Writing and Publishing the Academic Article: Ten-Week Course
This course is an introduction to the complex world of academic publishing and is designed to give writers practical experience in getting their work published in academic journals. The course is organized around getting participants to the point where they have an article in an envelope addressed to an editor at a journal of their choice. Through lectures and small group interaction, students learn to set up a work schedule, limit research, analyze field conventions, clarify arguments, organize material, and revise drafts. Students also learn strategies for achieving success in the academic publication process, including identifying appropriate journals for submission, writing query letters, preparing appropriate submissions, and responding to revision directions. In the process, we have fun together, taking some of the terror out of the writing process and putting some of the pleasure back.

Week 1: Getting Started
Lecture: Designing a work plan; Writing an abstract
Exercises: Your writing schedule; Hammering out your topic

Week 2: Scholarly Argument
Assignment: Work plan and abstract due
Lecture: Getting beyond topics
Exercise: Clarifying your argument

Week 3: Journals
Assignment: Revised abstracts and work plan due; bring journals
Lecture: Identifying journals for submission
Exercise: Choosing a journal; Writing your query letter

Week 4: The Publication Process
Assignment: Journal list and query letter due
Lecture: From submission to publication
Exercise: Discussing journals identified for submission

Extra class at the library for individual consulting on suitable journals

Week 5: Peer Review
Assignment: First draft due, research and drafting stage completed
Lecture: Learning to edit
Exercises: Editing each other's papers

Week 6: Scholarly Structure
Assignment: Outline due
Lecture: Learning to organize ideas and research
Exercises: Outlining your structure

Week 7: Scholarly Revising: Part I
Assignment: Bring draft to work on in class
Lecture: Learning to delete, cut
Exercise: Redrafting sentences (eliminating redundancies)

Week 8: Scholarly Revising: Part II
Assignment: Bring draft to work on in class
Lecture: Learning to substitute, change
Exercise: Redrafting sentences (improving word choice)

Week 9: Preparing Papers for Submission
Assignment: Second draft due and SASE
Lecture: Mechanics of style, bibliography, permissions, etc.
Exercise: Review

Week 10: Individual meetings with instructor

Post-class Dinner
Assignment: Bring final draft, cover letter, and postage-paid envelope for mailing

This workshop is next available at UCLA in the summer of 2003 (late June through August). You can enroll if you are a UCLA doctoral student in the humanities or social sciences who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident by applying for and receiving the UCLA Summer Research Mentorship Program (deadline March 30). You can then take the class for free. This award is sponsored by the UCLA Graduate Division. To find out more information about applying, see UCLA Graduate Division Funding.
     I am not currently offering the course through UCLA Extension, although I have in the past offered it there during the winter quarter to anyone interested. To find out more about courses offered there, see
UCLA Extension.
     If you would like me to teach this course at your research institute or university, you may contact me.

Web Resources for the Course

Directory of all university and college faculty
Useful for finding the e-mail addresses of journal editors.

Directory of all academic journals
Useful for finding suitable journals for your article.

Commercial directory of on-line academic discussion groups
Useful for getting e-mail announcements of calls for papers.

Non-profit directory of humanities and social sciences electronic networks
Useful for getting e-mail announcements of calls for papers.

Calculating US postage for a large envelope
Useful for affixing postage before the dinner party.

UCLA e-mail reference librarian
Useful for UCLA student, staff, and faculty.

Recommended Texts for the Course
I recommend that you buy one of the following style manuals:
     For those in the social sciences:
American Psychological Association. 1994. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
     For those in the humanities:
Gibaldi, Joseph. 1995. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 4th ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America.
     University of Chicago Press. 1993. The Chicago Manual of Style. 14th ed. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

For suggestions on useful books about writing for publication and staying sane while doing so, click here.

© 2004. Wendy Belcher. All rights reserved.