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Objective: The purpose of this assignment is for you to become familiar with the standard features of an academic journal that pertains to your research interests. Graduate students should feel comfortable with the scholarly journals in their chosen field. By having familiarity with journals, you should be able to locate specific articles or browse journals with ease.

Directions: Select a journal from a discipline that pertains to your specific research interests. Spend time in the library (or online) visiting the journal, reviewing it since its inception. Consider the history, development, major players, subscription rates, publication information, acceptance/publication rates, style manual, editorial board, schools of contributors, kind of work contributed, what gets published, forums/ book reviews. Explore the current trends in topics. Who is the current editor, what is their term, their philosophy. Where is it being edited? Are there editorial prefaces? What do they say?

Write a report that contains the following information. Note, most of this information could be obtained from the most recent issues.

Part I:

Journal name

Call number

Years of publication and volume numbers (note title changes, if any)

Issues (quarterly? semi-annually?)

Years available in our library (specify if on line volumes are available and where)

Facts of publication (who owns/sponsors the journal, where is it published, cost of subscription)

Current editor

Current style manual

Specifications for submissions (page limit, format (manuscript or electronic, etc.)

Anything else you think is relevant or interesting.

Part II. Analysis

Spend some time running through or skimming the volumes of the journal. (Note: Set a time limit on browsing and reading and then manage your time. It is easy to be diverted from this task by reading articles of interest instead of browsing the entire journal.) Keep notes on significant changes you see over the years of the journal’s existence. Watch for changes in editorial boards, schools that the contributors or editors come from, topic changes, name changes of the journal itself, etc. Note specifically if a journal has a change in format such as adding a book review section, a forum section, or editor’s introductory remarks. Pay attention to long-term trends.

After completing your journal review, write a 2-3 page report that synthesizes and analyzes what you discovered. Your report should synthesize the content and content changes of the journal and identify the major trends that you discovered.

Essay Grading Rubric

Criteria Exemplary

20 points Satisfactory

17 points Needs more work

14 points

Coverage of Subject

Be sure that your essay directly addresses the questions. Fully answer the questions without side issues or repetition. Make a significant effort to fully cover and reiterate the questions or topic of the essay in the conclusion.



The focus on the questions should be maintained throughout the essay. Points and/or subtopics should be clearly conceived, presented and discussed. Be sure to present your own view as well as the view of the sources.



The information you present to substantiate points and topics ought to be accurate and clearly presented. The facts and the interpretation of those facts that you offer in the essay should contribute evidence to the general arguments you present.


Organization and Form

Your essay should be composed in a clear and logical manner. Your points should be presented in a logical sequence which enhances your general argument. Make certain that your essay has an introductory statement, a body of evidence, and a conclusion.


Writing & Mechanics

The writing style of your essay should be clear and concise. Your essay should be written in proper English and addressed the prospective audience of educated lay people. Be sure that each paragraph leads logically into the other and that all terms, events, people and other items are adequately defined. Be certain that all information is properly documented. Make sure that you follow the fundamentals of paragraphing, sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Read your essay carefully to proofread for mechanics, organization, continuity, and transition.

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