Writing journal articles from a doctoral dissertation – Raul Pacheco

As I often do, I blog about stuff that people ask me on Twitter. This is one of the most common questions I get: how do I write journal articles out of my doctoral dissertation?

@raulpacheco Any advice or resources on helping newly minted assistant professors on how to tackle getting multiple articles from their dissertation? This is a task thst is not often taught to recent grads. #Dissertation #Publishing #GradStudentAdvice

— Levon Esters (@Levon_Esters) September 15, 2018

I meant to ask you: have you written about converting a dissertation into journal articles? I looked but didn’t see anything, but maybe I missed something.

— dr. savasavasava (@savasavasava) September 5, 2018

My dissertation was a book-length manuscript, but my PhD adviser used the same thinking as many other researchers who supervise doctoral students: find three major contributions that your doctoral dissertation make, and then chunk your thesis into these as journal articles.

.@Greene_DM @bonstewart I wrote my dissertation as a book, but I distilled 3 original contributions from it, to be published as articles

— Dr Raul Pacheco-Vega (@raulpacheco) February 28, 2014

I work with my doctoral students from the assumption that there are at least 3 publishable articles that can be distilled from their dissertation. My current students are doing papers-based theses, but I also have mentored those who write entire books. The most important thing to keep in mind is what Dr. Pat Thomson indicates here: there are many, many ways in which you can slice your doctoral dissertation.

Here are a few resources I found on how to get articles out of the dissertation. But by and large, Pat’s blog post is the best and most thorough.

    I think the key question is – what are the three most important contributions that I can distil as DISTINCT units and that could be published independently without being in sequence or appear at the same time? Once you answer that question, you can start writing the journal article (with advice from Wendy Belcher or Barbara Kamler/Pat Thomson, of course).

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