Surge Ahead with the Student Research Journal (SRJ)

Surge Ahead with the Student Research Journal (SRJ)

By Amanda Heath


Information professionals engage in research.  We study information seeking behaviors so that we can better design information retrieval systems.  We study library user behaviors so that we can better design library programs.  We study student learning so that we can better teach information literacy skills.  In just about every area of the information industry primary and secondary research is being conducted to better understand the information landscape.

The community at SLIS is dedicated to furthering intellectual inquiry through the Center for Information Research and Innovation (CIRI) and as graduate students we are able to participate in the growth and development of the SLIS research community through SRJ the Student Research Journal.  SRJ, pronounced “surge,” is an open access nationally recognized student governed journal.  The journal publishes peer-reviewed original research, literature reviews, critical reviews and evidence summaries from the fields of library and information science, archives, and museum studies.

SRJ is a great venue for graduate students to submit manuscripts to be considered for publication, Students may submit research conducted through coursework or perhaps the thesis that was laboriously created for graduation.  SRJ also offers an excellent opportunity for those of us who wish to participate in the research and publication process by joining the editorial team consisting solely of students from the SLIS program at San Jose State University.

My Path to Content Editor for SRJ

For me the path to content editor for SRJ started with writing my resume.  I had gained a wealth of professional knowledge through SLIS coursework and I had practical experience in internships but what I was looking for was a resume differentiator.  I needed something that set me apart from my fellow SLISers out on the job hunt that spoke to my commitment to furthering my profession and my willingness to demonstrate, as one application called it, “interest in serving on campus-wide committees.”  The answer to that need was found in an email announcement advertising openings on the SRJ editorial team.

I had been somewhat apprehensive about applying because I had no official publishing experience although I had been writing website copy for my employer.  Nevertheless I emailed my resume to the Editor in Chief, was interviewed and happily accepted a position as content editor.  I have served in that capacity for going on my third semester.

My Role

As a content editor for SRJ, I read submitted manuscripts as part of a double blind-peer review process.  I read several manuscripts each semester and offer constructive criticism based upon a rubric.  My critique helps to determine whether an article will be accepted for publication and assists authors in preparing their work for publication.  I am often involved in taking a great student paper and elevating it to meet the requirements of professional publication.  My primary role is to look for cohesiveness in the content of a manuscript. For example I look for how the thesis or core research question is addressed and whether or not each section of the paper supports the thesis.   On average I spend about 4 hours reviewing a manuscript and writing feedback that is compiled by our Managing Editor and sent to the authors for review.  The SRJ team meets once a month online through Elluminate to discuss the production timeline of the upcoming issue and we receive training at least once a semester from our faculty advisor on the mechanics of writing a paper for publication.

I have also worked closely with our Managing Editor and Editor in Chief outside of the manuscript review to further the journal as there is a lot of work that goes into the managing of the journal.  One challenge is a revolving management and editorial team.  As students graduate from SLIS or finish their editorial terms new team members need to be found who can pick up where the previous team left off.

Pleasant Surprises

I have been pleasantly surprised at how working with SRJ has made a positive impact beyond the differentiator I was looking for on my resume.  To start with I thoroughly enjoy reading what other students are interested in and studying.  It expands my knowledge of our profession beyond coursework I have taken and it makes me feel part of a greater research community.  It is my favorite part of being an editor.

Secondly my own writing and research has greatly improved.  I now see gaps in my own work that would have previously gone unnoticed.  The training I have received through SRJ will be extremely valuable when I land the academic library position I have been working toward.

Thirdly, I am working on the ePortfolio this semester and SRJ is coming in handy for Competency L where I need to “demonstrate understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods and of the evaluation and synthesis of research literature”.

Lastly working with a team of students on an ongoing basis to produce the journal provides a connection to classmates that I felt was missing from my coursework.  There is a real feeling of team accomplishment and SRJ is something I am proud to be part of.

Please take a look at the SRJ website located at  to learn more about the journal and read the latest issue.




Amanda Heath is currently wrapping up her time at SLIS. She has an expected graduation date of May 2013.  Professional interests include reference services and information literacy instruction.


This Post Has One Comment

  1. anthony bernier

    Hi Amanda: Just a brief note thanking you for your Descriptor essay! I could just not be more pleased.

    It’s especially important, from my point of view, that you have experienced and appreciate not simply a way to differentiate your resume, as it were, by your SRJ work, but that you enhanced your skills and improved your writing as well. Speaking as the SRJ faculty adviser that’s huge!

    You hit all the right notes!
    And listen, you make sure you use me as a job reference… 🙂

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