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IU Journal of Undergraduate Research publishes second issue

June 8, 2016

It has been a year since the first issue of the IU Journal of Undergraduate Research was published, and now students have rolled out Volume 2, which features 10 articles from three IU campuses.

taylor ballinger

Taylor Ballinger, co-editor-in-chief of the IU Journal of Undergraduate Research. | PHOTO COURTESY OF TAYLOR BALLINGER

“We had a great pool of submissions to choose from this year,” said Taylor Ballinger, the journal’s co-editor-in-chief, alongside Song Kim. “The submission pool was at a higher quality this year, and we were able to feature some of the wonderful work going on at IU Bloomington and our neighboring campuses.”

Supported by the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, the IU Journal of Undergraduate Research is a student-run, faculty-mentored publication that features undergraduate research articles from all academic disciplines at any IU campus. Submissions are evaluated by undergraduate researchers and faculty members using a double-blind, peer review process.

This year’s journal features nine full-length articles and one abstract from IU Bloomington, IUPUI and IU Northwest.

The articles address a variety of research questions under four disciplines: humanities, natural sciences, professional schools and social sciences. Research topics include how Indiana newspapers published propaganda to motivate involvement in the Spanish-American War, how handwriting practice facilitates child development and language learning, and how production of commercial goods may remedy deforestation in the Amazonian rainforest.

Catherine Xu, a sophomore studying cognitive science in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences, is one of the students whose research is featured. Xu analyzed how the content and presentation of images by environmentalist photographer Subhankar Banerjee challenge the classic American conservationist view of the wilderness as pristine and removed from civilization.

The Wells Scholar has worked in two labs during her time at IU and was encouraged by professor Christoph Irmscher to submit her work for his Environmental Ethics seminar to the journal.

“I was honestly quite surprised,” Xu said of the idea. “As a natural- and social-science-oriented person, I found the process of writing this paper significantly different from what I’d usually thought of as research, and I never expected my love for art to translate into publishable material.”

But the experience of submitting work to the journal turned into one of the “most empowering experiences” of Xu’s academic career. She said she is thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it.

“IUJUR plays a really important role on campus,” she said. “It not only gives student researchers an outlet for their work, but it also serves as a celebration of student research in all its forms. It says all your work in genetics or sociology or literature is meaningful, and it deserves to be shared.”

It is that type of experience that Ballinger, who graduated from IU Bloomington in May with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, said he hopes the journal will continue to highlight. Part of the journal’s goal is not only to highlight undergraduate research, he said, but to break down the stereotype that research is limited to hard science.

“It’s important for undergraduate researchers to have a forum to showcase their work,” Ballinger said. “Not only does it unite students who are interested in it, but it gives them practice in the peer review process and a way to share their work with their faculty and peers.”

The IU Journal of Undergraduate Research is hosted online by the IU Libraries as part of its open access journal publishing program, IUScholarWorks Journals.

The journal accepts submissions of full-length articles, literature reviews, and research snapshots from undergraduates at any IU campus who have conducted research or creative activity under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Submissions are being accepted for Volume 3, which will be published in June 2017. 

Students' work on the IU Journal of Undergraduate Research aligns with priorities outlined in the university’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, including a commitment to student success and catalyzing research.

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