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As a fourth year doctoral candidate, in addition to having completed comprehensive examinations and prospectus and working on the dissertation, my thoughts are also turning towards the job market and securing that first academic position. This purpose of this blog is to chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

From Manuscript to Reviews to Publication

So I am working on this manuscript today that I submitted some time ago and got the reviews back from recently. I find this interesting, and while I have been told that this is common, it still makes me curious everytime I go through this process.

What perplexes me so much is how three people can read the same manuscript and come up with three totally different reviews. For example, one of the ones that I had published in the past two years had an accept without revision, an accept with revisions, and a reject (without invitation to re-submit). The editor decided to give me a month to see if I could address any of the issues that the second and third reviewers had raised, and at the end of the month when they had to send things to the printers I sent the manuscript back into with some changes that I was able to work into the draft and they published it as I sent it.

This one that I am working on now, I got an editor's compilation of the reviewer's comments broken down by each section of my manuscript, with an invitation to re-submit. This was a great way to present the suggestions to me, as I could go through section by section and try and address what I could based upon the limitations of my own study. However, once again I find it interesting that even in the examples of the reviewer's actual comments that the editor decided to include, there are contradictions. The other thing that puzzles me is that I get reviewer's comments that do not jive with the actual manuscript. For example, I got one comment where the reviewer said that my data was weak and cited an example of where I used one quote in my data to support a particular theme that he felt did not fit. There was probably a good reason why he felt it didn't fit, the quote that he referenced was used to support a theme that was discussed three later than the once that he had cited (e.g., the theme he cited was discussed, then I discussed two more themes, then while discussing a fourth theme I used the quote to support this fourth theme - keep in mind he claimed that the quote was used to support the first theme in this sequence). To make matters worse, each theme was sub-sectioned off within the manuscript. Makes you wonder if this reviewer even read the manuscript of just kind of skimmed it the day that his review was due.

Oh well, I should have these requested revisions completed within the next five to six days - I just need to print it out again to check for flow and then re-work the discussion section based upon the expanded literature review (yes, I still do my major editing with a hard copy instead of on the screen - a sign of a digital immigrant). In the end, it will be a much better paper, and hopefully something that the editor and reviewers will find more appealing.

Tags: graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

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