One of the more time-consuming aspects of writing a manuscript is the visuals. Interaction plots for example are often included for most studies that include interaction/moderation effects. SPSS has a nice Graph Builder tool that facilitates the drawing of plots and provides a degree of customisation, but sometimes it is necessary to dig into SPSS code. One example is a study of mine on spiral of silence which looks at variables that lead to less expression. But because I wanted to emphasise the idea of greater inhibition I wanted the y axis of the chart to start with positive values leading to negative values. Not so simple with the mouse-click SPSS! Thanks to Google however (search term “spss graph reverse axis”) the solution was quick to find – just a minor modification of the SPSS script with the SCALE command. Just one of the many on the fly things that a researcher has to go through when writing a paper — and its good to learn something new in the process!
My first book chapter titled Exploring the Potential for Mobile Communications to Engender an Engaged Citizenry: A Comparative Study of University Students in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (co-authored with my colleagues Francis Lee and Hsuan-ting Chen) has been published in Ran Wei’s edited volume Mobile Media, Political Participation, and Civic Activism in Asia: Private Chat to Public Communication. One thing about publishing in journals nowadays is that authors (at least in my case) do not get the hard copies anymore – just a finalized pdf file. So its an extra nice feeling to actually get a physical copy of something I wrote.
Very pleased that three of my works based on my first GRF grant “The use of social media for political and civic engagement: A study of Hong Kong citizens ” are currently in press:
Psychological antecedents and motivational models of collective action. Examining the role of perceived effectiveness in political protest participation. Social Movement Studies.
Media use and the Social Identity Model of Collective Action: Examining the roles of online alternative news and social media news. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.
Social network sites and political engagement: Exploring the impact of Facebook connections and uses on political protest and participation. Mass Communication & Society.
Links to articles are in the “Research” section. Actually, it is only when I entered the articles into this site that I realized that many of my paper titles follow the same style — which is basically “Cause + Effect: Examining/Exploring the role/impact of IV on DV”! Maybe I have to be more imaginative with my future titles?
After three long years one of my early papers Social identity gratifications of social network sites and impact on collective action participation has been accepted by a journal (Asian Journal of Social Psychology). It was one of the first term papers I did in the first year first semester of my PhD studies and I always thought that it was a ‘good’ paper in the sense that it made some important theoretical contributions and addressed an important topic on social change. Here are some notable experiences in getting this article to publication:
It had been rejected by five journals previously: Journal of Computer-mediated Communication, Mass Communication & Society, Asian Journal of Communication, and Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking.
There are multiple versions of the paper due to the need to meet the journal requirements: a 3,000 word version, a 6,000 word version, 8,000 version, and the current accepted 4,000 word version. In fact, the current version looks almost nothing like the very first version!
In total 12 reviewers looked at my manuscript during its journey. This was one of the most illuminating parts as it really gave a broad overview and insights of the review process. Some reviewer’s comments were critical but helpful, providing theoretical guidance and citations that really pushed the paper in the right direction. Overall, I would honestly say that around 70% of what the reviewers said were constructive. Some reviews gave me the impression that the reviewers did not read the paper! (e.g. the paper had no theory). There were also instances where I really did not understand reviewer’s comments and what they wanted me to do.
Overall, I have lost count the number of hours I have spent on this paper and each successive rejection made it harder to motivate myself to push it towards publication, especially because the quality of some of the reviews were far from desirable. However, I really believed that the manuscript had something important to say. So it is great that my perseverance eventually paid off. So, while the journal review process is not by any means perfect, the current improved manuscript would not have been possible without it.
Nice to meet up again with my co-author Jing Guo after three years. When we first met at the AEJMC 2010 conference we were still somewhat fresh PhD students! Jing has since graduated from the University Of Maryland.