You’ve done the hard work of completing a PhD program, and now you have a doctoral degree and a dissertation. What should you think about doing next? One smart move is to consider using your research for publication or presentation.
Dr. Dinah Manns, Core Faculty-Research Lead in Capella University’s Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, offers advice to new PhDs on seeking publication and presentation opportunities.
Q. Is it important to publish and/or present? Why?
A. Absolutely it’s important. You’re contributing to your field, and your research is becoming part of the body of knowledge in your area of expertise. When you publish or present, you become an advocate for your research and your field.
It also gives you credibility in the job market. The more work you put out, the more interest you’ll generate from other scholars and possibly funders. Presenting in particular gives you invaluable networking opportunities.
Q. What are some options for publication?
A. The traditional place is in scholarly journals. You might write a position paper explaining your research, or you might write a review of existing literature. Some journals take long, detailed pieces, while others might look for a micro article of 2-3 pages that’s essentially a short blurb about what you’re doing. You can also publish those types of micro articles on LinkedIn.
Many scholarly publications now have online versions as well. Conference publications, in print and online, are another avenue to pursue.
Q. What are the steps to getting published?
A. Find the right journal. Look at the journals on your dissertation reference list. There are many types, and they all have a different emphasis. Figure out what each journal is looking for—research is critical.
Once you’ve found the right journal for your writing, be sure to tailor your article to fit the journal’s niche. An important practical matter is making sure it’s formatted to their standards. It’s likely that if they accept it, they’ll ask you to revise it, so allow time for that. And be prepared to be flexible and work with the journal, as they may have a different focus than you do.
When you find journals you like, sign up for their newsletters and emails, because you will often find requests for proposals in those newsletters.
Q. What are some options for presentations?
A. Conferences are a primary source for speaking and presenting, whether it’s as a primary speaker or as part of a panel. There are also opportunities to speak to professional groups in a related field. For example, if your research is on homeless youth, you might look for opportunities to speak to city government or state advocacy groups that are interested in that topic.
Q. What are the steps to being selected to present at a conference or other group?
A. This is very similar to publication. You’ll need to do research to find the right fit. Generally speaking, there’s less availability for presenting, and you’ll have other factors to consider, such as your availability, the location, timing, and costs involved.
Conferences will usually have calls for proposals that specify what they’re looking for. Again, try to look at your research from different angles. For instance, maybe you studied health literacy. That can likely be presented at an education conference, even if you’re not specifically in education.
Q. What other advice do you have for seeking publication or presentation opportunities?
A. Consider starting small and working your way up. By that I mean look at smaller journals, regional journals, or regional conferences, or try to get a summary of your research in a conference bulletin, even if you’re not selected to speak. Don’t start with large international publications—it’s a tiered process.
Finally, just be persistent. Sometimes the feedback you get from a rejection can be invaluable. If you can, work with a mentor in your field. They probably have experience with the regional journals and conferences. They can advise you on how to break in and get known. In some cases, they may even be willing to co-author something with you, which could help open more doors. But no matter what, don’t give up.
Capella University offers PhD and professional doctorate degree programs ranging from business to education and health care to technology. Learn more about Capella’s online doctoral programs.