Thesis Publishing with MES Alumna, Claudia Muzychko

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March 15, 2021
Image
Figure illustrating Claudia Muzychko's MES Thesis data

This Winter, MES Alumna, Claudia, completed the publication process for her thesis research project! She has provided a wonderful blog with advice for current and prospective students interested in publishing their own thesis projects, please keep reading to learn more from Claudia's experiences!

What’s behind my thesis and recent publication?

Link to my thesis here https://archives.evergreen.edu/masterstheses/Accession86-10MES/Thesis_M… my thesis is the base preliminary study of my main research subject area: desertification. The culmination of which was (a lot of prior interdisciplinary education involving extensive field work) and developing multiple ideas that formulate into the articulation of drought, namely what I defined as ecological drought in my base thesis research. On one side of the spectrum my research is about climate change and on the other biodiversity. In my published paper (link here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S266597272030074X) I showed a version (there are many) of indicator analysis that is applicable to in–field land management. Essentially managers will want to include drought prevention and native species in their future planning to increase ecological resilience to climate change, thus supporting a sustainability directive.

Table. Correlation for endemic plant species

Endemic plants

2005

2018

Variables

Endemic plants

Endemic plants

Precipitation (mm)

0.211

-0.253

fAPAR

0.221

-0.052

Soil anomaly

-0.400Ÿ

-0.326

January Annual Average Temp

0.349Ÿ

0.431ŸŸ

July Annual Average Temp

0.016

0.258

Urban

-0.242

-0.168

Agricultural

-0.052

0.031

Forests/semi-natural/wildlands

-0.094

-0.073

Wetlands

-0.185

-0.237

Water bodies

-0.273

-0.273

Human Population

-0.126Ÿ

-0.147ŸŸ

n = 20, ŸProb > |τ| < .05, ŸŸProb > |τ| < .01

 

Sustainability indicators are beginning to count ecology as a category although the measure and application of indicators remains messy due to the relative abundance of the indicators themselves! Indicators remain a limited factor, for example in Life Cycle Assessment, as LCA omits a direct relationship between humans and endemism, that is, native species. In this frequency when we focus on the human world we leave out what is non-human, such as native plant species. Why use native plant species as ecological drought indicators? First, existing native species are local and can be really good indicators of environmental change. Especially in land development it is important for managers to become aware how land use behavior is affecting biodiversity and drought, both important to society. In my study precipitation, which is the most relied on indicator as a determinant of wet or dry conditions to come, lacks significance, questioning our position as humans and what that position has on climate and how it may reveal in other species survival. In the field on various sites faster drying and co–occurring observations reveal how our world is changing in front of us through species decline, change, and replacement as striking over short time periods. Thus I analyzed how these changes we may observe as insignificant are in fact rather important under climate and biodiversity change.

What if you are undertaking a study in hopes of future publication?

Keep working on it! Understand your thesis may only be preliminary findings. It is important to keep in mind that organization is key and that there can be many layers of organization over time while you develop your research.

Journal publishing is itself an additional journey, it is another step that may follow your thesis research with a life all its own. You may have done a substantial amount of tiring, anxiety ridden, and stressful organization to find that you had to change your thesis, reformat your point, throw out evidence, find new sources, and remedy conflicts in the literature that confound your point, or completely change the work you started for a new direction. If you accomplished a decent thesis despite trials and have ideas you hoped to continue working on or made discoveries along the way, one of those paths may be a possible publication paper. Maybe one of your sources has issues within the work that hasn’t been furthered for one reason or another. Remember, as a researcher it is your job to further the field or discipline with your contribution. Research is not a contest but should be a benefit to society with researchers working to solve issues, progress future work, and propose informed solutions to problems whether collaboratively or independently. Hopefully you have learned the base steps in preparing for publication in your graduate courses, if you missed something here are some tips for preparing to publish in a journal:

  • Look for a journal that matches your paper theme
  • Read up on papers from the journal you are selecting to learn more about the audience, topics, trends, and current arguments in the particular field of study
  • Pay attention to the format, scope and mission of the journal, accepted article types, and author guidelines then adapt your paper accordingly
  • Be sure you have correctly cited and given credit to the evidence, ideas, and concepts of previous authors’ works you are referencing and include correct citation formatting in your text and bibliography

Most importantly, be thorough and enjoy your research because it is for your personal development too!