6 Tips for Submitting

Thinking about submitting to the GWRJournal? Before you do, consider these six pointers from the editors for increasing the odds that your article will be accepted for publication.

Additional Links for Submitting to the Journal

1. Know Your Audience

The readership of the journal is writers and people who are interested in learning about and thinking about writing research. Although the journal is used by writing instructors and students at Illinois State University, articles should attempt to provide valuable content to any writers who are engaged in the activity of “learning how to learn about” genres. Keep this audience in mind as you prepare your article for submission, particularly if you were thinking of a different audience (such as your instructor for a class or only ENG 101 or ENG 145 students) when you originally wrote the article.

2. Use the Right Tone

Our journal takes an informal approach, which means that language and style that is overly formal or “academic” may be unappealing to our readers. This doesn’t mean you aren’t talking about rigorous, detailed research. It just means you’re doing so in a way that is more conversational, as if you are chatting with the reader as opposed to formally presenting on a topic.

3. Take Readers Along on the Ride

It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to present the information you learned from your research as if you are a “master” or an “expert” and as if your research occurred without a hitch. Although we certainly want to hear about what you learned from your research and about your successes as a writing researcher, no one “learns” a genre completely. We are all always learning—particularly given that the way we explore genres tends to be awfully complicated. It’s OK to—in fact, we encourage you to—dig into this messiness in your article. Let us know where you hit snags in your research and how you overcame (or even didn’t overcome) them. Acknowledge those parts of your project that need more exploration or that weren’t as clear-cut as you thought they would be. Doing so establishes your credibility as a true writing researcher and helps you avoid the trap of writing a “how-to write X genre” article, which we aren’t too keen on publishing.

4. Think Carefully About Purpose

Take a moment to write out, in a couple of concise sentences, what the main purpose of your article is. What do you want readers to learn? What is the key point (or are the key points) you want readers to remember about your article after they have read it? Once you’ve noted this, go through your article and consider whether the information you are presenting (and the way you are presenting it) helps you achieve these goals. Often writers seek to convey in their articles just how complex and messy writing research can be—that’s great! At the same time, there should still be a clear takeaway for readers after they finish your article. If you don’t know what that is, readers likely won’t be able to figure that out either. (And even if you know, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is clear to readers.)

However, if you find that the key point is to learn everything about genre X, you might need to re-examine that. What if your readers don’t care about that genre? If you just focus on learning everything about one subject, they can only apply that knowledge to that. What’s often more valuable is the process. If readers can take away more seeing how you approached your research because they can apply that to their own investigations.

5. Do Your Research (Even on the Journal Itself)

Whenever possible, we want to publish articles that make use of already published research about writing practices—in other words, look for what’s already been published (both in the GWRJournal and other scholarly sources) about your topic. But remember, too, that the types of research you do aren’t limited to reading scholarly sources. In fact, sticking with only scholarly sources can often work against the tone of the GWRJournal. Looking at primary sources of information (such as actual examples of the genres you are studying) is important. We also encourage you to consider how you can make your article more in-depth and rigorous by pushing your research further. Can you do interviews, surveys, or ethnographic observations? Can you gather data by tracking how often something occurs within a given genre? Remember, too, that it’s important to talk in your article about your research methods and the process you undertook in your study. In fact, in most cases, that should be a key component of what you’re writing about.

NOTE: Interviewees will need to sign our consent form before we can publish the article.

6. Engage with Key Terms

Often writers are talking about concepts that are key to the journal—such as genre and antecedent genre; cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) and its related terms (representation, distribution, production, etc.); activity system; uptake; transfer; trajectory; etc. Although you are not required to use all of these terms in your article, it is important to consider where you can more explicitly discuss key concepts like these that are relevant to the work you are doing as a writing researcher. To do this, you might need to undertake some studying of other published articles or books that talk about key terms and cite or quote them, where it makes sense, to help make your discussion of key terms more robust.

Want to learn more about getting published in the GWRJournal? Contact our editorial team at grassrootwriting@gmail.com today!