailed, point-by-point explanation of how you have addressed each of the reviewers’ and editor’s comments.
      • If you disagree with the reviewers, give reasons for why you disagree. Be clear, but not offensive.
    3. Reject
      • What to do:
      • Do not be discouraged.
      • Read reviewer comments carefully and decide how to restructure the manuscript.
      • Consider reformatting the paper for your second-choice journal.

The review process may take from anything between 2 days to 8 months, it really depends on the journal and the availability of the reviewers.

Web Reference and Resources