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Issues In Educational Research, Vol 15, 2005
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Editorial

Clare McBeath


As Issues in Educational Research has matured and our editorial policy has developed and firmed, it would seem to be an appropriate time to state it more fully and clearly in writing. The number of submissions has increased significantly during the last couple of years, with an increasing number from overseas. We find we are rejecting a higher proportion than we did in the past. This year alone we have already rejected ten articles, while there are six in the pipeline and six are published here. A clear public statement of our editorial policy would be a help to potential contributors, and assist them in focusing their articles more appropriately for this journal.

First and foremost this is a journal dedicated to educational research. In an earlier editorial (12(1), 2002) I attempted to set out some ideas about the meaning of research and at that stage I sought to define research in education fairly broadly. However, the current Department of Education Science and Technology definition (DEST, 2005) requires creativity and originality and that the research increase humanity's stock of knowledge. Academics have laboured over this definition for a number of years, but an understanding appears to be emerging in some quarters that professional practice and development activities will not generally qualify for recognition as research by DEST. For this reason we do not publish literature reviews which do not present new knowledge. Nor do we publish manifestos or papers produced from lecture notes, even though the ideas may be well informed and insightful.

Nevertheless, the reality of how and why papers are selected is more complex than this. The paper written by Leng Hui in this issue, examining the cultural implications of communications between Chinese students and their Australian lecturers, is taken from her current PhD research. It is not presented as research under the traditional headings, but deals with new knowledge in the sense of new insights which have come out of her reading and research in the area of study. Similarly, Carole Steketee's paper does not describe her research in the traditional manner, but uses her research to present the literature in a new way which has in turn influenced her professional approach and practices in her university.

Secondly the journal deals with issues which are relevant, current and timely to the readership. It is the print readership who pays for the production of Issues in Educational Research, through their membership of one of the state Institutes of Educational Research, or through subscription. It is essentially an Australian journal and the issues which are of current interest in Australia will always have precedent over others. However Australia has a place in close proximity to Oceania and South East Asia, and many students from these areas enrol in Australian universities. Thus the issues of these regions are also relevant.

The paper by Deepa Marat in this issue about mathematics self-efficacy of students from secondary schools in Auckland deals with an issue of interest in Australia and in the region. This paper also is based on her PhD research.

The paper on plagiarism by Lauren Breen and Margaret Maassen is also very topical, as most Australian universities are working to come to grips with this problem. Simultaneously their research also informs professional practice within their university.

Relevance and currency however is not confined to research done in or for Australasia. There are two papers from the USA in this issue, the papers by Cathleen March and Orlando Olivares, and what makes them suitable for publication in Issues in Educational Research is that they deal with global concerns. The issue of school entry age, dealt with in the March paper, is very topical at present as our Federal Education Minister is looking to bring all the states in line with the same entry age regardless of readiness. The issues of collaborative and cooperative learning and critical thinking discussed by Orlando Olivares has application for a number of current teaching and learning strategies in both school and higher education.

A significant number of overseas papers are rejected, often at screen reading stage, because the research reported has no relevance whatsoever outside the country, or sometimes outside the institution, in which it was conducted.

Issues in Educational Research offers opportunity and encouragement to new researchers to write and publish alongside experienced writers. We believe that research is an instrument serving the professional development of academics and teachers as well as being a way of developing new knowledge. One of the functions of this journal is to make a contribution to career development, with particular reference to beginning researchers. Reviewers are requested to bear in mind that the contributors may be inexperienced writers and that they should be constructive and supportive in their comments. Probably half of our published contributors are postgraduate students or new graduates. Indeed occasionally one of our reviewers also is a new graduate.

Articles are sometimes rejected because the research is out of date. Educational research issues tend to move fairly quickly, and things that were important and relevant five years ago, often have little to say to us today. It is one of the challenges of academic practice to keep up with research and publication, and in the case of postgraduate students, they also need to learn to publish their findings as soon as possible.

A further requirement for publication is that the submission is not under consideration by any other journal nor, in most cases, has been published elsewhere. It is possible that a conference paper published as part of the Proceedings may be republished if the readership is substantially different, but reference to the original publication needs to be declared. It is expected that all parts of the article are free from copyright restrictions.

There are a number of technical requirements for publication as well, although the final editorial screen read tends to pick these things up. We ask authors to use the APA system of referencing. Spelling is expected to be according to the Macquarie Dictionary and our preferred punctuation and expression is as simple as possible.

Clare McBeath
Editor
April 2005

Reference

DEST (Department of Education Science and Technology) (2005). Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) Specifications. http://www.dest.gov.au/highered/research/documents/specs2005.pdf

Please cite as: McBeath, C. (2005). Editorial 15(1). Issues In Educational Research, 15(1), v-vii. http://www.iier.org.au/iier15/editorial1.html


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