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How many people have read your 10-page term paper? If you're like most students, the answer is probably somewhere around two: you and your professor. Exceptional work by undergraduate students, done for class or for independent research, often goes unnoticed, but in the professional academic world, research is not finished until its results are shared with others. With an increasing emphasis in universities on undergraduate research experiences, many journals offer undergraduate students the chance to complete the scientific process, including writing up the finished research, having it peer reviewed, and ultimately having it published in the scientific literature.
There are several reasons that undergraduate students should consider submitting their work to an Undergraduate Research Journal:
1. It illustrates the high quality of undergraduates' scholarly work, whether it is traditional data-based activity, literature reviews, or historical research. Because modeling can facilitate learning, showing students what their peers have accomplished should help to encourage ever widening circles of students to become engaged in and excited about research.
2. Transmitting the results of one's scholarship through a printed medium requires development of formal written communication skills. According to employers and professional and graduate school faculty, increasing undergraduates' written communication skills would make those students more attractive for employment and for admission to post graduate training or education. Journals provide an excellent opportunity for students to list a professional publication on their resume.
3. It increases students' success in life following graduation. The amount of time and focus required to prepare a research paper for publication prepares students for other difficult, yet rewarding tasks they will face throughout their lives.
4. Undergraduate research is a vital component in education. The literature suggests that students take projects more seriously and learn more when the project is directed towards an external rather than an internal audience such as a class assignment.
5. Undergraduate research journals provide an incentive for students to write papers. Writing papers empowers students to share their knowledge with others and promotes discussion in the undergraduate community to which they belong.
The journals listed in this guide all accept submissions from undergraduate students throughout the U.S. Some are published only online, while others produce a print edition. Although mostly geared toward scholarly works, many of these journals also encourage creative submissions such as fiction and art. A few of these journals (Plains Song Review, RURALS, and Nebraska Anthropologist) are published here at University of Nebraska-Lincoln! If you are aware of journals that should be added to the list, or if you have questions about a specific journal, please contact the owner of this guide.
"Undergraduate research not only bridges the gap between knowledge and experience but has the benefit of laying the groundwork for career exploration and development. The opportunity for undergraduates to publish in a national journal is an added value to the overall education experience and to the process of self-discovery." -- Kappa Omicron Nu Human Science Honor Society