Monday, April 28, 2014

The Path to Publication

Over the years, I have learned that it takes a lot to get your research published. Not only does it take guidance, rigor, and insight on the front end to conduct the study, but it also takes strength, dedication, and persistence to get the research published. Almost 18 months ago, the SC Campaign conducted focus groups with parents of South Carolina middle school students to examine their perception of school-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. While data collection only took a few months, data analysis, interpretation, and manuscript development took a little bit more time. The research team and I worked tirelessly on drafting a quality manuscript which we submitted to the Journal of Sex Education: Sexuality, Society, and Learning special issue dedicated to the work of Dr. Douglas Kirby.

Dr. Douglas Kirby
Now, some of you may know about Dr. Kirby, but for those who don’t I want to share just how much of a pioneer he is to the field of adolescent sexual health. As a graduate student at the University of South Carolina, I cited Dr. Kirby’s work in so many of my research papers focused on parent-child communication, HIV prevention, and adolescents’ engagement in risky behaviors. In my dissertation research, I cited Dr. Kirby’s work more than 15 times, more so than any other researcher in the field. He is a true pioneer in reducing adolescent sexual risk. Dr. Kirby authored more than 150 articles, chapters, and monographs. He also authored “Emerging Answers” and SC Campaign staff served as co-authors in one of Dr. Kirby’s final publications, “Reducing Adolescent Sexual Risk: A Theoretical Guide for Developing and Adapting Curriculum-Based Programs.” Dr. Kirby is one of the SC Campaign’s honorees (being honored posthumously) for this year’s 20th Anniversary Celebration for his work in teen pregnancy prevention and his contributions to the SC Campaign.

Now that you know a little bit more about Dr. Kirby, you can see why publishing in this special issue was so important to me. I submitted an abstract to the journal and was invited to submit a full manuscript, which the co-authors and I had already prepared. We submitted the manuscript and weeks later, received the editor’s decision and feedback from the manuscript reviewers, and accepted pending major revisions. Overall, their feedback was positive, but they provided us with more than five pages of feedback. At first glance, this overwhelmed me and seemed like an impossible task to complete, but overtime the research team was able to address every comment. As with each manuscript that I have written (and published), this experience taught me to be persistent and to stay the course. Now after nine months of writing and revising, our manuscript, "Parental Support for Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Programs in South Carolina Public Middle Schools," has officially been accepted for publication in the Journal of Sex Education’s special issue dedicated to Dr. Kirby. This is a huge accomplishment for the SC Campaign, who worked with Dr. Kirby for 20 years, and this publication has become the highlight of my post-doctoral fellowship here at the SC Campaign.

by India Rose, Post Doctoral Fellow, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

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